What is Online Services

Online Services – Narrower Meaning in Early Days of Internet

Online Services had a much narrower meaning or scope in the early days of the internet than it has today. Originally Online Services referred to services provided by online businesses to its paid up members via electronic means over telephone cables. The members dialed into the Online Service Providers’ private computer network via a dial-up modem. These Online Services provided content for all of their members as well as access to communication with other members of the same provider via email, bulletin boards, ftp downloads, forums, and chat rooms.

Online Services – Originally for Subscription Members Only

Access to these Online services was strictly by subscription only. This meant that each service and its members were effectively isolated online communities of their own. Far from the open and free internet we enjoy today. The largest and most well known Online Service providers in those times were America Online (AOL), Compuserve, and MSN. The first two of which I confess to having had a subscription to.

Online Services – Definition

However, in recent times two other definitions of Online Services have currency.
Online Services are defined as:

  1. Internet access services through an Internet Service Provider (ISP), which in contrast to the early service providers, rarely provide any of their own content; and
  2. Information services provided over the Internet such as internet search, online backup services and online application services.

Online Services – Now Includes a Much Broader Range of Services

This second contemporary definition of Online Services includes a whole range of services that could only be found offline previously and a host of new services that didn’t exist before the proliferation of the internet. They include online shopping of all kinds, online banking, online health advice, online government sites, online car insurance, universal e-mail, online news services, music, movies ticketing , betting, chat, internet protocol telephones, internet protocol television and so on. Just a few months ago Subaru sold a car online that was not available anywhere except online!

Online Services – Offer Greater Flexibility and Choice

The beauty of these online services is in reducing the time needed to avail yourself of the goods or services on offer and the larger degree of choice and flexibility you enjoy. There are services that do the comparisons between different providers’ offerings to further improve the quality of your purchase.
As a result choice for consumers has exploded! Online marketing and trading have become very popular. Online sellers and dealers have much more opportunity to display ads on their Websites in order to attract buyers from all over the world. However, as a result of this greater competition there are many online stores which provide genuine products at cost effective price rates.

Online Services – Have Changed Beyond Recognition

We can see that the world of Online Services has changed almost beyond recognition since the early days of the internet. Online Services have changed from largely insular and exclusive electronic communities to an almost universal inclusive global village.

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