As you may have figured out by now, the Internet is rather vast. This network of networks covers the globe, and the World Wide Web it hosts is full to the brim with content.
And yet even with this huge playground to explore at leisure we tend to stick to the same corners of the Web, visiting the small number of domains we have seen fit to bookmark.
It doesn’t have to be this way. By taking advantage of just a few of the many ways we can randomize the Internet, it’s possible to open up new pathways and find interesting content.
If you’re anything like me you spend most days visiting the same selection of websites. These are your favorites, your bookmarks, your go-to resources for everything in which you’re personally interested. While there is nothing wrong with this practice, it does mean you, like me, are missing out on a vast number of websites that are patiently waiting to be discovered.
Random Website is the answer. The simple yet decidedly effective solution. You simply click on the Random Link button the homepage and you’re instantly escorted to another corner of the Interwebs. It may be a dark and dingy corner, a light and airy corner, or a corner you immediately want to escape from. It doesn’t matter. You’ve discovered something new online.
For more random fun check out The Useless Web.
Wikipedia is a vast resource for everyone who likes to learn. Which is hopefully the majority of you reading this. There are more than 33 million pages on Wikipedia, far more than anyone could read in their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Wikipedia to expand your horizons by reading up on a subject you’re not particularly interested in.
Wikipedia has its own Random Page generator. That link will work, and if you forget to bookmark this article it’s helpfully located in the left-hand sidebar of Wikipedia itself. Easier still is clicking [alt-shift-x] while browsing Wikipedia. Et voila, a random page will load, allowing you to learn all about some dumb mollusc or an obscure B-list movie actress.
For more encyclopedic entertainment read about unsolved mysteries on Wikipedia.
Random Street View
Google Street View is an amazing tool for exploring the world around us. The problem is most of us do a few very specific searches — our current home, our family home, a favorite holiday destination — and then run out of ideas. This a real shame, as Google Street View offers an abundance of riches. It is, as with everything else online, all about knowing where to look.
MapCrunch knows exactly where to look, or rather it doesn’t, which is the point. You click Go and are immediately transported to a random location available on Google Street View. There is even a MapCrunch game which entails imagining you’ve been physically dumped in the random location and having to find your way home via the nearest airport. Random. Rousing. Ridiculous.
For more Street View vistas why not embark on some virtual globetrotting.
We all know YouTube is an insanely popular website. However, most people appear to only visit YouTube when they’re following a link shared online. This rather limits their exposure to really random video clips, because if the link didn’t interest them they wouldn’t click it in the first place. Thankfully, there is a way of filling the void left in your life by the lack of random video clips.
Random YouTube does exactly what you would expect it to do. Which is allow you to view YouTube videos selected entirely at random. At least randomly from the 300,000+ videos collected so far. And let’s face it, with most YouTube videos lasting for at least a few minutes you’d spend a good couple of years working your way through them all. Please don’t. That would be madness.
For more YouTube nonsense why not watch some bizarre Japanese pop videos.
Reddit always appears to be teetering on the edge of mainstream acceptance. Most people will have heard the name, but Reddit isn’t likely to be the first website your parents visit every morning. This is kind of a shame, but then Reddit wouldn’t be such a fascinating place full of eclectic, esoteric, and downright odd discussions if that were the case. Navigating around Reddit isn’t easy, so why not stop stressing and randomize the experience instead?
Like Wikipedia, Reddit has a dedicated Random button located on its homepage. Once pressed this will whisk you off to some obscure subreddit or another. Due to the offensive nature of some subreddits, randomizing Reddit is by far the most risky activity extolled in this article. However, assuming you’re an adult and not easily offended it’s also bags of fun. And who knows, perhaps you’ll find a community made just for you.
For more Reddit shenanigans check out these meta subreddits all about Reddit.
How Else Can We Randomize The Internet?
These are just five ways to randomize the Internet, but we know there must be more. Help us help the MakeUseOf readership discover places to play by sharing other ways of randomizing the Internet in the comments section below.
We would also appreciate you telling us if you found any of these ways to randomize the Internet useful. Did you discover a new website, Wikipedia entry, location on a map, YouTube video, or area of Reddit that you’re keen to visit again?
Image Credit: Michelle Tribe via Flickr