Summary: Google is the largest and most popular search engine for the Internet. This is the login page to access or establish an account with Google. The most popular item offered is the free email, called Gmail. Additional benefits include: Google Talk (video chat), Google Maps (customizable), Google Voice (free phone calls) and Google Docs (storing and sharing files)
Commentary: The advantages of this website are the popularity and familiarity that comes with all Google products & services. Another advantage is the ability to search within products / files. The disadvantages include selecting or deselecting additional products & services each time you add a service, such as the Google Toolbar and other add-ons.
Summary: The most popular social networking site with over 750 million users. Gives people the ability to post and share text, photos, videos, music and more. Instant notification via email and cell phone has increased its popularity.
Commentary: The advantages of this website are the ability to communicate with individuals or large groups of friends and family and to expand acquaintances. Many users have reconnected with old friends and classmates. Artists, musicians and celebrities have increased their exposure and popularity. Groups have improved their ability to organize, collaborate and synchronize thanks to Facebook. The disadvantages include underage use, predatory behavior, obsessive overuse of the site, viruses and identity theft.
Summary: This is an international person to person auction site, with products sorted into categories.
Commentary: The claim of this site is that anyone can practically buy or sell anything, and this is true. Great prices can be found to save money or to find a buyer for your unique item. The advantages include a very large audience for sellers and a very large market for buyers. The disadvantage is for both buyers and sellers to beware of identity theft and misrepresentation.
Summary: The largest and most popular video sharing site on the Internet.
Commentary: Allows people from all over the world to discover, watch and share video content. Also provides a forum for people to comment and connect. The advantages include free membership, exposure for artists, musicians, and non-profit organizations; Instructional videos can be found on just about any subject, and plenty of entertaining and humorous content too. Disadvantages include possible exposure to violent or adult material, user restrictions and immature content going “viral”.
Summary: Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring online classified advertisements.
Commentary: In the words of the CEO, Craigslist is interested in helping people “find cars, apartments, jobs and dates.” Craigslist is very easy to use for both advertisers and searchers. It has also exploded in popularity giving all users greater exposure. The advantages include the variety of ads, ease of use and market size. The disadvantages are familiar to other sites: false advertising, stalking and identity theft.
Summary: The largest and most popular shopping site on the Internet
Commentary: Beginning as an online bookstore, Amazon has become the number #1 site for buying books and now includes all kinds of merchandise. The advantages include an extremely large catalog of items, sorted by categories, with competitive prices, easy shipping and above average customer service. Many advantages exist also, for writers and publishers. The disadvantages include the need for users to be relatively computer savvy and the possibility of overspending.
Summary: Microsoft’s answer to the search engine Google.
Commentary: Bing produces search results from the Internet and organizes them. The significant difference that Bing shows is the Rewards that users can accumulate by using the site. Advantages are pretty much the same as the Google search engine, only a smaller mass of indexed sites. Disadvantages are that it will likely never be as big as Google, due to the speed that it indexes sites.
Summary: A website which offers a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages called tweets.
Commentary: Postings on this site (called Tweets) are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user's profile page. They enable people to promote business, play games and follow topics. Advantages include a limitless audience, finding jobs and supporting causes. Disadvantages include viral social reputation damage and loss in productivity due to overuse.
Summary: The single best resource on the Internet for movie information, including links to theater locations and showings.
Commentary: This site has encyclopedic movie information for every title listed, including staples like preview clips, still photos, cast listing, interviews, and ratings. More unique offerings include the production information, memorable quotes, technical specs and box office data. Advantages are the wealth of content and link-ability. Disadvantages are nonexistent.
Summary: The largest free online collaborative encyclopedia.
Commentary: Wikipedia boasts over 3.5 million articles in their English language encyclopedia, all edited by online users. Many other languages are also offered and the information provided is pretty solid. Part of the uniqueness is that anyone can edit information in the encyclopedia. This has spawned a Wiki-universe that includes Wikibooks, Wikinews, Wikiuniversity, etc. One disadvantage is that because of the likelihood of running into information that has not been reviewed or edited by an expert, it is advisable to use Wikipedia as a launching pad for finding other, more authoritative resources, from the Wiki results.
Summary: The most popular online video service that offers a selection of hit shows, clips, movies and more.
Commentary: This is an admirable collection of television, cable tv episodes and full length movies. The major advantage is that it is free, streaming video content, always available. The disadvantage is that some content is only available to subscribers who pay a monthly charge.
Summary: Pandora is a customizable internet radio.
Commentary: This site takes music from the Music Genome Project and allows users to build their own “jukeboxes” by selecting artists, songs, genres and the like. The advantages include that the site is free, it plays songs continuously and it lets users skip and rate songs as well. A disadvantage is that you can only “skip” a limited number of songs that you may not like and there are occasional advertisements too.