Many people are unable to distinguish a web browser from a search engine. In fact, some people believe that the terms are synonymous. They are not. Together the web browser and the search engine put information at your fingertips, but they perform two distinct functions.
A web browser is a software program that interprets the coded language of the web into a graphic form. Web browsers are the highway of the web. They give us the ability to see and read the information.
The first web browser available to the general public was Mosaic which was released in 1993. Today, two web browsers dominate the market: Internet Explorer and Firefox. Both are free to download. While Firefox and Internet Explorer are the most popular, other browsers include such as Opera, Safari, Chrome, Netscape Navigator, and SeaMonkey.
A search engine is an application that finds and collates information. Search engines first crawl –which means that it looks for new information. Then the engine indexes the results from the crawl using keywords as anchors. When the indexing is completed, the search engine stores the result in a database.
All search engines use crawling, indexing, and database storage. The differences in search engines come from the methods they use to accomplish these tasks. A few of the most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo, Dogpile, and Ask.
In addition to the general search engines, there are category search engines. Category search engines limit their crawls to specific content areas, such as sports, religion, fashion, etc.