The Internet has a wide variety of uses. It provides an excellent means for disseminating information and communicating with other people in all regions of the world. While the greatest use of the Internet has been sharing information, other sources of use are rapidly developing. For instance, chat rooms, space where people can go to discuss an assortment of issues, and Internet Commerce, which connects buyers and sellers online. The following are other examples of current Internet uses:
- Technical Papers
Originally, the Internet was only used by the government and universities. Research scientists used the Internet to communicate with other scientists at different labs and to access powerful computer systems at distant computing facilities., Scientists also shared the results of their work in technical papers stored locally on their computer system in FTP sites. Researchers from other facilities used the Internet to access the FTP directory and obtain these technical papers. Examples of research sites are NASA and NASA AMES.
- Share Company Information
Commercial companies are now using the Web for many purposes. One of the first ways that commercial companies used the Web was to share information with their employees. Sterling Software’s Web page informs employees about such things as training schedules and C++ Guidelines. There is also some information which is company private and access is restricted to company employees only. Another company example is Sun Microsystems which similarly contains general information about the Sun Microsystems company.
- Product Information
One of the ways businesses share information is to present their product information on a Web page. Some examples: Cray Research, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, and GM’s Pontiac Site. The Web provides an easy and efficient way for companies to distribute product information to their current and potential customers.
Along these lines, companies are beginning to actually advertise online. Some examples of different ways to advertise online are Netscape’s ad Page. Netscape has a list of advertising companies. They also use a banner for advertisements on their Yahoo Web Page. Star ware similarly uses banner advertisement. These advertisements are created in the established advertising model where the advertising is positioned between rather than within editorial items. Another type of advertising focuses on entertaining the customers and keeping them at the companies site for a longer time period.
- Business & Commerce on the Net
Commercial use restrictions of the Internet were lifted in 1991. This has caused an explosion of commercial use. More information about the business on the Internet can be found at the Commerce Net. This site has information such as the projected growth of advertising on the Internet and online services. Commercial Services on the Net has a list of various businesses on the Internet. They are many unusual businesses listed here such that you begin to wonder if they are legitimate businesses. This topic is discussed in more detail in the section on risks and consumer confidence. Business and Commerce provides consumer product information. The Federal Trade Commission is also quite concerned about legal business on the Internet.
Magazines are starting to realize that they can attract customers online. Examples of magazines now published online are Outside Economist and Business Week. These magazines are still published in hard copy, but they are now also available, online. Many of these publications are available free sometimes because of the time delay (i.e. publications online are past issues) or usually to draw in subscribers for a free initial trial period. Some of these publications may remain free online if advertisers pay for the publications with their advertisement banners.
Some newspapers are beginning to publish online. The San Jose Mercury News is a full newspaper online, while the Seattle Times offers just classified ads and educational information. The Dow Jones Wall Street Journal publishes its front page online with highlighted links from the front page to complete stories. The Journal also provides links to briefing books, which provide financial information on the company, stock performance, and recent articles and press releases. For an example of a briefing book see Netscape Briefing Book. This is all free by the Wall Street Journal during the trial period which should last until mid-1996.
- Employment Ads
Companies are also beginning to list their employment ads online to attract talented people who they might not have been able to reach by the more traditional method of advertising in local papers. Sun Microsystems provides a list of job openings on the Internet. Interested parties can submit a resume or call to schedule an interview, which saves time for everyone involved. Universities can also help their students find jobs more easily by using job listings on the Internet. The Univ’ easily of Washington has a job listing site. Local papers can also make it easier for job searchers by creating a database search feature. The job searchers can select the type of jobs that they are interested in and the search will return a list of all the matching job openings.