said by kpossible:
Okay, I get some of that. So why is it used at all if you don't know who is not responding and who is? Sorry for the oversimplification!
It's more like... if you get a reply you know there's connectivity. That's about ALL you know. If no reply, connectivity is still unknown.
I must admit I usually type yahoo.com because it's easy.
Response varies with the server you get, though. You'll see the IP and times change together.
Ping tells a lot of basic stuff. If it can't find the name, DNS isn't working (so use an IP instead). Ping still remains a good starting point to diagnose a network.