What is the Internet, Surfing and Searching and how to use them
As a beginner to the computer technology field, you may have heard about the Internet, web surfing, searching and a number of other invented terms. Often these terms are used by people and they are seldom defined. It seems that everyone knows them but if you're a beginner, that is simply not true. Here is the basic starting point that you can use to start learning about the Internet and the wonderful array of things that can be done with it.
Web Surfing - the act of reading various content pages that are available on the Internet.
Internet Searching - the act of using a tool to help find content on the Internet.
The Internet Defined for Beginners
The Internet is the name of the global infrastructure that has developed through the interconnection of millions of computers. It refers to the network of all devices connected together. With it, people are able to communicate with people across town or around the world. The Internet facilitates the transmission of electronic messages of various types. These include electronic mail, ("Email"), for example, which emulates standard postal mail. The use of the Internet is largely unregulated and free for general users. Each user gains by connecting their computer to another computer that is already on the Internet, or by using a computer that is already connected. There is generally no cost to use the Internet, only for the connection from your computer to the Internet. It is like a telephone system that costs the user a fee for access but which has no charges for individual calls.
Web Surfing Defined for Beginners
Many millions of computers on the Internet freely provide pages of content to anyone who wishes to read them. These pages may include text or graphical information. (You are reading an example page of content right now.) Every computer on the Internet is directly connected to at least one other and indirectly to every other Internet computer. Content pages are generally connected to at least one other content page by means of a link. A link is a reference on a page to another Internet page. The link is "clickable". That means that you move your mouse pointer to the link and then click on your mouse. The page referred to by the link will be displayed. This is called "Surfing" from one page to another. When you are reviewing the second page, you may click on links which take you to additional pages. This allows you to surf from site to site with easy mouse click actions. You concentrate on the content that is being displayed, not where the content is located.
Occasionally, pages will not be available when you click on their links. This could happen if an Internet connection is down, the computer is no longer operational or the page has been deleted. When it does happen, a message page will display informing you that the desired content is not available. Depending on the organizations involved, the message will be fairly descriptive and informative or it will not be. In any event, your surfing on that topic will end because of the dead link. You will need to go back to a previous content page and begin surfing to another page or start a new content search from the beginning.
Internet Searching Defined for Beginners
As mentioned, there are millions of computers on the Internet. They provide billions of pages of content to all Internet users. With so many web pages available, companies began to provide tools, called "Search Engines", that help users find relevant information. Search Engines take a search term from you and find web pages that match your term. They do this by continually analyzing all of the web pages available and saving the topics from each into an index. This allows the search engine to give you a list of matching web pages seconds after you enter your search term. The popular search engines are Google and Yahoo but there are literally hundreds of others as well.
Unfortunately, with so many web pages, your search term may match many, many web pages. A check on the search term "Sugar", for example, shows over 326 million matching pages. The first few entries are for a Wikipedia page, a kind of online encyclopedia, some nutritional pages and a page about the movie "Sugar". While one of these may be exactly what you were searching for, chances are that you were really looking for something else. When searching, it actually helps if you can be more specific. The search term "Icing Sugar" returns only 2.1 million pages. "Icing Sugar Cookie Recipe" yields 876,000 pages. While this is still a rather large number of pages, you can review the list and see if any of the summaries represent exactly what you are trying to find.
In time, you will learn how to specify your terms in ways that help search engines find what you are looking for. Just remember that there are millions, if not billions of web pages. Every search that you make is likely to find many pages that might be of interest. Be sure to add more words to your searches so that you provide the search engine with more relevant information. Play around with the results and see what you find. The billions of web pages on the Internet, coupled with efficient search engine tools, gives you the benefit of a vast wealth of knowledge, literally at your fingertips. You just have to start using it, get familiar with it and see where it takes you.
Additional Resources for Beginners
Beginners just starting to use the Internet often find that they have basic questions that seem difficult to answer. Many times, the terminology actually gets in the way. Informational sites such as Infobarrel can be very helpful. Many authors provide content which can help guide the beginner. Unfortunately, there is a lot to understand with the Internet. The technology is the culmination of decades of computer development. As a beginner just starting to explore the technology, you get the benefit of the advanced level of sophistication. You can begin to use the available tools and web content without regard to the long and difficult process that people followed to get technology up to this point. The main tips to remember are that the Internet exists to serve everyone and that a nearly limitless amount of information is available. You just have to become comfortable with the Internet and the tools in order to take advantage. Good luck!