What Is a Search Engine?

The phenomenal rise of the internet was possible through the creation of and advancement of search engine technology. During the tech bubble, the number of online websites exploded, presenting a new problem. There needed to be an easier way for internet users to find the sites and content they were searching for. The solution was to create a way to search the internet. The inventor of the first search engine was a man named Alan Emtage, who in 1989 called his search engine ARCHIE. Before search engines arrived, you had to already know its complete web address or domain name to access a website.

How does a Search Engine Work?

Search engines are the primary way that websites receive traffic in the modern form of the internet. They funnel users to the websites that match with their search terms the closest. Search engines are programs that use algorithms to search the world wide web at incredible speeds to bring the user the searched for information. The information searched for is then presented on search engine results pages (SERPs). Nowadays, search engines place paid advertisements at the top of the list with the relevant organic results clearly displayed just below the ads. Users enter keywords and phrases in order to find the content they need. Search engines aim to provide us with the information that best matches the search terms.

The syntax of your search phrase can result in unexpected results or being unable to find the information you are looking for. Due to the search engine not knowing what the information you want is, it relies on the way you phrase the request to find your information. There are usually enough results for your chosen query that the information you are after is in there somewhere. If not, simply change the search terms until you find what you are after. Search engine algorithms search an image of the world wide web, not the entire internet, as that would take many days to see results. The image that search engines search is called the search engine index, and also they can trawl it in fractions of a second.

history of search engines

History Of Search Engines

Back in the 1990s, the primary way to navigate to any website was by knowing its domain name and typing in the full address. Today, navigating the internet in that manner is unimaginable. Over 95% of all web entrances occur via a search engine of some description. Most internet users still use search engines today even when they know the web address they wish to access. Internet users have become used to the ease of searching for and finding anything they want using search engines.

Indexing through the internet relying only upon human memory is too much more complex work than simply typing a query into a search engine. After the first search engine appeared, there was a boom in the industry as both the internet and online businesses became more widespread. Today, we can use search engine technology within other services too. For example, searching for videos of YouTube, Finding profiles, and other content on Facebook or Instagram. Even searching the message history on your mobile device or e-mails, use search engine technology to accomplish the tasks.

Popular Search Engines

Depending on where in the world you are reading this from, you may be unaware there are search engines other than Google. However, there are a few other notable search engines competing with the well-known search giant. Some of the most popular search engines include;

  • Google. As previously stated, Google has the largest market share of the industry for search engines. It has a recognizable logo and is the go-to search engine for billions of internet users each day.
  • Baidu. China’s alternative to Google. With state support, Baidu has the largest search engine market share within China.
  • Bing. Bing is Microsoft’s current entry into the search engine marketplace. It has grown to be the closest thing to a direct competitor to Google.
  • Yahoo. Yahoo is one of the longest-running search engines. In the 2000’s it lost a lot of its market share to Google. However, the Yahoo portal currently still ranks as the 11th most visited website.
  • Yandex. Yandex is similar to Baidu in that it has strong state support, except the state is Russia, not China. It has the largest search engine market share within Russia. Also, ranking just inside the top thirty most visited websites.

There are also some smaller and less well-known search engines such as; DuckDuckGo, Ask Jeeves, WolframAlpha, Boardreader, and many others. The reasons you may want to use alternatives include greater privacy as some don’t track your searches, or you may just not want to support the more prominent companies.

future of search engines

The Future of Search Engines

The development of artificial intelligence is helping to advance the technologies behind search engines. All search engines are trying to teach their algorithms more about language and local dialect in order to search with greater efficiency. A search engine analyzes even voice searches for accuracy and learns how to improve the accuracy of searches. Google is also training its bots to recognize images on graphics, photographs, and other types of media.

The future of search engine technology is full of possibilities, and exciting developments are sure to be discovered. These technologies will continue to have a considerable impact and won’t slow down for a long time yet. In the future, you will be able to get search results with ever-increasing accuracy, with the potential of the search engine even learning what individuals mean when they type in queries differently. It could also lead to the search engines knowing what you meant to search for even if you mistyped it or the syntax didn’t make sense.

Types of Search Engines

Now, there are a few different types of search engines available. They split between search engines with their own index and proxy search engines. Proxy search engines rely on external indexes to provide users with search results. Search engines using a self-crawled index include; Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yandex, and Baidu. Some examples of proxy-based search engines include; Yahoo, AOL Search, Lycos, Ecosia, and T-online search. In addition to these two types of search engines, there are also search engines limited to special use cases, as mentioned earlier. These special use search engines include; YouTube’s video search, Google’s Image Search, Google’s Video Search, Amazon‘s product search, and Facebook’s friend search function.

A Search Engine, in Short

In conclusion, we have discussed the functions that search engines fulfill, how they work, their origins, and what they could look like in the future. Search engines are innovative programs designed to allow users to search the internet to find whatever desired information they need. They also have many uses outside of allowing users to find information.

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We use search engines frequently across both social media and entertainment platforms to make all aspects of the experiences more user-friendly. Imagine every time you want to watch something on Netflix, scrolling through a long list of available programs instead of simply searching for what you want to watch. Another example is trying to find a song you want to listen to on Spotify without using the search function. You can complete these tasks in seconds with search engines but would otherwise take too much time to make the task worth doing. Hopefully, you have enjoyed learning about search engines. Thank you for reading this article.

Frequently Asked Questions About

Search engines create their own indexes to search from using bot programs known as crawlers. These crawlers then surf the internet and scan websites, recording the results in a cache which they then store and catalog. Google calls its crawlers Googlebots.

Search engines don’t have the space to save all the information on every website hosted online. So they only save the page title and the meta description associated with it. The meta description is limited to 156 characters and briefly describes the site content. The description can either be manually added or automatically written by the crawlers.

There are a few reasons that your desired information hasn’t appeared on the search engine results pages. Firstly, there may be a syntax error in how you worded the query. Try rephrasing the search terms to fix this. Another option is that the information you are searching for is difficult to find or potentially not even on the internet yet.

Search engines, as discussed, have many uses across multiple platforms and programs. For example search the world wide web, finding information, searching YouTube for videos, and even searching for an old e-mail. Search engines are everywhere and make our lives so much easier.

Not usually. Unless you happen to be spending a lot of time within Russia or China, then it is simply down to personal preference. If, however, you are spending some time in China or Russia, then it is advisable to be using their search engines while you are there.

Margrit Aksu

Posts: 178

Margrit Aksu, a graduate of English Literature, is passionate about the English language. As she dived deeper into this language, writing, creating and editing articles became her passion. That's why she has been working as an SEO Content Editor at Dopinger digital marketing agency since 2021. Bes... Read More

1 Comments on What Is a Search Engine?

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  1. Jaya Rich
    Jaya Rich

    Search engines are a great tool to help you find the information you need quickly and easily. However, it’s important to understand how they work in order to get the most out of them. With a better understanding of search engines, you can optimize your searches and get the best results.