TIME Web

Study: Most Americans Don’t Understand How the Internet Works

Pew Web IQ
Getty Images

Though most Internet users are familiar with basic technology concepts

Most American Internet users aren’t familiar with the concepts underpinning the Internet and common technology, a survey released Tuesday found.

Pew Research Center’s Web IQ Quiz polled Americans with 17 questions relating to the web and technology, varying in technicality from where hashtags are used to the what Moore’s Law means, according to the survey. While the majority of quiz takers correctly defined common Internet terms like net neutrality, most respondents struggled to correctly answer other questions about the infrastructure behind the Internet, like whether “Internet” and “World Wide Web” are the same.

The survey also found that only 44% of respondents were aware that a company’s privacy policy doesn’t necessarily mean the firm will actually keep users’ information confidential.

Younger Internet users performed the best on the quiz, with the lowest age bracket (18-29) answering on average 10.1 out of the 17 questions correctly (about 60%). The highest age bracket (65+) answered on average 7.8 out of the 17 questions correctly (about 45%).

 

TIME Web

Internet Users Surge to Almost 3 Billion Worldwide

Man using computer
Getty Images

40% of the world is now online

The number of Internet users in the world is approaching 3 billion, according to a United Nations agency.

The International Telecommunications Union revealed in its annual report that the number of Internet users grew 6.6% in 2014, from 2.7 billion to almost 3 billion. Five years ago, just 2 billion people were online. Today, 40% of the world is plugged in.

The quickest growth has occurred in developing countries, where the number of Internet users has doubled in the last five years. But there are still more than 4 billion people on Earth without Internet access. Africa is the region with the lowest penetration rate, with only 19% of people on the continent currently using the Internet.

ITU has committed to bringing 1.5 billion more people online by the end of the decade through an initiative called Code 2020, which is focused on expanding access to mobile broadband around the world. A bevy of big tech companies, including Google and Facebook, have also launched projects to deliver Internet access to remote areas.

TIME Companies

Yahoo Will Be Firefox’s Default Search Engine Until 2019

A screen displays the logo of the open-s
A screen displays the logo of the open-source web browser Firefox on July 31, 2009, in London. Leon Neal—AFP/Getty Images

"Most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years"

Yahoo and Mozilla have announced a strategic five-year partnership making Yahoo the default search engine for the Firefox browser, according to a Wednesday statement on Mozilla’s blog.

The agreement, called “the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years,” will introduce an enhanced search experience featuring a “clean, modern and immersive design” for U.S. Firefox users starting next month. The partnership will also open up the door to explore other product integrations between the Internet company and the Internet browser.

“We’re so proud that [Mozilla has] chosen us as their long-term partner in search, and I can’t wait to see what innovations we build together,” said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in the statement. “At Yahoo, we believe deeply in search – it’s an area of investment, opportunity and growth for us.”

 

TIME Innovation

Google Launching New Test Flight for Balloon-Based Internet

Australia is the site of the project's latest test trials

Google’s plan for “balloon-powered Internet for everyone” will expand its pilot test to Australia next month, The Guardian reported Monday.

During the trial, the company will fly 20 test balloons over Western Queensland in partnership with Australia’s largest telecom company, Telstra. Telstra will supply base stations to communicate with the balloons, and the test balloons will beam down 4G-style Internet from over 60,000 ft. in the air.

The ultimate goal for Google’s balloon-based Internet initiative, known as Project Loon, is to use high-altitude balloons to provide Internet access in rural or remote areas or during times of disaster, according to Google.

The Australia test flights are the latest step forward for Project Loon, which began in June 2013 with a test flight of 30 balloons over New Zealand. Other trials have since taken place over California’s Central Valley and Northeast Brazil.

Google said it aims to expand the pilot through 2014 with the goal of establishing a ring of uninterrupted connectivity around the 40th southern parallel, a circle of latitude that includes parts of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

[The Guardian]

 

TIME Smartphones

Americans Spend Nearly 2 Days a Month Using Mobile Apps

How Much Time Americans Spend on Phones
Carlina Teteris—Getty Images/Flickr RF

That's a whole lotta Candy Crush

U.S. adults spend nearly two days per month using apps or web browsers on their phones, according to Nielsen research.

Americans age 18 and up spent an average of 43 hours and 31 minutes per month using apps or web browsers on their phones during the second quarter of 2014, a sharp rise from the 33 hours and 48 minutes per month during the same period last year, according to Nielsen’s second-quarter 2014 Cross-Platform report.

Yet for how much time Americans spend on their phones, they’re using a surprisingly low number of apps. Mobile phone users have installed on average about 42 apps, but the vast majority of them say they’re using fewer than 10 apps on a daily basis, according to Nielsen’s Mobile Apps Playbook. About half claim they’re using only one to four apps on a daily basis.

So what are those apps? According to comScore, the most popular apps in the U.S. in June 2014 were Facebook, YouTube, Google Play, Google Search and Google Maps.

TIME Apps & Web

The Best Browser Privacy Tools (That Don’t Make Life More Difficult)

Privacy
Getty Images

In a year when social media giants and governments alike have made headlines for tracking users online without their consent, battening down the virtual hatches has become a vital part of Internet hygiene.

Blocking tracking technologies, however, also disables those handy auto-fill log-ins and web personalization features, preventing you from easily shopping online and making your web experience feel as if you’re back in 1999.

So we went in search of privacy tools that don’t impact your browsing experience. We tested browser tools ranging from the basic Private Mode on all browsers to full-featured ad blockers. We looked at the four most-used browsers in the United States: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Here’s what we found to be most helpful for safeguarding your privacy and anonymity — and what measures of convenience you might have to give up if you use them.

The lowdown on cookies

Cookies are small text files that contain one or more bits of information about your computer, most commonly a user ID a website assigns you in order to keep track of your movements through the site. Cookies are often essential to using a site successfully, enabling you to check out from shopping sites or click around Facebook without having to repeatedly re-enter your password.

These first-party cookies come from the website you’re on and exist mostly to offer you a personalized web experience. Benefits include greeting you by name, giving you weather data relevant to your home location and keeping track of your achievements in a game.

It’s the third-party cookies from ads on the websites you visit that track you as you move between websites. Advertisers place these cookies in their advertisements, allowing them to follow your movements among the network of sites where they advertise.

Information about your surfing patterns goes toward compiling a profile of preferences and basic personal data — things like location, age and gender — that is used to create targeted advertising. If you’ve clicked on a lot of gardening sites, for example, targeted ad placements could even show you ads for tools or plants on non-gardening sites. If that bothers you, you can disable third-party cookies in your browser settings.

Browse in private mode

Seeing targeted advertising probably doesn’t bother most people if all they’re surfing for is news, cute cat pictures or a new iPhone. But for looking up information about something like health concerns, privacy mode allows you to browse without associating the search with your existing profile.

To open a private window in your browser:

  • Firefox: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+P
  • Chrome: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N
  • Safari: Safari/Private Browsing
  • Internet Explorer: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+P

This turns off your web history and enables the cookies necessary for the site to work but blocks third-party cookies. At the end of the session, all cookies are deleted.

The downside

Browsing in private mode does not stop the website from recording that you were there based on your IP address, which can still be tracked. And, crucially, private mode doesn’t stop social networks from tracking you. It’s best used for hiding activity on a shared computer rather than actually remaining invisible online.

Block third-party cookies

Third-party cookies aren’t the only way to track people around the Internet, but disabling them in your browser’s settings means advertisers can no longer store files on your browser to track your web surfing.

Here’s how to block third-party cookies, assuming you’re running the most recent versions of the browsers (a good idea from a security point of view):

  • Chrome: Preferences > Show Advanced Options (at the bottom) > Privacy > Content settings > Check “block third party cookies and site data.”
  • Internet Explorer: Tools > Internet Options > Privacy > Move the slider to the level of cookies you want blocked
  • Firefox: Preferences > Privacy > History > Select “Use custom settings for history,” then set “Accept third-party cookies” to Never.
  • Safari: Preferences > Privacy > Select to block cookies “from third parties and advertisers.”

The downside

Some websites require third-party cookies to work; for example, Microsoft asks you to accept cookies when downloading an update. In these cases, head into your browser settings and add the sites as exceptions.

Block the Flash super cookie

Sites may store Flash cookies on your computer regardless of whether you have allowed third-party cookies. Flash cookies can’t be easily deleted, and they may be downloaded to your computer from any website running Adobe Flash (such as sites with video or an interactive application). Designed to locally store your settings for the rich web apps that Flash enables, the capability for the Flash plug-in to allow other sites to store files in a user’s computer can also be hijacked by advertisers wanting a new way to track Internet users.

Flash cookies can identify you across different browsers on the same device and, in some cases, have been found to regenerate deleted browser cookies. Because they have far more storage (up to 100KB) than other cookies, they can contain more complex information about your habits. Like browser cookies, Flash cookies are used by websites to deliver a customized experience as well as give advertisers extra data.

Cookie cleaners and Flash player settings

Blocking Flash entirely could be an option with script-blockers such as NoScript (Firefox) or ScriptNo (Chrome). However, such plug-ins stop all Flash and Java on all pages, breaking the sites in many cases, until you can customize the settings so that trusted objects and pages can run freely. This can take a long time and represent a pain for the less technically minded.

If you use Firefox, you can download the BetterPrivacy, which automatically deletes Flash cookies as they crop up (as well as clearing cookies already there). You can also whitelist necessary Flash cookies, such as cookies used when playing a game.

If you’re not on Firefox, you’ll have to dig into your computer. First, disable future Flash cookies from being left on the machine. If you’re on a PC, open Control Panel and click on Flash player > Local Storage settings by site. You’ll find the default is “Allow All Websites to Store Data”; change it to “Block All Websites from Storing Data.” Then you can easily delete the Flash cookies by hitting the neighboring Delete All button, followed by “Delete All Site Data and Settings.”

If you’re on a Mac, change your Flash settings online at Macromedia by clicking on Global Storage Settings in the (pretty clunky) Flash-based settings manager. Uncheck the box for allowing third-party Flash content to store data on your computer. Then pull the slider for how much data third-party companies can store on your machine to None (far left).

Finally, to delete sites that have already left cookies on your computer, grab the free download CCleaner (Mac/PC), which deletes both Flash and browser cookies.

The downside

Sites including eBay use Flash cookies to verify your identity, so deleting them across the board can mean needing to re-enter passwords more frequently.

Dodge tracking you never signed up for

Microsoft recently announced it would not scan any of the content in its Outlook.com inboxes to use in targeted advertising, but Google makes no such promise with Gmail — quite the opposite.

As for the social networks, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn track users even after they’ve signed out — and even if you don’t click on a social media sharing button. The very act of landing on a page with a social-share button means it relays back to the social network. Sophos’ security blog has a straightforward account of how Twitter does it and how you can opt out. (Remember that opting out doesn’t stop ads or the collecting of information.)

In addition, Facebook uses an alternative to tracking cookies called a conversion pixel, which advertisers affix to their ads to see how many clicks they get. So a website doesn’t need a Facebook button to let Facebook know you’ve been there.

Anti-tracker plug-in Do Not Track Me (Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Internet Explorer) stops a website from sending information back to Facebook or Google unless you actually click one of the +1 or Like buttons. It also blocks other trackers and boasts a clean, intuitive interface for customizing blocking options. The Mask My Email and Make Me A Strong Password features help deter spam and hackers. When you’re signing up for a new account, masking your email address stops potentially dodgy sites from selling your real email address, while the password option creates a hard-to-guess password (that, crucially, isn’t the same as one you already use), then saves it in the plug-in’s encrypted password manager.

On the toolbar, clicking the Do Not Track Me icon shows how many trackers it has blocked — for me, 666 in under 24 hours.

Disconnect (Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Opera) is a similar plug-in that offers the additional benefit of dividing trackers into social, analytic and advertising categories. A graph shows the time and bandwidth saved by blocking trackers requesting information, and you get the option of adding trusted sites (and their cookies) to a whitelist.

The downside

There’s little downside to taking any of these anti-tracking measures. The only thing these scrappy little guys don’t do is block ads; you’ll still see them, but they won’t be targeted based on your previous clicks.

Kill most ads

Many companies (including Facebook, Twitter and Amazon) promise to honor opt-outs for “interest-based” advertising. But while opting out stops companies from delivering targeted ads based on what you’ve clicked on, it does not stop ads based on general information such as your location or other details you may have volunteered while signing up for the account. Crucially, it doesn’t stop companies tracking you and collecting your data.

To prevent ads from showing at all, thus thwarting the purpose of tracking via third-party cookies or other means, try a plug-in such as AdBlock Plus (for Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Internet Explorer), which blocks “annoying” ads: video ads, Facebook ads, pop-ups and the like. By default, a whitelist of ads that fall under the developer’s guidelines for acceptability is allowed, but you can change this setting to disable all ads.

You can also add different filters to block more or different types of ads. For example, the anti-social filter blocks social media buttons from transmitting back to the mother ship that you were there, neatly avoiding the all-seeing Facebook eye.

AdBlock Plus also blocks trackers and websites known to deliver malware.

The downside

Blocking ads deprives sites of revenue, and many websites rely on ad revenue to stay afloat. Unless you tinker with the settings for which ads should be allowed at different sites (a process that may take a long time to complete), you may end up depriving your favorite sites of those caching clicks.

Search securely

Two-thirds of U.S. search traffic is made through Google, distantly followed by Microsoft’s Bing (19%) and Yahoo (10%). While Google’s search algorithms turn up highly relevant results for most of us (in May, 31% of all Internet traffic came from Google, versus less than 2% for Bing and Yahoo combined), there’s an additional trade-off: Search results are also personalized based on what you’ve clicked on in the past.

That may not seem like such a big deal until you consider that Google also combines your search history with other information from your Google accounts, such as YouTube and Gmail, for use in targeted ad campaigns. Search histories can reveal highly personal information such as your interests, religion or health issues, substantially filling out the information already compiled from your YouTube clicks and Gmail messages.

Instead of switching to another Big Three search engine, try DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t log your searches so that all users get the same results. In our test, searches for subjects including current events (“Hong Kong protests”), general knowledge (“why is the sky blue”) and straightforward subjects (Halloween costumes), helpful links turned up in the first half of the page. However, when we typed the more ambiguous phrase “Tuscany fall cuisine,” only Google noted that we wanted autumnal food in Italy, not the town called Tuscany Falls.

DuckDuckGo also offers many of the same convenience features as Google, including a good range of “zero-click info.” For example, type “weather in California,” “650 USD in EUR” or any calculator function such as “square root of 60,” and the answer is displayed above a list of link results.

Similarly privacy-centric search providers include Ixquick, which doesn’t store your IP address or search data (and consequently doesn’t sell any of your information), delivering results based on what the five major search engines are saying. Two or more stars indicate multiple search engines have relayed the same result. However, Ixquick lacks the uber-convenient zero-click search.

Finally, the Disconnect anti-tracker plug-in also has a separate search extension that anonymizes your searches in any of the Big Three search engines as well as DuckDuckGo itself.

The downside

Auto-complete in Google Search has been a godsend when it comes to typing searches for news and factoids you can’t quite recall. Not having a search history also means not having those purpled-out links that indicate at a glance which sites you’ve previously visited (handy when you’ve forgotten to bookmark a great source).

The all-in-one option

Not up to fine-tuning settings, cherry-picking plug-ins and switching to a new search engine?

Get a whole new browser. The Epic Browser offers privacy mode as the default and only option. Epic doesn’t store web histories, search queries or cookies. Clicking on a plug icon in the URL bar turns on a proxy feature that anonymizes your computer by routing your traffic through a U.S.-based proxy network.

Epic also blocks trackers with a handy pop-up telling you exactly how many it’s blocked — and just to rub its success in competitors’ noses, it shows how many trackers exist on the other browsers you’re using. On my computer, Firefox had 143 data-collecting trackers (including Amazon, Experian, all the social networks and a ton of ad providers); Safari had 56 (including BuzzFeed, LinkedIn and Tumblr); and my Chrome browser with Do Not Track Me Plus running let through just two (eBay and ad provider Double Click).

The downside

It’s back to the caveman days of manually typing everything in, from passwords to URLs. There’s no auto-fill feature for log-ins or website addresses, because Epic doesn’t store any history. Nor does Epic save passwords, and it doesn’t yet work with password managers, so you’ll either have to remember all your log-ins or save them on your hard drive.

Browsing completely anonymously (mostly)

All of the options we’ve discussed prevent third parties from tracking you within and across websites. However, the website can still see where you came from through your IP address, and that address could be used as an alternate means of tracking your activities. For example, a person or company who disagreed with your comments on a site could use your IP information to track you down and sue you for libel.

To hide your IP address from being uncovered, you will need to use either an anonymous web proxy or virtual private network (VPN) service. Both not only mask your IP address from the website you’re visiting, but will also prevent anyone who monitors your network (e.g., your employer) from monitoring the sites you’re visiting.

The downside

Some of these services have stronger privacy options than others, and many are still susceptible to disclosure if they receive a legal subpoena from the jurisdiction where they’re located. Read our article on VPNs and web proxies for more details.

Future tracking options

What we do online has value to companies now because of what we may buy if we’re shown the relevant advertising. Down the line, we might be the ones negotiating the worth of our web habits.

Encrypt your own web behavior

The Meeco app for iOS recently launched with the ability to log your web visits — where you visited and for how long — and save the traffic into an encrypted cloud accessible only by you. Websites can only see what you click on while you’re on them, not what you do after and before, preventing the site from building a profile of you. The software also analyzes your usage patterns so you can glean insight into your habits — the same insight brands buy from data brokers now. Eventually, the idea is to create a data framework where users can offer such data to brands in exchange for loyalty points, discounts or other incentives.

Founder and CEO Katryna Dow says an aim is to help people understand that the value of their data is invaluable — and, at the moment, immeasurable.

A Meeco browser extension for Chrome and Firefox is available in beta; currently, users must manually add favorite sites to the dashboard, then click them in order to launch the site in the browser’s (natively available) private window.

The downside

Right now, the browser extension does not save the traffic to your Meeco encrypted account (as the iOS app does), but Dow says the company is looking at including the feature in future updates.

Where to draw the privacy line

Being tracked and advertised to by the websites we use is the trade-off for a free Internet. In fact, there are some really good reasons for why you may want to be tracked online,

But not drawing our own line at how much privacy we are willing to give up could mean some companies will cross that line when it comes to where they scrape information about us. Your likes, dislikes and identifying details taken from email, private messages or personal notes could then be linked (as Google already does) to information from other facets of your online life, and companies or the government may eventually make assumptions about who you are before offering you a service. Whether you find that convenient or creepy, it’s something everyone should have control over, not default into.

What do you think? Have you downloaded browser plug-ins to control your privacy, or do you believe that targeted advertising is what makes the Internet go?

This article was written by Natasha Stokes and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Web

25% of Women Say They’ve Been Sexually Harassed Online

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Peter Dazeley—Getty Images

Name calling and humiliation are pervasive, but stalking and sexual harassment disproportionately affect young women

Four out of 10 adults have experienced some form of online harassment, but some of the most alarming variants — stalking and sexual harassment — disproportionately affect upon young women, according to a Pew survey released Wednesday.

The survey breaks down online harassment into six categories, from name calling and humiliation to physical and sexual threats. The milder attacks crossed gender lines and occurred so pervasively that many respondents said they chose to ignore their attacker rather than engage or withdraw from the forum.

But beneath the white noise of insults, experiences varied dramatically depending on the respondents’ age and gender. Roughly one-quarter of women aged 18 to 24 said they have been stalked or sexually harassed online, making them visible stand-outs from an otherwise level field of insults.

PI_2014.10.22__online-harassment-02 2

The Pew survey also exposes deeper divides that can exact a greater emotional toll on Internet users. “Those who exclusively experience less severe forms of harassment report fewer emotional or personal impacts,” the study authors write, “while those with more severe harassment experiences often report more serious emotional tolls.” It lends empirical weight to the argument that there’s no comparing male and female harassment online.

 

TIME Web

Obama Signals Opposition to ‘Fast Lanes’ in Support of Net Neutrality

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks during an event at Cross Campus, on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Santa Monica, Calif. Evan Vucci—AP

"I think it is what has unleashed the power of the Internet and we don't want to lose that or clog up the pipes"

President Barack Obama reiterated his support for the principle known as net neutrality Thursday, signaling he would be opposed to the proposed Federal Communications plan to create a so-called Internet “fast-lanes.”

Speaking at a town hall at a technology co-working space in Santa Monica, Calif., Obama said a level playing field on the Internet was one of his earliest campaign promises. “On net neutrality, I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to net neutrality,” Obama said, earning a round of applause from the tech-minded crowd. “I think it is what has unleashed the power of the Internet and we don’t want to lose that or clog up the pipes.”

“I know that one of the things people are most concerned about is paid prioritization, the notion that somehow some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more exclusive access to customers through the Internet: that is something I’m opposed to,” Obama said. “I was opposed to it when I ran and I continue to be opposed to it now.”

The FCC proposal would require Internet service providers to maintain a baseline of service, but would allow some companies to pay for preferential service, creating a two-tiered Internet that essentially undermines the premise of net neutrality. The issue has stretched thin a 2008 campaign promise Obama made when he said, “I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality.”

Though Obama pledged that the issue would be front-and-center on his mind when nominating commissioners to the regulating agency, the current controversial proposal had the backing of three commissioners he appointed, including chairman Tom Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the telecom industry.

Thursday’s remarks were the President’s most detailed comment on the issue of net neutrality since the FCC proposal was announced earlier this year. Obama did not specifically weigh in on the proposal, but said he expected the final rule to be consistent with his campaign promise.

“Now the FCC is an independent agency,” Obama said. “They came out with some preliminary rules that I think the netroots and a lot of folks in favor of net neutrality were concerned with. My appointee, Tom Wheeler, knows my position. I can’t—now that he’s there, I can’t just call him up and tell him exactly what to do. But what I’ve been clear about, what the White House has been clear about, is that we expect that whatever final rules to emerge, to make sure that we’re not creating two or three or four tiers of Internet. That ends up being a big priority of mine.”

TIME Web

The Humble GIF Is Getting a Big Upgrade

The GIF is dead, long live the GIF!

The once-lowly GIF, which has risen to become the dominant format for visual communication on the Web, is getting an upgrade. The photo-sharing website Imgur is introducing a new short-clip format called GIFV that it says is both higher in quality and smaller in size than traditional GIFs.

“The culture is way bigger than any specific file format,” Imgur CEO Alan Schaaf said about GIFs in a press release. “With Project GIFV, we wanted to preserve the experience of the GIF while optimizing it for all the changes that have happened on the Internet since the format was first introduced in 1987.”

GIFs posted to Imgur will now be automatically converted to the MP4 format, which the company is branding as the “GIFV” file extension. The new videos will loop just like regular GIFs, but they’ll have a higher image quality while boasting a smaller file size. The change should help Imgur images load faster on mobile devices. It will also allow the company to raise the file size limit for GIF uploads from 5 MB to 50 MB (here’s a regular 5MB GIF compared to a 5o MB GIF converted to the new GIFV format).

Even web users that don’t frequent Imgur.com will benefit from the change. 1.5 million images are uploaded to Imgur each day, and many of them rapidly spread to blogs, social media platforms and news websites.

TIME Diversions

404 Forever: 10 of the Web’s Best Error Pages

When you've fat-fingered your way to a page that doesn't exist, the tried and true 404 is there to greet you. In no particular order, here are some of the funniest, most addictive and most creative around.

Sad Server

ACM

Man, this web server is a sad, sad sack. It goes on and on and on, at times blaming itself and at times blaming you for expecting too much of it. Buck up!

Link

404 Pac-Man

Blue Fountain Media

I shouldn’t be saying this, but this is the best 404 page on this list. You could click away to some other site now. It kills our time-on-site stats, but I’m just trying to shoot you straight. This error page lets you play Pac-Man inside a giant 404-shaped level. I found it to be more fun than the standard Pac-Man level, even.

Link

Underground Error

BlueDaniel

This one’s definitely elaborate and artsy. Wait for the subway car to show up, then click on one of the open doorways to climb aboard. Once inside, you’re treated to a sleeping passenger and a girl who likes to take photos of stuff. It feels like a scene in a ’90s-era full-motion adventure game.

Link

Screaming Goat

Bluegg

This goat is upset that it’s reached an error page. It shows its frustration by screaming like a human. Then the whole scene repeats itself. You’ll laugh at the scream more than once, assuming you find it funny the first time. Disclosure: I found it funny the first time.

Link

Lloyd Christmas Can’t Believe What He’s Seeing

Codeo

No! No, no, no, no, no!!!

Link

Bubble Pop

Hot Dot

This error page features a tiltable 404 made of luminescent, bubble-like circles. Click on a section of one of the numbers and watch a bunch of the circles go flying, only to repopulate moments later. You can get trapped here for a while if you’re not careful.

Link

Yes, Exactly

Kvartirakrasivo

Can’t read what this error page says? Who cares?! Something’s gone haywire, and the two stick figure construction dudes respond by dancing. With a page title like “Ooopps… 404″ and its jibbly-yup-yup (new term!) music, this is the most wonderfully weird error page on the list.

Link

Newman!

Nouveller

An homage to Jurassic Park‘s famous hacking scene, here’s Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight in real life — arguably most well-known as Newman on Seinfeld) scolding you for touching his keyboard. Hint: type “reboot system” three times to get things moving.

Link

This Could Go On For Days

Tripomatic

This travel site’s 404 page features a soothing, endlessly watchable sunrise-sunset-moonrise loop that delicately blends background hues together, bringing out the stars at night and blue skies during the day.

Link

Can I Leave Now?

visitsteve

Appropriately titled “The Most Awkward 404 Not Found Page on the Internet,” artist Steve Lambert’s error page features an excruciatingly long video of him explaining that you don’t have to hang around the error page if you don’t feel like it. Bonus points if you watch the whole thing. I did.

Link

Honorable Mentions

More Like Homestar Ruiner

Z - Homestar

Though not technically a 404 page, this Homestar Runner cartoon about the site crashing has aged well after all these years. The site does have an actual 404 page, which you can find here.

Link

“We’ve Got Motion!”

And last but certainly not least, the video embedded in this 404 page for Nosh.com’s site is no longer working (irony!), but the original (embedded above) that used to play there is truly outstanding.

Link

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