A List of the Top Internet Search Engines
Millions upon millions of documents exist on the Internet. Because of the sheer volume of information available, it could prove difficult to find anything online without the help of search engines. A search engine allows you to type a word or phrase and see a list of pages on the Internet matching your search criteria. To differentiate themselve, search engines each use their own algorithms to rank the results of your search to place pages most likely to contain the information that you want at the top of the list. The major search engines are vying for your attention, and each has something slightly different to offer.
As of 2010, Google is the most popular search engine. Google is immediately recognizable by its minimal user interface, consisting of little more than a logo and text box. The simplicity of the Google search engine and results pages results in very fast loading times, which has greatly contributed to the search engine's popularity. Google also offers a number of free services including web-based email and office software, maps and driving directions.
Yahoo.com and Bing.com
In 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! joined forces. As a result of the partnership, results for searches made on Yahoo! are provided by Bing, and searches on the two websites generally bring the same results. However, the two search engines have interfaces that differ greatly. Bing features a simplistic interface, similar to Google with the exception of a high-resolution background image that changes daily. Yahoo! is more of an all-purpose Web portal, with constantly updated front-page headlines and single-click access to games, email and instant messaging.
Ask began life in the 1990s as Ask Jeeves, a search engine programmed to accept queries as natural language---for example, "What should I do today?"---rather than a series of keywords. Although Ask no longer uses the "Ask Jeeves" branding in the United States, the website continues to accept both natural language and keyword-based queries. Ask also features a generally minimalistic user interface for high-speed results.
Dogpile removes the need to choose by searching Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask for you. Dogpile uses an algorithm to select the most relevant results from the four major search engines, and displays them for you. According to Dogpile, more than 88 percent of the most relevant search results on the Internet are indexed by only one of the four major search engines. Therefore, to obtain the best information, you could repeat the same search on each search engine or use one that picks the "best of the best" for you.