Search engines are some of the most pleasant outgrowths of the computer era for a lot of people. They help us find information fast without putting in nearly as much effort as would have been previously required. Web search engines are designed to help users find the things they are looking for such as entertainment stories such as those about Randy Quaid or performance car insurance on FTP servers and the Web. Usually when a user performs a search, the results are displayed in list of matches which are called hits. These hits are what the Google or some other engine has determined are the most relevant and useful fits for the information requested.
Early Search Engines
In the early 1990s as the academic and scientific communities began exploring newly emerging online technologies, various methods had to be developing and categorize data. The very first tool used to search the Internet was called Archie . Archie was created in 1990 at McGill University in Montreal. Computer science students enrolled at McGill were its creators. This program downloaded all of the listings for FTP) file transfer protocol) sites and created a database that could be searched by file name. At the time, the amount of data collected was so small that there was no need to make it possible to search according to the file content.
As time went on and the development of the Web progressed beyond the academic realm, other search engines came into being to deal with the ever increasing need for access to information in a fast and systematic manner. Attempts were made with systems called Veronica and Jughead, which were created at the University of Minnesota. Time continued to pass and more research and development went into this area of web information access. In 1993 the first of the real search engines called W3Catalog was released by a researcher at the University of Geneva. It would not be long before the need for general public access to this type of information would come to the forefront.
Public Access to Web Information
In the mid 1990s, new search engines emerged with many of them becoming commercially viable. Of special significance during this time period were Magellan, Yahoo!, and Lycos among others. The second half of the decade saw many of these competing companies jostling for position in an ever expanding market. More families and businesses as well as schools were getting home computers with online access. Search engines were becoming much more important all the time. Stay at home careers that could not have existed before started popping up, a trend that would continue on as technologies continued to make remote information sharing easier to accomplish.
At around the turn of the century, Google began to emerge as the dominant figure among search engines. Its popularity was easily explained by fact that it was more successful at helping users track down what they needed and get good pertinent results in a hurry. One of the secrets behind Google's dominance is their use of a feature called PageRank which uses a special formula to rank pages based on links and other factors.
These days, there are still multiple publically accessible search engines, including Yahoo! and Google along with some others. Going forward it is evident that as online technology and people's usage patterns continue to evolve, so too will the methods by which they obtain their information online. Ease of use and success in finding exactly what they are looking for are essentially still the measuring sticks most users utilize when they think about these search engines and try to decide which to use.