short for: robot, a.k.a. autobot -or- infobott -or- knowbott -or- mailbott -or- shopping bott -or- softbot
A bot is a program that runs on a computer 24/7, automating mundane tasks for the owner, even if the owner is not logged in. Bots are used on the Internet in a variety of ways, most popularly in IRCs (Internet Relay Chat) and in search engines.
IRC bots are programs that connect to an IRC network and interact with IRC in very much the same way a normal user does (in fact, IRC servers treat bots as regular users). Most IRC bots are used for channel control. Also known as "automatons," bots are disliked by IRC operators and long-time IRC users because of the system resources they consume.
Search engine bots, also called spiders and crawlers, explore the World Wide Web. For example, they retrieve Web pages and follow all of the hyperlinks within each. Once they have that information, they generate catalogs that can be accessed by search engines. Popular search sites, such as AltaVista, Google, and Lycos use this kind of automated method. Webmasters are encouraged to understand the peculiarities of each search engine's bot so that they can design pages for retrieval by specific keywords.
"Shopping bots," accessible through a Web site's proprietary technology, search the Web for the cheapest prices for products (such as clothing).
NetLingo Classification: Net Technology
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