The World Wide Web was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, and we all have a lot to thank him for. The advent of the web transformed the internet, paving the way for it to be the global phenomenon that it is today. It could be said that the web is the most important invention of all time, for it has changed the way we learn, the way we communicate, the way we shop and the way we work, and there can be little doubt that it will change the future of our planet too in ways that we can't yet see. The internet and the way we use it continues to advance and evolve, but here are eight boom areas that are bringing net users a wealth of benefits.
1. Internet Shopping
One of the greatest changes of all in our internet age is the way that we buy and sell things. Every year sees an increase in the number of people doing their shopping online rather than in a traditional bricks and mortar store. Online sales currently account for more than 8% of all retail sales in North America and represent the majority of sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Growth continues to be exponential, and online sales are expected to reach 15.5% of global retail sales by 2021. This is great news for shoppers who now have far greater choice of where to shop and can therefore find better value for their dollars.
2. An Easier Way to Find Work
Finding work used to involve writing countless letters followed by an agonizing wait for a reply, after which the job seeker frequently had to send off another round of letters. It was a slow and often frustrating process, so it's no surprise that many people are now finding jobs and applying for them online. Search engines have replaced local newspapers as the perfect place to find situations vacant, and by uploading a CV to a specialist website it's now possible to sit back and wait for the right employer to find you. With interviews often being conducted via the internet as well, the process has become cheaper and more effective for both employers and potential employees.
3. Online Casinos
The popularity of online casinos continues to grow, attracting users of all ages and both men and women across Europe. Even nations such as Germany where legislation surrounding online casinos is somewhat hazy people often visit online casinos. Visiting an online casino brings many benefits compared to visiting a high street casino; there's a huge amount of games to choose from, and you can play from the comfort of your own home. It's often to play just for fun, without risking any money, and this allows gamers to learn the games before investing in them. Casino websites are designed for fun and they also encourage responsible gambling, making them a popular choice for those looking to unwind after work.
4. 21st Century Dating
Dating used to be a hit and miss affair. The chances of finding your ideal partner depended solely upon whether you happened to bump into them at some point in your life, but now it's a much more proactive affair. Whether you want to find someone to settle down with, or are simply looking to have an enjoyable date, online dating can provide the solution. Leading dating websites count their users in tens of millions, so your perfect match could be just a click or a swipe away.
5. Innovative News Sources
Sales of newspapers are down, but that doesn't mean people are less interested in news, it just means that they're getting their information fix online. This brings with it the threat of that most talked about phenomenon 'fake news', but it also means that there is a far greater choice of reading material available, so net users can find a news source that shares their political beliefs. Social media is also ensuring the news stories reach a huge audience quickly, and this makes greater numbers of people more politically aware and active than ever before.
6. Selling Houses with Less Stress
It's said that moving house is the most stressful thing in life, other than a bereavement, and most of that stress comes from the all too lengthy house selling process. Finding a buyer can seem to take forever, but the internet could change all that. Houses advertised on the internet can now be virtually explored by potential buyers, allowing them to make quicker and better-informed decisions. The realtor trade is being changed completely by the internet, but house buyers and sellers should both be winners.
7. Multi User Gaming
Computer gaming in its early days was a largely solitary process, but online gaming is now one of the most sociable activities of them all, which is one of the reasons for its great popularity. Players from one continent can now join in with those playing on other continents, and there's an immense choice of sophisticated games to play. Online sports game experts have now become celebrities in their own right, so maybe one day the Olympic Games will take place solely over the internet.
8. Accessible Education for All
Education broadens the mind, but higher education was once out of reach of those who couldn't afford to study without working or who weren't able to move away to University or college. Online degree courses are now making top quality learning accessible to these people who would previously have been left behind, bringing tangible benefits for society as a whole.
Online students can study at their own pace, fitting their lessons around their work and family commitments, and by removing the cost of transport and the upheaval of moving, studying for a degree online can also be much more affordable. In the twelve years to 2014 the number of online students rose from 1.6 million to 5.8 million, and this growth continues to accelerate.
From internet shopping to online casinos and games and internet-based degrees, these are just some of the boom areas of today's world wide web, and it's certainly come a long way in a little over a quarter of a century. In the decades to come, every aspect of the way we live our lives will change, but as the eight areas above show, this will bring a range of benefits that would once have seemed unthinkable.