The Net and the Web: What’s the Difference?

InternetEven though people often use “Internet” (or Net) and “World Wide Web” (or Web) interchangeably, technically they are different. Simply put, the World Wide Web is a subset of the Internet. Other subsets of the Internet are email, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and chat. These subsets run on top of the Internet. I like this description of the difference from Pau Gil at About.com: “To be precise, the Net is the restaurant, and the Web is the most popular dish on the menu.”

The Internet had its beginning in the 1960s as a jumble of government, university and corporate silos that eventually unified into a network of networks. No one owns the Internet and no single person or entity controls the Internet. The Net is a global system of interconnected computer networks that uses a standard protocol (TCP/IP).

The Web was launched 25 years ago in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee and has evolved into something not imagined by the originator. By design, the Web is free, open, decentralized and universal. People from around the world have created services, applications, and tools in a collaborative space that is for everyone. There is still a lot of potential for the web and some challenges. Two-thirds of the earth’s populations do not have access to the Internet. Our personal data is at risk. How do we keep the Net open to all and non-proprietary?

“The greatest oak was once a little nut that held its ground.” – Unknown author

 

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