Ajax allows content on Web pages to update immediately when a user performs an action, unlike an HTTP request, during which users must wait for a whole new page to load. For example, a weather forecasting site could display local conditions on one side of the page without delay after a user types in a zip code.
Google Maps is one well-known application that uses Ajax. The interface allows the user to change views and manipulate the map in real time. Ajax applications do not require installation of a plug-in, but work directly with a Web browser. Because of the technique’s reliance on XMLHttpRequest, early applications worked only with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, but most other browsers now support Ajax.