The top five search engines are:
1. Google Search
2. Bing! Search
3. Yahoo! Search
4. Baidu! Search
5. Ask.com Search
To understand and appreciate why the search engines have gained popularity, let us know the basic working of Internet search engines.
There’s loads of information available on the World Wide Web, but how do we get the exact info we require? The answer to this Internet search engines. These are special web siteswhich are designed in such a way that they help people find information stored in other sites. The way each one works is different but they perform three basic tasks namely searching the web for select key words, build an index of the words they find and their location and facilitate users to look for those key words or their combinations. The software robot called spiders does the work of building the lists of words and the process is known as crawling. Next happens the indexing. The search engine stores the keyword and the URL where it has been found. These words are assigned rankings depending upon where they appear in the page, in title or sub titles or the body text. Each search engine has different formulas to calculate or assign these rankings to the words which cause variations in search results when searched for the same keyword in different search engines. Now when the user submits a query the engine searches through the index and based on the weight and relevance of the word the results are displayed with the most useful ones at the top of the list of search results. How efficient these processes happen earns popularity of the search engine. Google search has gained repute as the top choice for those searching the web. The crawler–based service provides both comprehensive and relevant coverage of the web.
Google uses multiple spiders, three at a time. Each spider connects to as many as several hundreds of Web pages at a single instance crawling over 100 pages per second, generating hundreds of kilobytes of data per second. Another important feature of the Google search is the PageRank which finds how many times other sites link to a particular page. Hence sites which are more popular gain higher ranks and appear in the top list of query results.
Google search, through its ranking algorithms, gives weight to the user preferences. Based on their searches, it returns the most sensible result to the query depending upon what the person actually looks for. Their constant fine tuning of the search engine has gained popularity all over the world bridging the gap between what the users are looking for and what is listed as search results. As new pages constantly get added to the net, Google while changing formulas to get those pages included in the search results, takes care of the quality by verifying whether the topic is hot and current. Else they retain the old pages which can be linked by other sites easily. While displaying the results, the comprehensive text which appears below the link called snippets gives users hints about a certain site’s content. The users are briefed about site’s content even before they look into it. Attractive features like excellent spell check, easy access to dictionaries, street maps, telephone numbers and the user friendly Google Toolbar for easy access to Google and its features directly from the Internet Explorer browser have made it the user’s first choice.
Closely following Google is the Yahoo search engine which has become a web crawler based search engine since 2003. Earlier it was dependent on other search engines for its results. Yahoo’s reinvented search engine combines the capabilities of Alltheweb and AltaVista owned previously by Overture Services, Inc. More specialized options like images, yellow page listings are offered by Yahoo and serves as excellent shopping search engine. Yahoo directory services offer results from human compiled Yahoo directory when searched from Yahoo directory home page.
Listed as the third most popular search engine, MSN search engine comprises of a search engine by Microsoft, index and a web crawler. Now this has been christened as Live Search. Specific types of information can be accessed using search tabs provided for Web, images, news, music, local, desktop and Microsoft Encarta. While it receives more than a few billion queries per month, it still provides required answers to user’s query and improved access to
information. MSN search has been upgraded to use its own search engine to query results and the index is updated on a weekly basis. It also provides its search results to other search engines in order to be on par with its competitors.
AOL search uses the Google search engine to query results. So most of the time, results turned out by Google and AOL remain the same. What makes AOL search special then? It is that the internal version of AOL search provides links which can be accessed only by AOL online users. It provides precise results for the query from Google but with one click to get required images, pictures, maps or stock quotes and news. The safe search filter in AOL search engine filters out unwanted adult images if it is set in preferences. Domain specific searches are also possible with this search engine.
Rated as fifth in terms of popularity, Ask.com (previously known as Askjeeves.com) was first started as a question–answering search engine. It answered all the questions posed to it daily in natural language (English). It also responds to search terms, thus being very user– friendly. Since Indexing was rather slow in this search engine compared to Google, Yahoo or MSN, it was not affected by link spam which prevented important web pages from being accessed. Its ExpertRank algorithm goes beyond Google in delivering which is best rather than which is bigger. By identifying the subject specific sites they bring more relevance and editorial touch to their query results. Ask.com owns sites which are country–specific for UK, Spain, Italy, Japan and The Netherlands thereby increasing the user traffic and gaining popularity.
Ultimately, the number of visitors to a particular search engine website, the search sessions happening on daily or weekly or monthly basis, length of the session, user preferences and how frequent they return to the same website determines the popularity. You can find information on the Web in a variety of ways. When you click the Search
button on the toolbar, The explorer bar appears at the left of the window. It provides access to a number of search services that offer different kinds of searching capabilities. In Internet Explorer, if you are looking for some website. But don’t know Its URL address. Then there are some websites called Search Engines which helps you to search that website. For example, www.yahoo.com, www.google.com.