The internet has become a core part of our everyday lives: it’s where we work, get out news, enjoy entertainment, purchase goods, and discuss topics with communities. As advanced as the online space is today, the three pillars of the internet are still upheld by the technologies developed by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
From 1989 to 1990, the British computer scientist invented the Web, HTML code, URL, and HTTP, which changed the world forever. Had these properties been developed elsewhere, or at a different time, the inventor may have taken proprietary ownership. However, Berners-Lee wanted a free exchange without a kill switch, which was enabled by him making the Web an open and decentralized space.
In the decades since, however, the openness and freedom presented by the Web have allowed some companies to take over their sectors and monopolize. That said, there are still several businesses that uphold the ideals of the World Wide Web, utilizing online technologies to offer free value.
Tens of thousands of free eBooks
The search for knowledge is what has driven the human race for centuries, and while the internet now boasts oceans of pages of information, a great deal of information is still confined to books. Many believe that the internet should host as much free information as possible, with Project Gutenberg being one such online service. As the first provider of free eBooks, Project Gutenberg has now amassed over 60,000 free digital tomes for anyone to read online or download to a compatible device and read. The focus is on classics and books with expired copyrights in the United States, making for an excellent resource for learners and readers.
Gamification to inspire free language learning
With the internet connecting people from across the globe for everything from conversation to business, the desire to learn new languages has risen significantly. The exchange of information and images has also encouraged more people to embrace their wanderlust and explore the world. So, to make it easier, Duolingo offers a completely free language learning service via web browsers and through their mobile app. The service has also integrated gamification features, such as achievements, streaks, and virtual rewards to encourage progress when learning Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Navajo, or any of the other 36 languages that they teach.
Championing free financial services
Being in the business of money, it has always been very rare for financial services to offer anything free of charge. This is especially true when it comes to one of the largest expenditures of anyone’s life: a mortgage. However, being the “champions for change,” as they say on their website, the Trussle mortgage broker offers its service 100 percent free. It allows anyone to view and compare rates that they can attain through the site and keep up with rate shifts for refinancing. Using the broker won’t impact anyone’s credit score.
Some good honest fun on the Web
Gaming has become the largest entertainment sector in many developed nations worldwide, raking in over $150 billion globally in 2020. Despite how lucrative it can be at the top end, there are still several bastions of classic free browser gaming. Addicting Games, Miniclip, Pogo, and, of course, RuneScape continue to offer gamers good honest fun for those who visit their websites.
Berners-Lee purposefully allowed for the World Wide Web and its technologies to be universal and free. While much of the internet has strayed from this path, several information and entertainment providers continue to uphold the inventor’s ideals.