Search Engines

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The Internet has become a vital part of our daily lives. For many people, Google is nearly synonymous with the Web, and it’s easy to see why. Google has a clean, clear design and seems supernaturally able to find what you’re looking for. However, while Google is a great search engine, it’s not the only one. Sometimes, a different search engine is better for your needs.

All search engines automatically browse the Web and create an index of the text. When you search, the engine checks the index for pages with the text of your search. Part of Google’s strength is that it indexes more pages, but this “data harvesting” is the easy part. The real key is sorting the thousands of results. Google’s algorithms are clever enough to make good guesses about which pages you actually want, and which ones have just the right words. They also have millions of previous searches and know which results were most popular.

Because of its strength, many of Google’s competitors have fallen by the wayside – but not all of them. Yahoo! is still operating, and Microsoft recently entered the search engine market with Bing. Microsoft claims that Bing is better at finding the results you actually want, even suggesting sites that aren’t exact matches. You may find that Bing delivers results similar to Google, so the most interesting search yield may be Bing Vs. Google (www.bing-vs-google.com). This site presents results from both Bing and Google in a split screen. You can decide for yourself which one is best.

Another good approach for searching the Web is to use the search function of an individual site. Google and Bing searches often take you to Amazon or Wikipedia, but you can search those sites by themselves. The Mozilla Firefox browser can even add site searches to the search bar, so you don’t need to load the site first. Searching for a topic within a specific site, rather than the entire Web, will narrow your search and target the results to exactly what you need.