The Top 7 Websites

Let's be clear here. We're not interested in stupid marketing sites, we hate Shockwave flash presentations and all other such bollocks. Computers and the Internet are here to make life more efficient - not so people can clog it up with commercial rubbish. Wake up sales people - you are becoming irrelevant.

We want sites that use the Internet in a way that has improved the real-life world that we inhabit.

The Advanced Book Exchange

Prior to the new world, if I wanted to find a rare book, it would involve a major undertaking - trips to second hand book shops and/or expensive search services that would take days. Then someone came up with the idea of a global centralised database of all second hand books. Hardly radical but definitely the most important innovation in the publishing industry since the invention of the printing press. Now if I want to buy a rare book, I find and buy it in minutes.


Until google, search engines claimed they would find the website you were after from their database of millions of pages. This was crap - they had millions of pages but when you searched for "fluffy bunny" all that would come up would be loads of pornography, and a few used car sites from the Canada that didn't work. That's because their ranking criteria based on the text (hidden and otherwise) of the pages was open to spamming (manipulating text on a page to unfairly gain a high ranking) and there was no way to rank a page depending upon just how good it was. Worse than this were schemes that ranked websites higher in search listings, the more they paid. Outrageous (and this still goes on all the time - watch out for it). Then Google arrived with more than a billion pages and a way of ranking that worked. They simply used the votes of other websites, in the form of links to a website to determine how relevant it was. Simple concept - winning result. Let's just hope they don't corrupt it by allowing people to pay for higher listings in some way.


Ebay is probably the best example of showing what the Internet can do. It's just an auction site. How simple and yet now people from all over the world can bid on millions of things that they want but previously didn't stand a chance of finding. The planet must be a happier place.


If I want to go from one place to another, I want to know what train to catch. I no longer need to keep all the latest train timetables and I no longer need to wait for hours in British Rails' telephone queueing system. I go here and in under a minute, I have 3 possible trains I can take. Simple is best.

Dave Central

Why does software cost money? It doesn't need to anymore. Use stuff that's free - save yourself money and make the world a less selfish place. My favourite example is Dave Central.

Wow! I can see an up-to-date map of any place I want to go. I can zoom out to see how to get there. I can zoom in to read the street names. Print it out and I'm off en-route before you can say 'Mandalay Restaurant, Edgeware Road'. Ground-breaking website.

Friends Reunited

Power of the Internet allows you to get in touch with all the people you went to school with or, better yet, voyeuristically find out what they're up to without contacting them. Brilliantly simple scheme does not allow you to find out who's registered and what they're doing until you register first. Spends hours in fascination.