“KEEP ON SEARCHIN”
WIDESPREAD USE OF SEARCH ENGINES
|These are the logos for three search engines commonly used to search for information on the world wide web.
Credit: Courtesy of Wikipedia.
The ability to do research and ferret out important or obscure information has never been easier, largely due to web search engines that allow you to enter key words or concepts and even ask questions. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, and in China, Baidu, have revolutionized the way students, professional scholars, journalists, politicians, and the general public can find things out. Web search engines allow the user to find appropriate web sites for the subject, to mine information from databases, and to access images, video clips, songs, maps, news, online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia, books, scholarly articles, stores, and so on. And the list keeps on growing.
Access to information via search engines is remarkably rapid, extraordinarily easy, enjoyably dynamic (chasing the ‘hyperlinks’ through a fast-moving train of information), and sometimes unnervingly addictive. These make up a lot of ‘pluses’ – never has such access to so much been easier for so many. But we should also be aware that there may also be some less visible or noticeable ‘minuses’ in this. Many have noted that can end up spending hours with a search that ‘snowballs’ on them, propelling them from one link to another, which can be interesting and even useful. But some people have also observed they now detect in themselves a furtive lack of concentration, a loss of interest in reading long articles or books, or an emerging need for more instant information gratification. As new generations grow up within this burgeoning sea of readily accessible information, it will be interesting to see what future changes might be seen in how people study, learn, and relate to the world around them.
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
If you are interested in getting fast, reliable information on a wide range of topics, search engines are for you. You can find recipes, consumer reports, people, places, and businesses, as well as on-line encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, and books of quotations, just with a few clicks on your keyboard. In the past this probably would have necessitated a trip to the library and a much greater time investment with less successful results.
This is Wikipedia’s description of the phrase “web search engine.”
This is a Wikipedia article listing all search engines by category.
This is the research paper that Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page wrote, outlining the details of their plans for the large-scale search engine, Google.