Using cookies may be the simplest and fastest way of storing site preferences and other data that might be sent back on the server for data analysis. If there is one single factor that has determined the humongous increase of many websites, simply because of the cookies that they can use.
Cookies are very small bits of code that collect data from the browser and stores it for future use or sends the info back for the server. You might have realized that when you go into the first letter or your user name to sign in to Facebook or Gmail, it provides you an option that has to be the ID that you will have used during the past. This is achieved using a cookie that stores data on your local machine. Thus you don't need to take the trouble of entering your user name once again.
Cookies are used for one main purpose - collect and store data.
Tracking the user's activity and saving the user's preferences is simply an implementation of employing the cookies who have stored data. Although cookies breach privacy, they generate your life easier by causing the web more customized.
The future of cookie will be the super cookie that stores data forever, unlike the cookies which are used currently that expire after a time period.
Image Credit: Mindmatrix - Wikipedia
Cookies are used to store data and based on a certain logic or when a condition is met. The data saved in the cookie is utilized either from the browser or it's sent to the server in the website that you simply visited. A ultimate example to understand this functionality with the cookie is shopping carts.
When you visit a web-based store, you have a shopping cart solution that will list the items that you just bought. If your browser crashes, without cookies, you will need to go through the entire procedure for adding circumstances to your cart. Worse enough, you do not remember everything which you bought. Cookies solve this scenario by storing data of all items that you just bought so that you don't have to worry about losing your data.
In fact, the 1st time ever a cookie was used, it was utilized as a solution for a problem encountered while developing a web-based E-Commerce website. The invention from the computer cookie is credited to Lon Montulli when he was doing work for Netscape Communications.
Now that you just have very good understanding of how cookies work, allow us to move on the next functionality of cookies - saving user preferences.
I will illustrate this feature using a good example. Even if you are a fresh to using internet, you'd probably have heard concerning the website called YouTube.com. The first time you visit YouTube.com you will see the thumbnails for any few videos. After you watch a number of videos and again visit enter the URL as YouTube.com, so as to there will be a few links to the videos that may be of your taste.
What YouTube does is, it keeps track of the videos which you watch. This details with the videos that you simply watch is sent to the server through cookies stored in your computer. When you visit YouTube's webpage, YouTube performs an analysis from the cookies and displays you links for the videos that you might become to watch.
You can try something similar on the internet.com, bing.com, etc by changing the default language. When you visit those websites again, you will note that the web pages are displayed in the language that you simply selected to become your default choice.
Another great example iGoogle. It is probably the example that you simply can find on the net. Play with them and you will understand how cookies work. Apart from saving data, customization is the next great functionality which is why the cookies are widely-used.
Image Credit: Mindmatrix - Wikipedia
Since cookies can simply collect data about their activities and also other required data, to remain adopted by nearly all website to study the user's activities and employ it to their advantage. Websites like Google, collect the list of words that you just search for and display advertisements in accordance with your searches by analyzing your research activity. This is permitted by cookies who have stored your entire searches.