The internet provides an endless possibility of things to discover, do, and see, which can also make it overwhelming at times. To make things easy, we have outlined the top uses of the internet and provided a simple list of top providers to help you discover something new. The internet continues to combine services, tools, and entertainment in ways that were previously unimaginable, bring them all together in one location, your computer.
Video streaming services give you the freedom to cancel your traditional TV subscription and sign up for on-demand services instead. Many will come commercial free, with the ability to watch what you want, when you want and at a fraction of the price. Some internet providers, such as Safelink Internet, even host hardware for providers like Netflix to optimize the delivery of their service to reduce its demand on the overall network and improve the speed at which it’s delivered to the home. Some of the top streaming services include:
- Netflix – The leader in streaming TV and produces a large selection of their own shows and movies.
- Hulu – Specializes in rebroadcasting television channels and is the most like traditional cable.
- Amazon Prime Video – If you already have an Amazon prime account for shopping, you already have access to their lineup of Video on demand service as well.
- YouTube – The first three providers are geared for streaming movies and shows. YouTube has some of that, but also has other useful videos like how-to’s, music videos, and homemade clips.
Social Media has become an integral part of everyday life for many. These services each provide their own way of keeping in touch with family and friends, sharing experiences through pictures, videos, conversations, and exploring new ideas. Statistically, the largest platforms are:
- Facebook – The leader in social media with 1 billion users. Need we say more?
- Instagram – In short, Instagram is image based social media. Posts are built around the taking and sharing of photos.
- Twitter – Stay connected, but keep it brief. With only 140-character “tweets” you can keep in the loop in short snippets.
- Pinterest – A visual search engine for generating ideas for your next project, design, or recipe. Just type in what you are looking for and start scrolling through the images.
Online shopping has become one of the large reasons for larger department stores to slowly fade out of business. Perhaps the biggest appeal to online shopping is the convenience factor of shopping from the comfort of your own home or even from your phone.
- Amazon – The largest online retailer in the world. Offers 2-day shipping with Prime membership on most products.
- eBay – Also one of the largest online shops. Known for online auctions where the user can buy and sell a range of items from everyday use to rare and collectible.
- Etsy – A niche store where users can sell hand-made crafts and specialty items that they make themselves. It’s like the world’s largest farmer’s market.
- Brick and Mortar Stores – Any brand store from Walmart to Best Buy to Home Depot have an online store where you can shop from the convenience of your home. Did you know many local grocery stores even offer online shopping and have delivery?
Web Surfing (blogs, news)
Newspapers, news outlets, or even cooking shows have a presence online. If you missed the breaking news or want to check out a recipe mentioned on your favorite cooking show, you can look for these online.
- Fox News – Ranks amongst the top frequented websites for news.
- New York Times – One of the oldest traditional newspapers that has kept up with the digital age by including content online.
- Food Network – The popular channel for various cooking shows has a website for finding their recipes and recaps of missed shows.
- ESPN – One of the most well known news hubs for sports ties in their website to provide all the scores and sports news, so you never miss a beat.
Thinking of the previous section in finding that recipe or news article, search engines are what you actually use to find the website you are looking for. The two largest search engines are Google and Bing. When someone says they will Google something, they mean they will find the answer by searching the question in Google and then sift through the search results to get the answer to their question.
- Google – The most used search engine in the US by statistics. Great to search the web for almost anything. Did you know you can even search for local businesses to find their hours, reviews, and directions to the closest location?
- Bing – Microsoft’s response to Google Search. Bing might be less commonly used, but it is made to pair better with Microsoft Edge.
Gaming in itself is a very broad category that include both single player and multiplayer options. When people play online, they have the option of playing with other players from all around the country, maybe even around the world. Games can be played on phones, computers, or videogame consoles like the Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo consoles. The internet simply makes it easy to find new games and find others to play with. It’s like playing a game of chess or poker, but your opponents are far away. And yes. There are websites dedicated to online chess or poker.
- Several sites, such as Facebook, offer free games such as Candy Crush and Farm Ville.
- Google Playstore – This is where you can find games for android devices or Chromebooks.
- App Store – This is Apple’s service to download games or other apps for Apple devices.
- Microsoft Store – This is Microsoft’s service to download apps or games for PC computers or Windows phones.
- Steam – If you really want to get into online gaming, this site offers a huge selection of computer games.
This is a fantastic way to talk with your family or close friends. A lot of the services are free, like Skype, WhatsApp, Messenger or Facetime. What’s great about these tools being free is that they are still free, even if calling someone in a different country. No more paying for long-distance calls! Many of them offer voice calls, messaging, and of course video calls.
- Skype – A great way to communicate from a computer to video chat, talk, or message other Skype users.
- Messenger – This program is made by Facebook to message, call, or video call other Facebook users.
- WhatsApp – WhatsApp is primarily on a mobile phone, but this desktop app can still let you receive and send messages on your computer. WhatsApp is a great way to text or call other people around the world as long as they have WhatsApp as well.
- Looking for a better solution to your standard house phone? Consider a Voice Over Internet Phone (VOIP) phone solution that allows you to keep your phones, bundle service, and save money.
Learn More on VOIP
Whether you are planning an exciting getaway trip or need to get somewhere for an event, the internet is a great tool to plan the trip. Travel sites are great tools for booking airfare, car rentals, and hotels. Additionally, they can save you money by finding the best deals for you!
- Expedia – Amongst the top 5 travel sites, this is a great place to compare prices on hotels, rentals, airfare and more.
- Kayak – Also one of the largest travel sites. Uses a program to scan the web for deals on hotels, airfare, rentals and compare results.
- TripAdvisor – Great for advice and reviews on different activities or itineraries. Find the hidden gems and secret attractions for your next vacation destination.
- AirBnB – Makes it easy to book vacation homes or find other places to stay that a hotel may not offer, like staying in a condo.
Job searching is not always very fun, but the internet can help with that too. Many Career sites also have built-in tools to upload your resume and match you with potential jobs. Additionally, these sites can be used for hiring purposes or networking.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for building a professional network. It is kind of like Facebook, but for professional networking.
- Glassdoor – In addition to finding jobs or recruiting talent, Glassdoor is a hub for employees to leave reviews for a company they have worked for. This allows an applicant to have a better idea of the company culture or processes.
- ZipRecruiter – A useful tool to find a job or hire talent.
- Indeed – Another great tool for job searching or for finding talent.
The internet has an endless number of uses and websites available and the links provided here are just the beginning. So don’t be afraid to explore. You’ll be amazed at how many sites are out there just waiting to answer your next question.
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