The technologies that underpin the World Wide Websuch as HTML, hypertext, and so onare remarkable things, as you've seen in Part 4, "How the World Wide Web Works." But the true point of the Web isn't its underlying technologies. Instead, it's how those technologies are put to use.
In this section of the book, you'll look in detail at some of the most interesting uses of the Web, everything from how Google works to how mapping sites work, and how so-called wikis work.
Chapter 27, "How Internet Searching Works," examines Internet search engines. The Internet contains such a vast amount of information that it's often impossible to find exactly what you want. Search engines look through the entire Internetnot only web pages, but other sites such as newsgroupsand find information you're looking for, based on keywords you type.
Chapter 28, "How Google Works," takes a look behind the scenes at Google, the most popular search site on the Internet, and a site that has changed the way that most people use the Internet. Before Google, finding information was, to put it mildly, a challenge. After Google's launch, it's far easier to find what you want. The chapter shows you exactly how Google searches the Internet for you. And it also takes a look at the dark side of Google as wellthe vast amount of information that it can gather about you as you use the site.
Chapter 29, "How Map Sites Work," shows you how mapping sites such as MapQuest and Google Earth work. These sites are remarkable; type in a location, or two locations, and they come back in seconds with a detailed map, or map and directions between the two locations. As you'll see, much of the work is not done on the Internet itself, but rather first by companies that provide the actual mapping data to the map sites.
Chapter 30, "How Wikis and the Wikipedia Work," takes a look at one of the more recent and intriguing uses of the Internet. A wiki is a site that allows multiple people to cooperatively update information. The biggest wiki in the world, by far, is the Wikipedia, which is a free, online encyclopedia written, updated, and edited by thousands of volunteers across the globe.