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Talkin' Tech: Using Search Engines
Talkin' Tech page provides guidelines for:  How to become a Sophisticated Search Engine User

Did you know that over 90% percent of Internet Users  are using search engines?   Yet, these online searchers only retrieve their desired information 50% of the time.  To become a more effective and efficient online searcher, it is essential to understand how search engines work and how to enter effective search statements.  We will review three popular search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing.


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                How Do Search Engines Search
Garden SpiderSearch engines do not search the World Wide Web (www), but search a database that contains full-text records of web pages.  The search engines' databases are constructed by programs called spiders.  Spiders crawl the web looking for new pages to include in their database.  However, spiders will not find websites that are not linked to other pages. Also, the full-text webpage that is stored in the search engine database is only as current as the last crawl that the spider performed.  If a spider crawl is not performed frequently, a search engine may not retrieve the most current or relevant results.

In 1999, Google launched its first beta search engine.  Since then, Google’s simple web page has risen to become the most popular search engine.  Google retrieves results and ranks the result by the relevance of your search terms.  Also, Google is an enormous search engine.  Although the exact amount of web pages that Google searches is unknown, the total is at least 8,058,044,651.


In addition to the vast amount of web pages to search,  Google allows a user to exclude or include information results. For instance, if you want to find a search term in only PowerPoint files, Google will only find the search term in PowerPoint files and will exclude all other information.  Google also provides easy domain searching, safe-searching (retrieves web sites with no adult content), and will return results in over 40 languages.  For more information, please review  Advanced Searching with Google. Google is located at


FACULTY NOTE: Google Scholar is a service offered by Google.  Google Scholar allows the user to search for only scholarly literature.  To view how a Google Scholar search is performed, please review Step-by-Step Instructions on using Google Scholar. 


Formerly known as, Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN  Search
Previously Microsoft had a small but steady growth in the search engine market. Bing changed this and  took the  search engine market by storm.  Within 2 years of it launch Bing  has moved into the number two spot for search engines. Some of the new features that were added were daily background changes with added "Hot Spots".  Bing  has a spell check feature that will change frequently misspelled search terms to the more commonly spelled alternative. They added video enhancements as well. By hovering over a  video thumbnail, the video will start playing.  One of most prominent changes is that Bing  now organizes search results into categories.


Yahoo Search Engine

With over 3 billion indexed websites and easy to use search features, Yahoo Search went from being a student hobby to one of the most recognized and used search and information services.  Yahoo, which is an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”, is one of the few search engines that has had substantial assistance by librarians and librarian students who aim to organize the web.

Furthermore, Yahoo Search has easy to use Shortcuts that enables you to track gas prices, find information on flight delays,  search for pictures or videos, movie show times, and much more. Please review Basic Search with Yahoo for more information. Yahoo Search is located at

Other Search Engines and Indexes you may want to check out:

Search Tips

Kid's Tool For Searching

Librarians' Index to the Internet

Vivisimo (Searches several search engines)

Surfwax (Searches several search engines)

Metacrawler (Searches several search engines)

DogPile (Searches several search engines)

CCAC: Library: Evaluating Web Sites


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