Cutting Edge Uses of the Web


WebCams are cameras that are connected to the Web. You can link to a site and see what the camera happens to be looking at right now. This can be fun, it is an innocent piece of voyeurism, but imagine the future uses of this. Think about if you could connect with any of thousands of cameras in any significant area on the planet and get live video. Currently you get still pictures that are updated at regular intervals, depending on what your bandwidth permits.


Chatting over web browsers provide new possibilities. For one thing that you can throw in graphics and web links quite easily.

Live Audio

Listening to audio over the net used to mean that you had to wait a long time for a file to download to listen to a few seconds of audio. Now there are ways of getting audio live, even over 14.4 connections.

Video Conferencing

This still requires quite some bandwidth, but it is getting pretty inexpensive to come by. A $100 Connectix camera and a free CU-SeeMe program gets you going. It is possible (barely) over a 28.8 modem.

Live Video over the Net


Java is a language developed by Sun that can produce applets, self-contained programs, that are downloaded and executed by your web-browser, thereby bringing much increased interactivity to the web. JavaScript is a more simple way of accessing this functionality by embedding codes in HTML files.

Virtual Reality

The Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) is a standard for storing and displaying 3 dimensional environments. Some very impressive stuff appearing.

Phone Calls on the Net

The ability to make phonecalls over the Net could just about put the long-distance phone companies out of business. However, the quality is still somewhat variable.

Bandwidth for everybody

All of these fun things could use some more speed. Several promising technologies are coming up that will provide high bandwidth to the masses. ADSL or SDSL lines from the phone company can provide several megabits incoming, over existing phone lines. Cable modems can provide 10 megabits or more. Trials are taking place, and prices of the modems are dropping. Watch out for the @Home network that will provide national Web access over cable modems.

Graphically Rich Documents

HTML is somewhat limited in being able to lay things out exactly like you want them. There are various options for including more rich content in web pages.

Multi-User Object Oriented Environments

Here we are talking about interactive environments, allowing you to walk around in an on-line world, create artifacts and interact with other players. This could have great potential for education, not to mention the fun-aspect.

Earth Viewers

The Web provides unprecendented possibilities for getting a better overview of our planet. Specifically there are sites that present you with the big picture of planet Earth, such as in what is seen from space.

On-line Tests and Readings

Web forms allows you to fill in test answers or other information about yourself and immediately get feedback. Here are a few examples.

Interactive Art

You can collaborate with people you've never met in creating works of art.

Electronic Cash

The Net has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with each other economically. There are several schemes coming out allowing the transfer of money electronically.

Web Robots

Software robots can do useful functions for you, independently and freely.


There are web forms that allow you to send free faxes internationally, or to send anonymous messages.

Search Engines

Internet Statistics

Find out how big the Internet is.

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