Much of the early research into networking wa funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) funded as a way to share computation resources among ARPA researchers. Later, ARPA shifted its focus to internetworking and funded research on the Internet, which has been growing exponentially for decades.
With the advent of high-speed personal computers and higher-speed network technologies, the focus of the Internet changed from resource sharing to general-purpose communication. The type of data sent over the Internet shifted from text to graphics, video clips, and high-definition video. A similar transition occurred in audio, enabling the Internet to transfer multimedia documents.
Internet technologies impact society in many ways. Recent changes include the
transition of voice telephones, cable television, and cellular services to digital Internet
technologies. In addition, wireless Internet access and support for mobile users has become essential.
Although the underlying Internet technology has remained virtually unchanged,
new applications continue to emerge that provide enhanced experiences for Internet
users. Sensor networks, maps, and navigation systems enable environmental monitor-ing, security, and easier travel. Social networking applications encourage new social groups and organizations.
The advent of cloud computing represents another major change. Instead of storing data and running applications on a local computer, the cloud model allows individuals and companies to store data and run applications in a data center. Cloud providers offer elastic computation and storage services, which means customers only pay for the computation and storage they use.
Sources: Comer, Douglas E. Computer Networks and Internets (6th Edition)