There are 1.5 billion websites on the World Wide Web, 200 million of which are active.
And yet, you still visit the same websites every other five minutes, just because.
That’s okay. I do, too. But after opening the same website for the tenth time, only because I didn’t know what else to type into the search bar, I decided enough was enough and searched for more (or in most cases, less) productive ways to procrastinate.
1. Visit the first website ever made
If you’re curious to see how far we’ve come, there’s no other place you should start. Thank you, Tim Berners Lee. Take a look.
2. See the location of every single aeroplane in the air right now
This website tracks all current airborne flights. It lets you track departures and arrival times, too — so you can stalk your mates as they whizz through the sky! Check it out.
3. Or find out the exact location of London’s tube trains at any given time
Matthew Somerville, a web developer from Manchester who now lives in Pimlico, created the map so that people could easily visualise the data from TfL’s API: tracking the entire network of trains’ exact whereabouts in any moment. It serves no real purpose, it’s just a fun little tool that’s quite mesmerising to watch in action. Check it out or read more about it here.
4. Have a play on the original Space Jam site
Space Jam 2 comes out in 2021 starring Lebron James, Don Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green. But did you know that the original Space Jam website is still online and functioning? Take a trip back to 1996 and relive the original.
5. Get lost in an infinite zoom
But just a warning: you might be there for hours. It’s pretty mesmerising. Check it out.
6. Discover your new favourite bands and/or artists
Music streaming platforms use an algorithm to determine music you might like based on what you already listen to. But what if there was a visual representation of said algorithm? Well, look no further, because Music Map is exactly that. And if you just keep on clicking, who knows which artist you’ll end up discovering…
7. Learn all about physics, retro style
You might be thinking that you can learn just about anything on Youtube these days, and that’s totally true. But, I’m a sucker for concept maps because their design just makes it that much easier to remember how and why things are connected. That’s where HyperPhysics comes in.
8. Connect to the wifi at any airport around the world, even if it doesn’t technically have free wifi
This one’s not so useful if you’re currently self-isolating, but it’s a good one to have up your sleeve for when you next take a flight.
Not all airports provide travellers with free wifi. But most airports do have private lounges with wifi for guests, which means that all you need is the password. This map of the world’s airports is titled Wireless Passwords From Airports And Lounges Around The World. Thanks to global travellers, all you need to do is click on the plane icon at your desired location and voila, you have the password.
9. Discover a random new place somewhere around the world
Popularised back when Tumblr was all the rage, MapCrunch is a website that will randomly drop you in a worldwide location using Google’s Street View. In itself, MapCrunch is not a game. However, like most things, people found a way to turn it into one. So, what’s the aim of this one? Make it to an airport. Today, I was dropped somewhere in Portugal and twenty clicks later I have still not made it to a main road, let alone an airport. But there are plenty of hours in a day…
10. Have hours of fun with your cursor
This website is legendary, to be honest. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll give literally nothing away, but go on, give it a try.
11. Learn all sorts of fascinating things about the world
I Have No TV has to be my favourite site to watch documentaries (that I have so far discovered). Why? No pseudo-science and no conspiracy theories. It’s also a community-managed collection with wide-ranging topics and videos of varying length. They’ve even got a Chrome extension that will suggest a new documentary to watch every time you open up a new tab! Now, that’s what I call encouraging me to procrastinate.
12. Say ‘no’ to spam mail
The idea is simple. You need to sign up to a website in order to access their content but for one reason or another, you don’t want to use your real email. But thanks to 10 Minute Mail, you get a randomly assigned email address with which you can sign up to websites, receive the confirmation email and activate.
13. Listen to radio broadcasts from decades past
So you don’t listen to the radio much these days. That’s fine. However, thanks to a community of Radiooooo users you can now travel sonically in time and listen to what was played around the world during different decades.
14. Check out the weather all over the world, in real-time
Windy is a real-time weather map, and it’s a thing of beauty. My favourite setting is Waves but you can choose from a number of other elements, including air quality, cloud cover, rain and thunder.
15. Play a more sophisticated version of Higher or Lower
Which has more Google searches? That’s pretty much it. And though it can get a bit boring when you’re playing on your own, it can get pretty heated when playing with a bunch of opinionated friends all thinking they’re correct. You could even turn it into a drinking game, just saying…
16. Follow an online fantasy series about a duck named Slütsof navigating the mystical lands of Stâgram
Yep, this one is definitely going into the weird category. And to make it even weirder, have a read of this cease and desist letter from Instagram.
17. Meet the horse with the never-ending legs
I truly have no words for this one. A horse with endless legs! What a time to be alive.
18. Play Pictionary with Google
Test your drawing skills and see if Google can guess what you’re drawing in less than 20 seconds. Endless fun! Have a go.
19. Access tons of free media
I didn’t know where to begin, but somehow I ended up playing a Sega baseball game from 1993, watching an anti-marijuana documentary from 1969, and flicking through a 1900-edition of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz from the California Digital Library. Check out the Internet Archive here.
20. And finally, make cats… bounce?
In another total normal corner of the internet, you have the power to make kitties bounce across your computer screen. And don’t miss the “make it rain” button — it’s a winner. Check out Cat Bounce here.