Although the internet may appear to be a giant free-for-all of information and opinion that has everything and anything on it at any one time, it actually relies on certain pillars to keep it going.
Some of these include constant updates and monitoring for websites, others are about making sure that everything and everyone on a website adheres to the laws of where that website is based and their companies own rules for usage.
However, there is one pillar that everyone uses and without it, the internet would not be what it is today. That pillar is search engines.
Without Google, Bing, Ecosia, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and many more, we would have little ability to traverse the great internet expanse with ease.
Yet, what exactly is a search engine? Is it an actual engine? Or more conceptual.
In this article, we seek to answer this question and many more.
What Is A Search Engine?
In the simplest terms, a search engine is a software system that is designed to complete out searches across the web on your behalf.
They do this by using a textual web search query, which is written by the search engine user into the engine’s search bar.
The engine will then scour the entire internet looking for any websites that line up in relevance to the query.
These results will be presented to the user, most commonly as a vertical line that stretches downwards and could possibly continue for multiple pages.
The results can be a mix of things or a vast amount of one thing depending on what engine you use.
For example, Google will often give you a mix of web pages, videos, images, articles, infographics, and research papers as results, but its primary ones will be links to webpages.
There are few search engines that also collect data from databases and open directories, but these are few, far between, and also are run for specific purposes.
One thing that makes search engines work so well is the fact that they are not maintained by human editors, they only have human oversight instead.
This means that the search engine is maintained by an algorithm on a web crawler, which scours the internet for real time information and updates its searches accordingly.
As such, all the information that you look for on a search engine is the most up-to-date information that that search engine can find.
Now, despite the fact that search engines are great and useful, they can’t do everything within their domain.
There are parts of the internet that cannot be indexed or searched for by a search engine, and these areas are called the Deep Web.
These are websites or pages where all their information is hidden behind paywalls or login services. Sometimes these websites are harmless, but they have gained a reputation for pretty illicit behavior.
How Do I Access A Search Engine?
The easiest way to find a search engine is to open your web browser. So, click on it and wait for it to load. The home page of your browser will probably be a search engine of some kind.
For example, if you use Google Chrome, the first page that opens will be the Google search engine, likewise when you use Edge, Bing will be the search engine that opens up.
If you don’t have this on your browser, then not to worry.
Simply go to the URL text box at the top of the page – the one with the website address in it – delete the website address and type in a search engine name (Google, Ecosia, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.).
Then, click enter, and it should take you to that search engine’s page.
Do All Search Engines Give The Same Results?
No, no, they do not. Search engines are made by a company or teams of people and in order to create a search engine, you have to make a lot of new software.
The most important piece of the search engine puzzle is the algorithm.
An algorithm is basically a set of rules that are given to a computer. These rules must be followed by the computer when it is doing certain calculations or other problem-solving endeavors.
As long as the computer runs this task, it must follow these rules.
So, for a search engine that is active constantly, the computer must constantly follow the algorithm that it has been given when searching for different websites.
If the people making the algorithm were the same, every search engine would be the same.
However, no company will share their algorithms with anyone to keep their business going, so each new search engine needs a new algorithm created for it.
Since each algorithm is different, the set of results a search engine will give is going to be different.
For example, if I typed into a search engine: ‘What is a 1099 NEC?’, one search engine might see that I am asking about an American tax form and point me to information about all American taxes.
Another might see that I am asking about that specific form and give all the information on that form. It all depends on the algorithm.
What Is The Best Search Engine?
Most people would say: Google. It is certainly the most popular and the most global, but is it the best? Honestly, probably, but that is because it is so well-rounded.
It is quick, convenient, and mostly safe, so most people love it. Other honorary mentions for well-rounded searches include Bing and Yahoo.
If you are looking for privacy, then good options include DuckDuckGo and Brave, both of which pride themselves on being extremely private.
Ecosia is another one people like, for their eco-friendly nature and the fact they plant trees for however many searches’ people do.
If you are looking for a search engine, then play around with them. Try out a few and see which ones you like.
A search is a software system that makes it easier to traverse the web, by allowing you to type into them what you want and them delivering it to you.
There are many search engines out there, and they are all very easy to use, so give them a try.