Did you know that the Internet is not the same thing as the World Wide Web? Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually different things.
The Internet is a system of interconnected computer networks that all use the same rules, known as protocols, to talk to one another.
The Internet has been around since the 1960s when it was first developed by the US government, in collaboration with some private companies, in order to communicate massive amounts of information via computers. The internet was initially used by government agencies and universities to exchange news, email, and files or to remotely log into computers.
The Internet is the all-encompassing ‘network of networks’ that includes all private and public computer networks—everything from your home Internet hook-up, to your company’s internal network—that lets you do everything that you need to do.
The Internet network makes all of your communication and data sharing activities possible: you move files around on FTP, send missives over email, chat with friends over instant messaging, talk to grandma using VoIP, and backup your data in the cloud.
It wasn’t until big, ‘ol business got involved, through the launch of commercial Internet Service Providers in the 1980s, that we began to see the emergence of the World Wide Web. The Web is only one of many applications that have been built on top of the Internet.
The Web is what most people think of as the Internet. It is an information-sharing application that sits on top of the Internet and allows you to read and interact with web pages through a web browser.
Webpages that we see in our web browsers make up the Web; the network of interconnected computers around the world that enable us to see those web pages make up the Internet.
Cocktail Party Fact
So what do you get when you have a hand in creating the World Wide Web? Worldwide recognition at the Olympics! Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who is widely considered the creator of the web, was honored during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics during a segment called “Frankie and June say ‘Thanks Tim.’” During the dance number the teenage lovers thanked Tim for having created the technology that allowed them to connect, and Tim, in turn, professed to the entire audience that the technology he created “is for everyone.”