The internet has become the go-to source for information on any subject we need or want to investigate, humanity’s greatest invention according to many, the world wide web is an almost unending expanse of digital information, where everyone can express their desires, opinions, and ideas. Being such a vast place, it’s no wonder that we need technology’s help to navigate this information ocean, because of the existence of search engines. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and many more search engines have slowly but steadily become a priceless companion to websurfers, allowing for instantaneous results on the topic at hand, with hundreds upon thousand results and just as many different sources. Today dear readers, we will do a little close-up investigation on search engines, the gate to today’s digital libraries.
In the beginning, no one imagined what the internet would become and evolve into, and search engines were looked down upon as useless and a waste of valuable time and resources, nothing further from the truth. Today, search engines are the only way of obtaining quick and logical results on any given topic in the digital world, given the fact that no matter how complicated, convoluted, unpopular, or strange a topic may be, there are millions of different sources and web pages which contain or at the very least mention what we are searching for. The digital filters for millions of results, search engines are a modern necessity taken from in a digital world.
The Magic Behind The Genius
As tough or daunting as it may seem, the process by which search engines filter results is quite simple, albeit way more complicated in practice. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, function on a series of calculated and finely tuned self-developing algorithms, which little by little have evolved into an almost artistic capacity of filtering. Yet the question reveals itself, what is an algorithm and how does it work?
An algorithm is, on simplified terms, a logical succession of steps, however minuscule, towards a definite goal. Imagine the simplest task you can do, let’s say opening a door, now count the steps towards opening a door, count even the most insignificant action, raising your foot, putting it forward, putting it down, moving your trunk forward, all of those little steps are an algorithm. Our daily life, all of our actions, big or small, important or trivial, no matter the focus, even our decisions, are simply compounds of biological and psychological algorithms. Juxtapositioning this to the digital mind of search engines, the concept is the same, yet tuned to evolve continuously.
Different Wizards, Same Magic
Having explained in really simple terms a bit of how the digital magic of search engines works, let’s now take the time to get to know the digital magicians.
The most popular and important search engine, “Google Search” or simply “Google” reports over 3.5 billion searches handled daily, it boasts ownership of 92% share of the search engines market around the world, and it’s also the most visited website in the world. Google has become a day-to-day companion of almost everyone, and such has been its impact on our lives, that it has become part of our language, with the verb “to Google” being accepted as an actual word.
Also known as “Yahoo Search”, it is the second most popular search engine in the US, Yahoo is a rebadged version of Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Being owned by the Yahoo! corporation, this search engine has seen its share of scandals, the most recent one being it is constantly criticized for favoring websites owned by Verizon Media, Yahoo’s parent company.
Why Do We Need Them?
As humanity evolves, so does the need for constant information, recent studies show that teenagers and adults around the world currently process thirty times more information than adults and teenagers from forty or thirty years before. This calls for the need to create a way of being able to receive, send, investigate, share, and process as much information as possible in the blink of an eye, and this is where search engines shine. They allow for searches on anything from anywhere at any time, the birth of Gandhi, the most popular cryptocurrencies, the latest advances in science and technology, virtually anything information-based is at the tips of our fingers.
Current times demand speed and efficiency on information gathering, processing and sharing, hence humanity’s response to this demand has been digital tools that provide the information of thousands of savants to anyone who needs it. Our culture evolves and so does our capacity of gathering and sharing information. Search engines are only the tip of the iceberg of what the future holds for information and those who seek it.