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Internet Search Engines

Internet Search Engines

Have a question that's been bugging you, and you need to know the answer? Google it! Want to find out how your favorite tv show ends? Google it! Need some information for your essay? Google it!

How many times have you heard the phrase 'Google it'?

With the world at our fingertips, finding information is easier and more efficient than ever. Thanks to internet search engines like Google, we have instant access to lots of free and useful content.

So, what actually is an internet search engine, and how can it be used to help you with your English Language research? Let's begin by taking a look at a definition:

Internet Search Engines Definition

An internet search engine is a software program used to carry out web searches on the internet. Users can type in a query, and the search engine efficiently and methodologically searches the web for information. This generates a line of results, which could range from web pages, articles, research papers, images, videos, etc.

Internet search engines Image of results page StudySmarterFig. 1 - A line of search results is known as a results page.

Internet Search Engines History

Take a look at the timeline below to find out more about the history of internet search engines:

September 2nd, 1993 - The world's first internet search engine, W3Catalog, is launched, which relies on lists of existing websites. Its main problem is performance deterioration, caused by a bot accessing each web page hundreds of times daily.

A bot (short for 'robot') is computer software used to carry out tasks on the internet.

December 12th, 1993 - JumpStation is released. Unlike W3Catalog, it is the first to combine the three crucial elements of an internet search engine: crawling, indexing, and searching.

Crawling is a process in which bots are used by search engines to discover new and/or updated content on the internet.

Indexing is the process in which search engines find, organize and store data to allow for quick responses to searches.

Searching refers to the process of looking for information.

April 20th, 1994 - The WebCrawler is released. It sets the standard for future search engines by allowing users to search for any word on any webpage.

March 2nd, 1995- Yahoo! Search is launched. It is the first popular internet search engine used by the general public.

September 15th, 1997 - Google Search is launched. It is currently the most popular internet search engine, with billions of searches every day!

Internet Search Engines Examples

Below are the top three most popular internet search engines in the world:

1. Google

The most well-known and commonly used search engine is Google, which was first launched in 1997 by its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It has over 92% of shares in the global search engine market. The higher percentage of shares a company has, the bigger and more influential the company is. This shows that Google is more successful than other search engines!

A market share refers to the percentage of a market that is controlled by a certain company.

Internet search engines Image of google webpage StudySmarterFig. 2 - Did you know Google is the most visited website in the world?

You may be wondering what makes Google so popular...

One reason is that Google has carried out lots more searches than other search engines. This then provides Google with more data, which gives the user more accurate and higher quality results.

2. Bing

The second most popular internet search engine is Bing. It was launched in 2009 by the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer. It has a global market share of around 8%. A market share refers to the percentage of a market or industry that is earned by a certain company.

3. Baidu

The third most popular internet search engine is Baidu. It was founded by entrepreneurs Robin Li and Eric Xu in 2000. It has over 7% of global market shares. Although it is accessible worldwide, it is only available in the Chinese language.

Internet Search Engines List

Here is a list of more internet search engines. How many of these have you heard of?

  • Yahoo!
  • Yandex (Russia's most popular search engine)
  • Ask.com
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Naver (South Korea's most popular internet search engine)
  • AOL.com
  • Internet Archive

Other Internet Search Engines

A few other internet search engines include:

YouTube - YouTube is not simply a social media site; it is also considered a search engine as it allows users to search for videos. Despite being a platform of only videos, it is the second most visited website in the world (just behind Google) and has over 2 billion monthly users.

Ecosia (known as the 'tree-planting' search engine) - this is a more environmentally-friendly search engine! It uses money from advertising to plant trees worldwide, which benefits people, the environment, and local economies.

StartPage - founded in 2006 in the Netherlands. It is considered one of the world's most private search engines, as it does not keep a record of users' searches or store personal information.

How to Use Internet Search Engines

Search engines can be used if you need to conduct research for your English language studies. You may want to double-check your own knowledge or search for new information. For example, if you are writing an argumentative essay about a topic, you could use a search engine to find more information that backs up your claims and opinions. Or, you could find new views to argue for or against!

Here are a few tips that may help you during research:

1. Use quotation marks to search for a specific term/phrase.

Typing persuasive essay into Google without quotation marks generates almost 50 million results. However, typing "persuasive essay" narrows it down to around 3.7 million results, as all of those results contain that exact phrase.

2. If you want to find similar terms/phrases - such as alternate spellings or different forms of a word/phrase - use asterisks (*).

Typing *semantics* into Google with asterisks broadens the search results and brings up similar terms - such as lexical semantics, semantic field, semantic theories, dynamic semantics, etc.

3. Want to find something from a particular date or time? Filter your searches or use advanced tools. This may seem obvious, but on most internet search engines, you can select a certain date and/or time to get more specific search results.

If you want to find information from 2015, you could set the date from January 1st, 2015 - December 31st, 2015. This way, only results from 2015 will show up.

4. Struggling to find academic sources? Try searching on Google Scholar instead of the primary browser. Google Scholar is often more helpful for students as there is a focus on academic resources, such as peer-reviewed journals and articles.

A few alternatives to Google Scholar include Microsoft Academic, ResearchGate, and Scinapse.

5. Although Google is the most popular search engine, why not give others a go? Different search engines produce different results, so you may find it helpful to use a range of search engines to find what you are looking for!

Don't believe everything you read on the internet

You should also be aware that, although internet search engines can be useful, they have downsides. One of the main issues is the reliability of the information. It is becoming increasingly easier to spread false information on the internet, so you should not believe everything you read!

When checking websites during research, be aware of the following:

  • Bias - some websites may be biased toward a certain view/concept as they want the reader to agree with them. For example, many political websites are biased towards a particular political party. This may lead to less reliable research as it may provide a distorted view of the information. Try and find multiple reputable sources to back up a theory.
  • Spelling and grammar - If a site does not have consistently good spelling and grammar, it may be less trustworthy than other sites. Reliable sites tend to be more professional.
  • Date - if a website is too old, it may no longer have accurate information. This means the information will probably be unreliable or simply no longer true! Things are always changing, so it is important to stay up to date.

Internet Search Engines - Key Takeaways

  • An internet search engine is a software program used to carry out web searches on the internet.
  • The world's first internet search engine, W3Catalog, was launched in 1993.
  • The three crucial elements of an internet search engine are crawling, indexing, and searching.
  • The most popular internet search engine is Google.
  • Search engines help us to find useful information, but be aware that not everything on the internet is reliable.

Frequently Asked Questions about Internet Search Engines

The top 5 search engines are Google, Bing, Baidu,

Yahoo! and Ask.com.

The world's first search engine was launched on September 2nd, 1993. It was called W3Catalog.

The three main types of search engines are:

  1. web crawlers
  2. directories
  3. sponsored links

The largest search engine is Google.

The first internet search engine was W3Catalog.

Final Internet Search Engines Quiz

Question

What is the most common internet search engine?

Show answer

Answer

Google

Show question

Question

What was the name of the world's first search engine?

Show answer

Answer

W3Catalog

Show question

Question

What is an internet search engine?

Show answer

Answer

A software program used to carry out web searches on the internet. 

Show question

Question

If you want to search for a specific term online, what type of punctuation can you use?

Show answer

Answer

Quotation marks

Show question

Question

If you want to search for similar terms/phrases online, what type of punctuation can you use?

Show answer

Answer

Asterisks

Show question

Question

If you want to find something online from a particular date or time, what can you do?

Show answer

Answer

Filter your searches or use advanced tools

Show question

Question

What can you do if you are on Google and cannot find good academic sources?

Show answer

Answer

Try Google Scholar

Show question

Question

True or false?


Biased information can lead to less reliable research.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

True or false?


If a website has bad spelling and grammar, it is trustworthy.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

True or false?


If a website is old, it may no longer have up to date information.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Which internet search engine is known as the 'tree-planting' search engine?

Show answer

Answer

Ecosia

Show question

Question

Which search engine from the Netherlands is considered to be one of the world's most private search engines?

Show answer

Answer

StartPage

Show question

Question

True or false?


YouTube is not considered a search engine.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

What year was Google launched?

Show answer

Answer

1997

Show question

Question

Fill in the blanks:


Google has carried out lots more searches than other search engines. This then provides Google with more ____, which gives the user more accurate and ______ quality results.

Show answer

Answer

data, higher

Show question

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