What is a Search Engine

What is a Search Engine?

Image from: http://gridconcepts.com.au/tag/search-engine-marketing/   Taken April 25th, 2015

Image from: http://gridconcepts.com.au/tag/search-engine-marketing/  Taken on: April 25th, 2015

A search engine is a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that corresponds to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.[1] In English, a web search engine, which is the most common search engine, is a type of website that helps a computer user find information on the Internet. For the sake of simplicity, I will only be talking about web search engines, since, as I said before, they are the most common search engines. Examples of web search engines are Google, Bing, and Yahoo.


Google, Bing, and Yahoo logos in rating order. Image from: http://www.spectrumnetdesigns.com/search-engine-optimization/  Taken on: April 25th, 2015

Google, Bing, and Yahoo logos in rating order. Image from: http://www.spectrumnetdesigns.com/search-engine-optimization/ Taken on: April 25th, 2015

According to multiple websites, including comscore.com, reliablesoft.net, and ebizmba.com, Google is and has been for a while now the top ranking web search engine. In October 2012, Google ranked first with a stunning difference of 45% from second place (Bing at the time). The problem is that I found the ranking by searching “web search engines ranking” on Google, Google with no doubt was the first. Bing and Yahoo are in constant competition for second place, but Bing was in second place leaving Yahoo third. Surprisingly, when I searched the same thing on Yahoo, it showed me the 2010 ratings, when Yahoo was in second place, whereas google showed ratings as recent as February 2015.


Here is a brief video about the history of search engines.

The history of web search engines is vast, so talking about and around the time Google was launched, webreference.com says, “Google was launched in 1997 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page as part of a research project at Stanford University. It uses inbound links to rank sites. In 1998 MSN Search and the Open Directory were also started. The Open Directory, according to its Web site, “is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.” It seeks to become the “definitive catalog of the Web.” The entire directory is maintained by human input.”


Google is an American global technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing (computer programs that are on the Internet rather than on your own computer), and software. Most of Google’s profit was made through AdWords which is an online advertising service that places advertising near the list of search results.

According to wikipedia.org and Google itself, Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Together they own about 14 percent of its shares but control 56 percent of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. An initial public offering followed on August 19, 2004.[2][3] Supervoting stock is a “class of stock that provides its holders with larger than proportionate voting rights compared with another class of stock issued by the same company.”[4]

Since Google was founded, it has been rapidly growing, resulting in the triggering of an enormous chain of products beyond Google’s core search engine. Google offers online software including email (Gmail), cloud storage (Google Drive), an office suite (Google Docs), and social networking system (Google+). Google also created some applications that are found on the App Store and Play Store including a photo editor (Snapseed) and an instant messaging app (hangouts). Google even created their own operating system called Chrome OS which, to be completely honest, isn’t that great.

Chrome OS is an operating system which runs Google chrome. The idea is a good one, but it doesn’t work unless you have a backup windows laptop with you. The problem is that you have to have access to WiFi for the laptop to work, so if you’re in a place with no WiFi, your laptop is basically useless. To solve that problem they should have added LTE to their laptops, but until that happens I think Chrome OS will keep being completely useless to the average consumer.


As mentioned in the video above, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the act of getting traffic from the unaltered search results on a search engine. Simply, search engines look for titles, key words, links, reputation, and words in links. Generally, search engines like Google change their algorithm, it is like their recipe to ranking websites, frequently. People who want their websites to rank higher work hard to get the right keywords on their pages. They try to get the right title, which is a part of the HTML code that we don’t see, that will make the search engine rank them higher. They pay other websites to link back to them using specific words in their links. As Brad from the video above said, the problem is that these websites are paying to only temporarily boost their ranking. Every time the search engine changes their algorithm, they have to pay even more money to cheat the new algorithm. Instead of wasting their money on SEO’s, websites should spend their money on making their content better and more relevant. They should spend their money on getting better writers.

In conclusion, using the internet would be so difficult, troublesome, and people would never have been able to achieve all that they can from the internet today, if they did not have search engines.[5] Even with search engines, it wasn’t still quite easy to navigate around the internet. It wasn’t till Google came along that the internet was truly accessible. In a sense, Google is a true hero.


What is your favorite search engine and why?

Just for fun, what was Google’s original search engine name?



  1. [1] “Google.” Google. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=what is a search engine>.
  2. “Search Engine.” – Simple English Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine>.
  3. “Web Search Engine.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_search_engine>.
  4. “The History of Search Engines – An Infographic.” History of Search Engines. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.wordstream.com/articles/internet-search-engines-history>.
  5. “Examples of Search Engines.” Guide to Information-seeking. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://web.lib.aalto.fi/en/ecourse/?ecid=2&pid=146>.
  6. Chris, Alex. “Top 10 Search Engines in the World.” Reliablesoftnet. 2 Jan. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <https://www.reliablesoft.net/top-10-search-engines-in-the-world/>.
  7. “Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines | April 2015.” Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines | April 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/search-engines>.
  8. “ComScore Releases January 2015 U.S. Desktop Search Engine Rankings.” ComScore, Inc. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Market-Rankings/comScore-Releases-January-2015-US-Desktop-Search-Engine-Rankings>.
  9. “Top Ten Search Engines – Top 10 SEs.” Top 10 Search Engines. 8 Sept. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.seoconsultants.com/search-engines/>.
  10. “Global Market Share of Search Engines 2015 | Statistic.” Statista. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.statista.com/statistics/216573/worldwide-market-share-of-search-engines/>.
  11. Underwood, Lee. “A Brief History of Search Engines.” Webreference. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.webreference.com/authoring/search_history/index.html>.
  12. [2] “Google.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google>.
  13. [3] “Company – Google.” Google. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <https://www.google.ca/intl/en/about/company/>.
  14. [4] “Supervoting Stock.” The Free Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Supervoting Stock>.
  15. “Our History in Depth – Company – Google.” Google. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.google.ca/about/company/history/>.
  16. [5] “THE IMPACT THAT SEARCH ENGINES HAVE MADE ON OUR LIVES.” Meta Bug. 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.metabug.com/the-impact-that-search-engines-have-made-on-our-lives/>.

26 responses to What is a Search Engine

  1. bgriffit5407

    This is a very great post and Google’s original name, as stated in the video, was BackRub…
    My favourite search engine is Google because I have grown up using it and I like the cool things you can do with Google like typing in “zerg rush” and having the results temporarily be eaten by red and yellow o’s. I also like the games and images that Google does. Do you think having visually appealing elements will make a search engine more appealing?

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thank you for replying and I just asked for google’s original name to make sure that people watch the video.
      I totally agree with you about all the things that you can do with google. Thanks again.

    • Jeremy W.

      I’m just going to slip in here…. I was talking with Mahruf the other day, and somehow he brought up the topic of search engines. I’ve been using Google from as far back as I can remember, though Mahruf said he switched to Firefox, one reason being it was more visually appealing. So, to answer your question I think yes! I want my computer to look pretty and easy to navigate! My search engines included!

      • mmaklad9954 Post Author

        I totally agree with you that Firefox works well and looks pretty nice too, but it is generally a heavy browser and if a computer don’t have great specs (specially a decent processor) it’ll be difficult for the computer/laptop to run Firefox.

      • lmarshal4109

        This is actually meant for @mmaklad9954, but I couldn’t reply to your comment for some reason…
        I disagree with you in the fact that Firefox would be difficult to run on a not-so-great computer based on the fact that any browser would run differently on a computer that does not support the quality of the browser. Read this post and decide for yourself. http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/the-best-browser-internet-explorer-vs-chrome-vs-firefox-vs-safari-vs-project-spartan/

      • mmaklad9954 Post Author

        @lmarshal4109 thanks for the link and I appreciate your effort. I just learned about that from your link, but at first I was speaking from a personal experience. A few years ago, I used to use Firefox on a laptop that I bought in 2008. It was glitchy and whenever I used it, it overheated my processor and I always ended up shutting my laptop to avoid any damage. It sometimes got to the point where the laptop is so hot that I can’t touch it. Later on, I downloaded Chrome and was the best thing that ever happened to my laptop.

    • Sebastian

      After typing zerg rush into Google, and being amazed with the result I wanted to find more, and so I found a video that contains six cool Google tricks.
      This is really cool, and as far as I know, there is no other search engine that does such a diverse amount of special effects, or provide such a level of basic entertainment as Google. This is why I personally love Google, for all the neat visual programming that they spend time doing.

      • mmaklad9954 Post Author

        Thank you for replying Sebastian, these are some really cool tricks. I tried doing the last one a couple of times but it didn’t work. I think its very cool that Google took the time to make these effects.

  2. sadli5478

    Great post Mohammed! I learned a lot about search engines and Google specifically.

    What is your favorite search engine and why?
    My favourite search engine is Google! This is because I have been using it for a while now. I am used to the engine, and it is very easy to use. Finally, I am in the Google ecosystem because I use G mail, and Maps too.

    Just for fun, what was Google’s original search engine name?
    Google’s original name was BackRub. Am I correct? Please reply as soon as possible.

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thanks for reading and replying to my post. Your answer is correct. Google’s original name was Backrub.
      For me, I also like google because of all the things that I can do with my Google account including gmail, maps, drive, and docs.

  3. Jeremy W.

    Neat post! May I recommend adding an intro to your post? It really hooks in the reader, gits ’em “city-folk” goinin’ with all that readin’! A fine post none the less!

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thanks for the feedback, I understand what you’re talking about and I’ve heard the same from other people. I’ll try to fix my post up sometime soon.

  4. Jeremy W.

    Adding to what I said, some questions such as “What defines a search engine?” or “What actually is google?” Just some stuff to get the gears grinding!

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      I believe that I did answer these questions, if you could be more specific, it would help a ton. Again, thank you for your very useful feedback.

  5. Cameron H

    Hey mmaklad this was a very interesting choice as I never really considered the search engine I use. As for the first question I prefer google because I use Gmail because I consider it the most professional commonplace email. I also enjoy google drive which is easily accessible on google. In other words
    GOOGLE https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bn-E8KDIIAAMofM.jpg:large (You Da Real MVP).
    And of course google’s original name was the of course lovely and all-welcoming name Backrub (gross)

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thanks for replying to my post and I applaud your sarcasm. I also love Google or the same reasons and more. Most people just use Gmail and Drive, but there are a lot more programs and gadgets that are either made by Google or require you to have a Google account.

      • Cameron H

        Yes definitely. I enjoy Imagus. mkhushmo introduced me to it. It is a gadget that opens picture and gif links when you roll over them. It is really helpful for Reddit and you should give it a try

  6. asu8252

    This is a good topic Mo. At first, when I first learned how to use a computer, I only used google because I didn’t know any other search engines existed. When I learned more about the internet, I started using Yahoo because there was a news feed and they had games available to play. But now, I enjoy using Google because I find that it is the fastest and it gives me the results I am looking for a lot faster. I don’t stay on the search engine page for too long so I enjoy it as a tool, unlike Yahoo, where I used it more as a website instead since I would stay on it for hours.

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thanks for replying Adam and I totally get your point. Yahoo takes their time in making websites that are quite useful like Yahoo Answers or Yahoo Games but it is kind of unfortunate and funny that I get to their websites through Google.

  7. ahassan2607

    This is a very interesting and well-chosen topic. I have learned many new things from this post. Though, I feel your post would be stronger by specifically analysing at least one more search engine. Doing so would provide readers with something to compare.

    Personally, Google is my favourite search engine. It is organized, fast, and most importantly, displays a wide variety of information. Often, the most credited sources are included on the first page. As a search engine, Google includes many filters and options. Users are able to specifically search for images or videos, as well as filter out images that can be used without credibility.

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thanks for the helpful feedback, Ill try to fix up my post. I also found the majority of people liking google, but for other reasons. Filters are a very important part of google that a lot of people like and use. Personally, I don’t often use filters, but I figured it’s a good thing to have around when I need it.

  8. mkhushmo4204

    Nice post, Mohammad. It is very relatable as everyone uses a search engine to access the WWW(World-Wide Web). One recommendation is to fix a coupe grammar problems I saw when I was reading the post. One example is, “…is a type of website that helps a computer user find information on the a Internet.”

    What is your favourite search engine and why?

    My favourite was Google and then I went to Firefox, as Jeremy said above, and then I went back. I was first used to use Google as it was the most popular but I switched to Firefox due to the fact that Google uses a lot of ram, a lot. I was interested in Firefox due to the new update they released that changed a lot of the visual aspects as well as the software. I then went back to Google due to the fact that there are many extensions that allow for easier use and it also helps improve many websites that I go on. Even though it has already been said, Google’s original name was Backrub.

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thanks for the feedback Mahruf, I think you have something mixed up. I didn’t realize this in Jeremy’s comment, but you seem to be mixing up search engines with web browsers. Almost every web browser I know, including Firefox, uses Google or Bing as their homepage. Unless you are referring to Google chrome, you would still be using Google by using Firefox.

      • mkhushmo4204

        Oh yeah, I might have that mixed up. I was talking about browsers, but I guess that they all use Google. Clearly Google is the most popular.

  9. nhersi4167

    Great post Mohammed my favorite search engine is Google because I find it the most reliable of all search engines. Also google has other features such as gmail, google docs, google dive, google maps and much more so Google I believe covers all of their bases

    • mmaklad9954 Post Author

      Thanks for commenting and I absolutely agree with you Najib. I love how Google lets use your email to access lots of other online services. I think it is really simple and appealing to any person.

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