What’s a Browser? A Quick Guide To Talking Technology

Image courtesy of Rhys A.'s photostream

Image courtesy of Rhys A.’s photostream

I work with technology every day – coding websites and emails, manipulating spreadsheets to get to find the data I need for a project, updating social media accounts with pictures, videos and URLs to make it more aesthetically pleasing. I often take for granted just how complex and varied the world of technological products has become of late and how easy it is to get lost in all the jargon that’s been created to describe very similar things.

Here are a few terms you need to know if you’re trying to talk tech:

Browser – A browser is a program that lets you view pages on the internet as well as html files and graphics/images. Popular examples include Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari as well as Internet Explorer.

URL – URL stands for “uniform resource locator” and to you and I, that’s gibberish. What’s important to know is that a URL is the address of a page located on the internet. For example: http://www.google.com is the URL for Google. They’re common referred to as “links” or “hyperlinks.”

HTML – This is language of the internet. HTML tells your browser what to display on your computer or mobile device screen. In fact, the images you’re looking at on this blog are being displayed, in part, thanks to the HTML code that’s hidden behind what you normally see on the page.

ISPs – ISP stands for Internet Service Provider – for example Time Warner, AT&T and Comcast are considered ISPs because they provide the ability for you to connect to the internet.

Server – Servers are physical devices that support a company’s computer and internet networks. Servers are typically owned by ISPs.

Cloud Storage – While they function like servers, cloud storage operates as a digital warehouse of all of your data. The idea behind the cloud is that, unlike having to be physically connected to your server to access the data that’s held there, you can access your data from “the cloud” anywhere you have an internet connection.

Augmented Reality (AR) – AR is the interaction of superimposed graphics, audio and other enhancements over a real-world environment displayed in real time.

Smart Devices – You’ll usually hear people use this term when they refer to TVs but it doesn’t hurt to know that something that’s considered a “smart device” is any electronic device that can connect to the internet.

Gamification – This describes systems and processes that drive engagement. An example might be a membership program that allows members to earn points as they look at content on your website that can be redeemed for special offers/perks.

Content Management System (CMS) – This is a password-protected software system that provides tools to create and manage website content and doesn’t require knowledge of programming languages. Examples of CMS are WordPress and Joomla.

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