search engine

What is a search engine? It is program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords entered by a user, it is especially useful for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.

Using algorithms and bots, search engines index and locate desired information by searching for the keywords a user specifies. The ability to find this information depends on computer indices of Web resources (maintained in a database) that can be queried for these keywords. These indices are either built from specific lists (as is the case with a search directory) or created by Web programs with strange-sounding names that seem to be inspired by insects: bots, spiders, crawlers, and worms.

From a surfer's point-of-view, search engines can be quite tiresome and not very efficient if you don't know how to use them correctly. Different engines are good for different kinds of searches so it's a good idea to read the engine's advanced search section. In many cases, using Boolean logic will help narrow down the results.

Historical perspective: Google (now known as Alphabet) was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Stanford Ph.D. candidates who developed a technologically advanced method for finding information on the Internet. Its most famous product, Google, is a hybrid search engine that ranks the popularity of results that match your keyword search. It has an index of billions of Web pages. Google focuses primarily on delivering the best search experience on the Web, by providing a search site and by licensing its search technology to commercial sites. Ultimately, Web sites began freely using Google technology on their own sites, such as Google Maps.

Like many great Internet terms, Google has morphed into many usages, including:

  • "Did you Google him" - meaning did you run a search on a potential blind date, for example, to find out more about him;
  • "I got Goog'ed" - meaning someone ran a search on you to find out more about you;
  • "Have you Googled it" - meaning have you run a search on a product or item;
  • "Google it" - meaning run a search on it.

Google became so popular that a couple named their baby boy Oliver Google Kai on September 12, 2005 in Kalmar, Sweden. By 2013, Google accounted for 25 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in North America, more than Facebook, Netflix, and Instagram combined.

NetLingo Classification: Net Technology