Find information. The web contains a vast amount of information—far more than even the world's largest libraries. For example, you can read news stories and movie reviews, check airline schedules, see street maps, get the weather forecast for your city, or research a health condition. Reference sources, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, are widely available, as are historical documents and classic literature.
Most companies, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, museums, and libraries have websites with information about their products, services, or collections. Many individuals publish websites with personal journals called blogs (short for web logs) about their hobbies and interests.
Even though the web is great for research, not all information on the web is reliable. Information on some websites might be inaccurate, out of date, or incomplete. Before you trust information, make sure it comes from an authoritative source, and check other sources to verify the information.
Communicate. E‑mail is one of the most popular uses of the Internet. You can send an e‑mail message to anyone with an e‑mail address, and it will arrive almost instantly in the recipient's e‑mail inbox—even if he or she lives halfway around the world. See Getting started with e‑mail.
Instant messaging (IM) allows you to have a real-time conversation with another person or a group of people. When you type and send an instant message, the message is immediately visible to all participants. Unlike e‑mail, all participants have to be online (connected to the Internet) and in front of their computers at the same time.
Newsgroups and web-based forums allow you to participate in text-based discussions with a community of other people who are interested in the same topic. For example, if you are having trouble using a program, you could post a question in a discussion group for users of that program.
Share. You can upload (copy) pictures from your digital camera to a photo-sharing website. Invited friends and family members can then visit the website to view your photo albums.
Shop. The web is the world's biggest shopping mall. You can browse and purchase products—books, music, toys, clothing, electronics, and much more—at the websites of major retailers (usually a credit card is required). You can also buy and sell used items through websites that use auction-style bidding.
Play. You can play games of every type on the web, often against other players—no matter where they are in the world. Many games are free, and you can download others for a fee. You can also listen to Internet radio stations, watch movie clips, and download or purchase music, videos, and even some TV shows.