Friday, March 23, 2012

Top 10 Websites that Changed Everyday Life

The quote truly says it all. When it comes to the Internet, there is nothing that you can’t do. In today’s world, we are run by technology and the flow of updates to already existing technology seems to be never-ending. With that said, it is really no surprise that the Internet has definitely become a true part of everyday life. In the U.S. alone there are 266,224,500 Internet users; in Asia there are 825,094,396. Throughout the entire world there is said to be 1,966,514,816 people who use the Internet and the number continues to grow each day. Along with the Internet came the millions of websites that we all use. While some don’t become as popular as others, many have become so common that they seem like an everyday must have.

Below are 10 websites that have clearly changed how we function both online as well as offline. Even though the Internet has been available for public use since 1992, it’s only been in the last few years that some websites really became giants. The websites below can easily be called a part of everyday life for many.

10. Craigslist– Changed classified ads


Before the Internet if you ever had interest in a classified ad, you’d probably go straight to the local newspaper and see what you can find. Of course then the Internet came along and while you could find classified ads online, most of the websites were filled with spam posts or people looking to set you up while others were just unorganized and most of the time classified ads for smaller locations were nonexistent. However, today, if you’re ever looking for anything, and I mean anything, all you need to do is go to Craigslist.

You can find plenty of things on the classified ads website; from cars, to pets, to jobs, homes, and even a place to discuss anything you have on your mind. Despite recently coming under fire for its “personals” section of the website, Craigslist continues to be extremely popular among people all around the world. You can find ads in your state and then narrow down to a city which makes finding what you need much easier.

But, just like older classified ads websites, you will find spam ads and you will run into ads that are created by people looking to get your money and run. The website offers a service to report spammers and often shows a warning page explaining how many scammers work and what to look out for when using the site.

9. Geocities – Changed internet accessibility


Even though nowadays anyone and everyone can access the Internet, from your 3rd cousin to your great-grandmother, when the Internet was first created, those who used it were mainly those involved in the technology or scientific fields and many times these people were looking for bugs, fixes, and ways to improve the technology that existed. As crazy as it seems, at one point in time, the Internet was pretty boring and bare. However, as websites began to pop up, more and more everyday people started to use the Internet. To continue this growth, websites such as GeoCities were created, which opened a whole new world to those people who weren’t the most tech-savvy as others. GeoCities allowed people to easily create their own website.

The website was started in 1994 and was first known as BHI (Beverly Hills Internet), which at the time was a small web-hosting company based out of Southern California. The company offered free service to people within various locations in California and years later became a country-wide service and then world-wide.


8. Blogger– Changed the blogging scene
 


Blogging is the way of the world now. Who needs to scribble in a personal diary or to write random things on ripped pieces of notebook paper when you can hop on your computer, log in, and type all of your thoughts onto your computer screen, press upload, and have the opportunity to have the entire world read what you’ve got to say. Blogger was launched in 1999 and since then has allowed the blogging world to flourish.

While many want to credit LiveJournal or some other blogging site with raising the bar in the blogging world, Blogger most definitely came first and is often credited for setting the stage for the format of a common blog. The website has been designed and redesigned and most recently has begun to work closely with Google to include some of their most popular features.

The website on the Alexa scale is ranked #8 and each day over 388 million words are published on the website. Even though competitor websites such as WordPress, LiveJournal, and TypePad have come about, Blogger is easily credited with starting the blogging revolution.


7. Pandora – Changed how we listen to music
 


The way we listen to music has drastically changed over time. Today MP3s and MP4s are the way of the world, but let’s not forget records, music cassettes, and of course, the radio. However, even though MP3s and digital music seem to be the latest fad, Pandora has stepped up and offered a way to listen to music online while you surf.

Pandora is an online radio station that basically lets you create your own station based on the music like you like to listen to. Of course, listening to music on the Internet isn’t something new, but being able to create your own music station is. Anyone can tune into music that is played on Yahoo or listen to your favorite radio station online, but the fact is that most of those songs are played every hour (or so it seems) and sometimes the song playing isn’t one that you particularly care for.

But, when it comes to Pandora, website will play a song and based on whether you like the band or not, the website will play similar music. The great thing is that Pandora often throws in new bands that are on the rise. You can easily type in a band on the website, listen to a song, and then have the chance to listen to a new band that is similar to your tastes.


6. Facebook – Changed how we interact
 


First there was the telephone, then pagers, then cell phones, then along came the internet with instant messaging services and chatrooms, and before all of this when people wanted to communicate, there was conversational speaking and letters. Today, we have Facebook, and this one social networking site has seriously taken the world by storm. Though technically not the first social networking site created, many will argue that it is the most useful and is the one that has made the largest impact on our society.

It seems like everything we do is based on Facebook these days. Pictures, friends, relationships, gossip; it all ties into Facebook in some way of another, and wherever you go, you’ll usually find something Facebook-esque. Musicians are asking fans to add them on Facebook as are authors, political candidates, businesses, and anything and everything between.

The website was launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg six years later the website has exploded, attracting more than 500 million users, ranging from your average Joe, to celebrities, and even political world leaders.

5. Wikipedia – Changed how we research/learn




Before Wikipedia came along, high school and college students had to do their own research the hard way. In all seriousness, before Wikipedia became one big booming e-encyclopedia, many of those that were offered online either required a paid membership to have access to information or the encyclopedia altogether lacked a lot of information. It was either go to the library to find the research you needed or dish out some money to get it.

However, Wikipedia changed all of this and really made research a breeze. The website became the first of its kind: a free e-encyclopedia that has grown and will probably continue to do so as long as the Internet is available. On April 16, 2010, the website had its 1 billionth edit and today it is ranked the #7 most visited website by Alexa. In the U.S. it is the 6th most visited website in the country.

The amazing thing about Wikipedia is that you can literally fin anything and almost everything on Wikipedia. With 3,410,052 articles and growing, there isn’t much you can’t find. If you can’t you can easily edit and add information yourself. The website appeals to Internet users from all over the world, offering information in various languages such as Spanish, Russian, French, German, Italian, and many others. And yes, Wikipedia has a Wikipedia page.

4. Amazon – Changed the face of retail shopping



When you need food, you go to the grocery store. When you need clothes, you go to the mall or your favorite retail store. If you need pet supplies, you go to the pet store. If you want to listen to music, you go purchase a CD at a store. All of this is common sense, and generally when people need things, they visit a brick and mortar store. However, when Amazon was launched in 1995, the company, based out of Seattle, changed the entire face of retail shopping. Their name says it all; Amazon is the largest river in the world and Amazon.com is the largest online store on could imagine. Where else can you buy jewelry, MP3s, clothing, vitamins, dog toys, and anything else from the same location?

Most recently Amazon even began selling food products that can be delivered to your door. With the creation of Amazon, it’s safe to say that less and less people are visiting brick and mortar stores to purchase certain items. The website offers free shipping with a $25 purchase as well as a Prime account which promises free 2-day shipping or $3.99 next day shipping. The point is, anyone can count on Amazon to have what they need. It’s truly amazing how an e-shop can stock and supply such a wide array of items.

3. YouTube – Changed daily entertainment




When it came time to looking or watching videos online, there wasn’t a wide variety of options. At times people would upload videos for people to watch, but many times due to bandwidth and other factors, those who owned websites just opted to stay away from the videos and other high bandwidth features. However, an easy fix to this problem came about in February 2005. YouTube, which has been successfully running for 5 years now, solved any and all problems when it came to entertainment on the Internet. Not only can you watch videos but you can also listen to music and even blog through videos.

Millions of people from all over the world enjoy the features of YouTube each day. Because of YouTube there is one great place for everyone to look at videos and even comment and review them. The website allows you to really watch anything you could ever think of. From music videos to bloggers, to tutorials and just outright random videos, you can surely find it on YouTube.

The website is ranked #3 on the Alexa scale and offers 29 different languages for users who live outside of the United States. Though other video websites are available, such as Hulu, none have been as successful as YouTube has been.

2. eBay – Changed how we buy and sell


While online shopping has become a great fad that it seems everyone has latched onto, eBay is one of many websites that should have credit for advancing this online phenomenon. Even though most websites today offer users the ability to purchase what they want online, eBay not only offers online shopping it also allows users to bid on some of the hottest items each year. eBay has most definitely made shopping something that anyone can do without having to get in the car, drive to a store or the mall, and then look around to find the right size or color.

With online shopping with a few simple clicks your shopping is done. eBay allows users from all over the world to bid and buy items. The good thing about the website is that many times you pay a lot less than you would in stores and even better is the fact that items are available that may not be sold in a store local to you. eBay has made it easy to find some of the most popular items as well as items that aren’t sold in stores anymore.

eBay is also well known for its ability for users to sell various items, from perfume to clothing to replica shoes and anything and everything in between. eBay is one of the very few websites that offers live real time auctions for products.

1. Google – Changed virtually everything


As extreme as it sounds, it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to the Internet Google can be found anywhere and everywhere. No matter what kind of activity you do online, from watching videos, to blogging, to just reading the local news online, you’re probably some way, somehow using a service provided by Google, and many times you don’t even know it. When you watch a YouTube video, you’re using a Google service. If you’ve ever used Blogger, that’s a Google service. Chrome: Google browser. If you’ve ever seen a Doubleclick ad; yep, that’s Google too.

So in essence, Google is everywhere; ubiquitous. From watching videos to uploading pictures to show to friends and family, whether you know it or not, Google is a very well used service all over the world. If you ever need to get somewhere, you probably go to Google.com. If you need to search for something, Google.com is probably the first place you go.


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