Browse Definitions :
Definition

search engine

Contributor(s): Billy Watts

On the Internet, a search engine is a coordinated set of programs that includes:

  • A spider (also called a "crawler" or a "bot") that explores the Internet by following hyperlinks, starting with a core group of "seed" URLs covering major hubs.
  • A program that creates a huge index (or database) from the pages that have been read
  • A program that receives your search request, compares it to the entries in the index, and returns results to you

Google is the most widely used search engine in the world capturing about 92% of search users worldwide. Yahoo and Bing come in second at just over 2% each. DuckDuckGo has gained some popularity due to their focus on protecting user's private search data. Other popular search engines in the world are Baidu (China), Yandex (Russia), and Naver (South Korea).

Different Search Engine Approaches

  • Major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo index the content of a large portion of the Web and allow users to query their index to find relevant pages.
  • Specialized content search engines may be more selective about what part of the Web is crawled and indexed.
  • Country specific search engines may prioritize in-language websites over English websites.
  • Individual Web sites, especially larger corporate sites, may use a search engine to index and retrieve the content of just their own site. Some of the major search engine companies license or sell their search engines for use on individual sites.

Where to Search

Google is the search engine of choice for most people in the world. The quality of their results tends to outshine their competitors. Search results are integrated with their other databases: Maps, News, Images, Gmail, and Videos (Google owns YouTube). Google has shifted over the years to providing results based strictly on popularity (links) to more of a focus on the user intent of queries.

Some users may prefer to use Bing or Yahoo for their other integrated offerings. Some users may prefer a site that prioritizes data privacy like DuckDuckGo.

How to Search

For tips on entering your search argument, see each search engine. Google has a helpful page on how to search.

This was last updated in October 2018

Continue Reading About search engine

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • brute force attack

    Brute force (also known as brute force cracking) is a trial and error method used by application programs to decode encrypted ...

  • spyware

    Spyware is software that is installed on a computing device without the user's knowledge. Spyware can be difficult to detect; ...

  • ATM black box attack

    An ATM black box attack, also referred to as jackpotting, is a type of banking-system crime in which the perpetrators bore holes ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • warm site

    A warm site is a type of facility an organization uses to recover its technology infrastructure when its primary data center goes...

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

SearchStorage

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

  • optical storage

    Optical storage is any storage type in which data is written and read with a laser. Typically, data is written to optical media, ...

Close