Web search engines | Wikipedia audio article
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Web search engines | Wikipedia audio article

A web search engine or Internet search engine
is a software system that is designed to carry out web search (Internet search), which means
to search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for particular information specified in
a textual web search query. The search results are generally presented
in a line of results, often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of links to web
pages, images, videos, infographics, articles, research papers, and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available
in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained
only by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running
an algorithm on a web crawler. Internet content that is not capable of being
searched by a web search engine is generally described as the deep web.==History==Internet search engines themselves predate
the debut of the Web in December 1990. The Who is user search dates back to 1982
and the Knowbot Information Service multi-network user search was first implemented in 1989. The first well documented search engine that
searched content files, namely FTP files, was Archie, which debuted on 10 September
1990.Prior to September 1993, the World Wide Web was entirely indexed by hand. There was a list of webservers edited by Tim
Berners-Lee and hosted on the CERN webserver. One snapshot of the list in 1992 remains,
but as more and more web servers went online the central list could no longer keep up. On the NCSA site, new servers were announced
under the title “What’s New!”The first tool used for searching content (as opposed to
users) on the Internet was Archie. The name stands for “archive” without the
“v”. It was created by Alan Emtage, Bill Heelan
and J. Peter Deutsch, computer science students at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec,
Canada. The program downloaded the directory listings
of all the files located on public anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites, creating
a searchable database of file names; however, Archie Search Engine did not index the contents
of these sites since the amount of data was so limited it could be readily searched manually. The rise of Gopher (created in 1991 by Mark
McCahill at the University of Minnesota) led to two new search programs, Veronica and Jughead. Like Archie, they searched the file names
and titles stored in Gopher index systems. Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide
Index to Computerized Archives) provided a keyword search of most Gopher menu titles
in the entire Gopher listings. Jughead (Jonzy’s Universal Gopher Hierarchy
Excavation And Display) was a tool for obtaining menu information from specific Gopher servers. While the name of the search engine “Archie
Search Engine” was not a reference to the Archie comic book series, “Veronica” and “Jughead”
are characters in the series, thus referencing their predecessor. In the summer of 1993, no search engine existed
for the web, though numerous specialized catalogues were maintained by hand. Oscar Nierstrasz at the University of Geneva
wrote a series of Perl scripts that periodically mirrored these pages and rewrote them into
a standard format. This formed the basis for W3Catalog, the web’s
first primitive search engine, released on September 2, 1993.In June 1993, Matthew Gray,
then at MIT, produced what was probably the first web robot, the Perl-based World Wide
Web Wanderer, and used it to generate an index called “Wandex”. The purpose of the Wanderer was to measure
the size of the World Wide Web, which it did until late 1995. The web’s second search engine Aliweb appeared
in November 1993. Aliweb did not use a web robot, but instead
depended on being notified by website administrators of the existence at each site of an index
file in a particular format. JumpStation (created in December 1993 by Jonathon
Fletcher) used a web robot to find web pages and to build its index, and used a web form
as the interface to its query program. It was thus the first WWW resource-discovery
tool to combine the three essential features of a web search engine (crawling, indexing,
and searching) as described below. Because of the limited resources available
on the platform it ran on, its indexing and hence searching were limited to the titles
and headings found in the web pages the crawler encountered. One of the first “all text” crawler-based
search engines was WebCrawler, which came out in 1994. Unlike its predecessors, it allowed users
to search for any word in any webpage, which has become the standard for all major search
engines since. It was also the search engine that was widely
known by the public. Also in 1994, Lycos (which started at Carnegie
Mellon University) was launched and became a major commercial endeavor. The first popular search engine on the Web
was Yahoo! Search. The first product from Yahoo!, founded by
Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994, was a Web directory called Yahoo! Directory. In 1995, a search function was added, allowing
users to search Yahoo! Directory! It became one of the most popular ways for
people to find web pages of interest, but its search function operated on its web directory,
rather than its full-text copies of web pages. Soon after, a number of search engines appeared
and vied for popularity. These included Magellan, Excite, Infoseek,
Inktomi, Northern Light, and AltaVista. Information seekers could also browse the
directory instead of doing a keyword-based search. In 1996, Robin Li developed the RankDex site-scoring
algorithm for search engines results page ranking and received a US patent for the technology. It was the first search engine that used hyperlinks
to measure the quality of websites it was indexing, predating the very similar algorithm
patent filed by Google two years later in 1998. Larry Page referenced Li’s work in some of
his U.S. patents for PageRank. Li later used his Rankdex technology for the
Baidu search engine, which was founded by Robin Li in China and launched in 2000. In 1996, Netscape was looking to give a single
search engine an exclusive deal as the featured search engine on Netscape’s web browser. There was so much interest that instead Netscape
struck deals with five of the major search engines: for $5 million a year, each search
engine would be in rotation on the Netscape search engine page. The five engines were Yahoo!, Magellan, Lycos,
Infoseek, and Excite.Google adopted the idea of selling search terms in 1998, from a small
search engine company named goto.com. This move had a significant effect on the
SE business, which went from struggling to one of the most profitable businesses in the
Internet.Search engines were also known as some of the brightest stars in the Internet
investing frenzy that occurred in the late 1990s. Several companies entered the market spectacularly,
receiving record gains during their initial public offerings. Some have taken down their public search engine,
and are marketing enterprise-only editions, such as Northern Light. Many search engine companies were caught up
in the dot-com bubble, a speculation-driven market boom that peaked in 1999 and ended
in 2001. Around 2000, Google’s search engine rose to
prominence. The company achieved better results for many
searches with an algorithm called PageRank, as was explained in the paper Anatomy of a
Search Engine written by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the later founders of Google. This iterative algorithm ranks web pages based
on the number and PageRank of other web sites and pages that link there, on the premise
that good or desirable pages are linked to more than others. Larry Page’s patent for PageRank cites Robin
Li’s earlier RankDex patent as an influence. Google also maintained a minimalist interface
to its search engine. In contrast, many of its competitors embedded
a search engine in a web portal. In fact, Google search engine became so popular
that spoof engines emerged such as Mystery Seeker. By 2000, Yahoo! was providing search services
based on Inktomi’s search engine. Yahoo! acquired Inktomi in 2002, and Overture
(which owned AlltheWeb and AltaVista) in 2003. Yahoo! switched to Google’s search engine
until 2004, when it launched its own search engine based on the combined technologies
of its acquisitions. Microsoft first launched MSN Search in the
fall of 1998 using search results from Inktomi. In early 1999 the site began to display listings
from Looksmart, blended with results from Inktomi. For a short time in 1999, MSN Search used
results from AltaVista instead. In 2004, Microsoft began a transition to its
own search technology, powered by its own web crawler (called msnbot). Microsoft’s rebranded search engine, Bing,
was launched on June 1, 2009. On July 29, 2009, Yahoo! and Microsoft finalized
a deal in which Yahoo! Search would be powered by Microsoft Bing
technology. As of 2019, active search engine crawlers
include those of Google, Sogou, Baidu, Bing, Gigablast, Mojeek, DuckDuckGo and Yandex.==Approach==A search engine maintains the following processes
in near real time: Web crawling
Indexing SearchingWeb search engines get their information
by web crawling from site to site. The “spider” checks for the standard filename
robots.txt, addressed to it. The robots.txt file contains directives for
search spiders, telling it which pages to crawl. After checking for robots.txt and either finding
it or not, the spider sends certain information back to be indexed depending on many factors,
such as the titles, page content, JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), headings, or
its metadata in HTML meta tags. After a certain number of pages crawled, amount
of data indexed, or time spent on the website, the spider stops crawling and moves on. “[N]o web crawler may actually crawl the entire
reachable web. Due to infinite websites, spider traps, spam,
and other exigencies of the real web, crawlers instead apply a crawl policy to determine
when the crawling of a site should be deemed sufficient. Some sites are crawled exhaustively, while
others are crawled only partially”.Indexing means associating words and other definable
tokens found on web pages to their domain names and HTML-based fields. The associations are made in a public database,
made available for web search queries. A query from a user can be a single word. The index helps find information relating
to the query as quickly as possible. Some of the techniques for indexing, and caching
are trade secrets, whereas web crawling is a straightforward process of visiting all
sites on a systematic basis. Between visits by the spider, the cached version
of page (some or all the content needed to render it) stored in the search engine working
memory is quickly sent to an inquirer. If a visit is overdue, the search engine can
just act as a web proxy instead. In this case the page may differ from the
search terms indexed. The cached page holds the appearance of the
version whose words were indexed, so a cached version of a page can be useful to the web
site when the actual page has been lost, but this problem is also considered a mild form
of linkrot. Typically when a user enters a query into
a search engine it is a few keywords. The index already has the names of the sites
containing the keywords, and these are instantly obtained from the index. The real processing load is in generating
the web pages that are the search results list: Every page in the entire list must be
weighted according to information in the indexes. Then the top search result item requires the
lookup, reconstruction, and markup of the snippets showing the context of the keywords
matched. These are only part of the processing each
search results web page requires, and further pages (next to the top) require more of this
post processing. Beyond simple keyword lookups, search engines
offer their own GUI- or command-driven operators and search parameters to refine the search
results. These provide the necessary controls for the
user engaged in the feedback loop users create by filtering and weighting while refining
the search results, given the initial pages of the first search results. For example, from 2007 the Google.com search
engine has allowed one to filter by date by clicking “Show search tools” in the leftmost
column of the initial search results page, and then selecting the desired date range. It’s also possible to weight by date because
each page has a modification time. Most search engines support the use of the
boolean operators AND, OR and NOT to help end users refine the search query. Boolean operators are for literal searches
that allow the user to refine and extend the terms of the search. The engine looks for the words or phrases
exactly as entered. Some search engines provide an advanced feature
called proximity search, which allows users to define the distance between keywords. There is also concept-based searching where
the research involves using statistical analysis on pages containing the words or phrases you
search for. As well, natural language queries allow the
user to type a question in the same form one would ask it to a human. A site like this would be ask.com.The usefulness
of a search engine depends on the relevance of the result set it gives back. While there may be millions of web pages that
include a particular word or phrase, some pages may be more relevant, popular, or authoritative
than others. Most search engines employ methods to rank
the results to provide the “best” results first. How a search engine decides which pages are
the best matches, and what order the results should be shown in, varies widely from one
engine to another. The methods also change over time as Internet
usage changes and new techniques evolve. There are two main types of search engine
that have evolved: one is a system of predefined and hierarchically ordered keywords that humans
have programmed extensively. The other is a system that generates an “inverted
index” by analyzing texts it locates. This first form relies much more heavily on
the computer itself to do the bulk of the work. Most Web search engines are commercial ventures
supported by advertising revenue and thus some of them allow advertisers to have their
listings ranked higher in search results for a fee. Search engines that do not accept money for
their search results make money by running search related ads alongside the regular search
engine results. The search engines make money every time someone
clicks on one of these ads.==Market share==
Google is the world’s most used search engine, with a market share of 92.86 percent as of
February 2019.The world’s most widely used search engines are:===Market share in February 2019======East Asia and Russia===
In some East Asian countries and Russia, Google is not the most popular search engine. In Russia, Yandex commands a market share
of 61.9 percent, compared to Google’s 28.3 percent. In China, Baidu is the most popular search
engine. South Korea’s homegrown search portal, Naver,
is used for 70 percent of online searches in the country. Yahoo! Japan and Yahoo! Taiwan are the most popular avenues for Internet
searches in Japan and Taiwan, respectively.===Europe===
Most countries’ markets in Western Europe are dominated by Google, except for the Czech
Republic, where Seznam is a strong competitor.==Search engine bias==
Although search engines are programmed to rank websites based on some combination of
their popularity and relevancy, empirical studies indicate various political, economic,
and social biases in the information they provide and the underlying assumptions about
the technology. These biases can be a direct result of economic
and commercial processes (e.g., companies that advertise with a search engine can become
also more popular in its organic search results), and political processes (e.g., the removal
of search results to comply with local laws). For example, Google will not surface certain
neo-Nazi websites in France and Germany, where Holocaust denial is illegal. Biases can also be a result of social processes,
as search engine algorithms are frequently designed to exclude non-normative viewpoints
in favor of more “popular” results. Indexing algorithms of major search engines
skew towards coverage of U.S.-based sites, rather than websites from non-U.S. countries.Google
Bombing is one example of an attempt to manipulate search results for political, social or commercial
reasons. Several scholars have studied the cultural
changes triggered by search engines, and the representation of certain controversial topics
in their results, such as terrorism in Ireland, climate change denial, and conspiracy theories.==Customized results and filter bubbles==
Many search engines such as Google and Bing provide customized results based on the user’s
activity history. This leads to an effect that has been called
a filter bubble. The term describes a phenomenon in which websites
use algorithms to selectively guess what information a user would like to see, based on information
about the user (such as location, past click behaviour and search history). As a result, websites tend to show only information
that agrees with the user’s past viewpoint. This puts the user in a state of intellectual
isolation without contrary information. Prime examples are Google’s personalized search
results and Facebook’s personalized news stream. According to Eli Pariser, who coined the term,
users get less exposure to conflicting viewpoints and are isolated intellectually in their own
informational bubble. Pariser related an example in which one user
searched Google for “BP” and got investment news about British Petroleum while another
searcher got information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and that the two search
results pages were “strikingly different”. The bubble effect may have negative implications
for civic discourse, according to Pariser. Since this problem has been identified, competing
search engines have emerged that seek to avoid this problem by not tracking or “bubbling”
users, such as DuckDuckGo. Other scholars do not share Pariser’s view,
finding the evidence in support of his thesis unconvincing.==Christian, Islamic and Jewish search engines
==The global growth of the Internet and electronic
media in the Arab and Muslim World during the last decade has encouraged Islamic adherents
in the Middle East and Asian sub-continent, to attempt their own search engines, their
own filtered search portals that would enable users to perform safe searches. More than usual safe search filters, these
Islamic web portals categorizing websites into being either “halal” or “haram”, based
on modern, expert, interpretation of the “Law of Islam”. ImHalal came online in September 2011. Halalgoogling came online in July 2013. These use haram filters on the collections
from Google and Bing (and others).While lack of investment and slow pace in technologies
in the Muslim World has hindered progress and thwarted success of an Islamic search
engine, targeting as the main consumers Islamic adherents, projects like Muxlim, a Muslim
lifestyle site, did receive millions of dollars from investors like Rite Internet Ventures,
and it also faltered. Other religion-oriented search engines are
Jewogle, the Jewish version of Google, and SeekFind.org, which is Christian. SeekFind filters sites that attack or degrade
their faith.==Search engine submission==
Web search engine submission is a process in which a webmaster submits a website directly
to a search engine. While search engine submission is sometimes
presented as a way to promote a website, it generally is not necessary because the major
search engines use web crawlers that will eventually find most web sites on the Internet
without assistance. They can either submit one web page at a time,
or they can submit the entire site using a sitemap, but it is normally only necessary
to submit the home page of a web site as search engines are able to crawl a well designed
website. There are two remaining reasons to submit
a web site or web page to a search engine: to add an entirely new web site without waiting
for a search engine to discover it, and to have a web site’s record updated after a substantial
redesign. Some search engine submission software not
only submits websites to multiple search engines, but also adds links to websites from their
own pages. This could appear helpful in increasing a
website’s ranking, because external links are one of the most important factors determining
a website’s ranking. However, John Mueller of Google has stated
that this “can lead to a tremendous number of unnatural links for your site” with a negative
impact on site ranking.==See also

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