Search
Engines
TECHNICAL BRIEF
Introduction

Today, we can get on the internet and search for a number of different things easily. From 'how to make cupcakes' to how far is the sun', we can find the answer with just a few clicks. Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and the other search engines are no stranger to us. Search engines are programs that search documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found (Beal, n.d). Search engine works by taking the keywords user input and return the search engine results pages with a list of websites that matches those keywords. It is very important and a big deal to have company's website on the first search engine results pages, because the higher a site ranks in search engine results pages, it increases the chance of people seeing it and clicking on it. Popular search engines use multiple large computers to search through the huge amount of data across the web within seconds.

Google

Google no doubt is most popular search engines of all time, about 65% of internet users use Google as their main search engine globally. Google was founded in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. student at Stanford University, California. Together, they own about 14 percent of its shares and control 56 percent of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock (Google, 2016). 2011 report shows that Google had close to one million servers in data centers around the world. It processed over one billion search requests per day in 2009, and about 20 petabytes of data each day in 2008 (Google, 2016). Google also been recognized as the second most valuable brand in the world for 4 consecutive year, and has a valuation in 2016 at $133 billion. The table below shows the number of searches, in billions, that Google vs. other search engines being used during the last two quarters of 2012.

For December 2012 (Sullivan, 2013):

  • Google: 114.7 billion searches, 65.2% share
  • Baidu: 14.5 billion searches, 8.2% share
  • Yahoo: 8.6 billion searches, 4.9% share
  • Yandex: 4.8 billion searches, 2.8% share
  • Microsoft: 4.5 billion searches, 2.5% share
  • Others: 28.7 billion searches, 16.3% share

As you can see, Google search engine took a big lead among other search engines in terms of searches. Google search engine ranks pages using citation notation, meaning any mention of a website on another site would count it as a vote toward the mentioned site (WordStream, n.d.). Google is more focus on informational websites and web pages. Websites need to earn a certain amount of trust before they can rank on top pages on Google. Therefore, sites with .edu and .gov links are more trustworthy than average .com links. Google also begins to host Google Books, it's a search engine for books. Books are being scanned and uploaded with limited previews into the database. In August 2016, Google made two major changes related to its mobile search results. First, it removes the "mobile-friendly" label that highlighted pages were easy to read on mobile from its mobile search results page. Second, on January 10, 2017, Google will start punishing mobile pages that show intrusive interstitials when a user first opens a page and they will rank lower in its search results (Google, 2016)

While google is the most popular search engine, there are also a number of great search engines one can use.

Bing Search Engine (Rebranding of MSN/Live Search)

Being the second most popular search engine, Microsoft's search engine, Bing, has 15.8% of the search market. MSN was being powered by Inktomi and Looksmart for a number of years. After Yahoo! bought Inktomi and Overture, Microsoft is forced to develop their own search engine. While MSN offers a tool that estimates how commercial a page or query is, their lack of ability to distinguish quality links from low quality links makes their results exceptionally biased toward commercial results (Wall, 2006). MSN seems to be lacking in the internal relevancy measurement, their search results are spammy despite the fact that MSN has been running many promotional campaigns to internet users to get them try out MSN Search. But unfortunately, some of the searches they are sending to people have bogus spam or pornography type results in them. Microsoft recognized that there would be a problem with branding as long as the word 'Live' remained in the name. As an effort to create a new identity for Microsoft's search services, Live Search was officially replaced by Bing on June 3, 2009 (Bing, n.d.).

Since the rebranding, Bing has been doing pretty well. Bing's video search is significantly better than Google's, giving user a grid of large thumbnails that they can click on to play or preview hover over them (Ratcliff, 2016). Bing does autocomplete just like Google, and it doubles the autocomplete suggestions than Google. If a user is in the market for flights, Bing also predicts when the price goes up or down for the flight user is looking for. On July 29, 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that they had made a ten-year deal in which the Yahoo! Search engine would be replaced by Bing, retaining the Yahoo! user interface (Bing, n.d.). For the first five years of the deal, Yahoo! will keep 88% of the search venue, as well as the right to sell advertising on certain Microsoft sites.

Yahoo! Search Engine

Yahoo! Search was founded in 1994 by David Filo and Jerry Yang as a directory of websites. Yahoo! purchased Inktomi (in December 2002) and then consumed Overture (in July of 2003), and combined the technologies from the various search companies they bought to make a new search engine (Wall, 2006). Yahoo! didn't work on their search engine until 2002, so until that time, they had been outsourcing their search services. Yahoo! Search engine offers a paid inclusion program, so when an internet user click on a high ranked paid inclusion site, Yahoo! will profit from it. Yahoo! Search is more biased towards commercial sites than informational sites compared to Google due to its paid inclusion program.

Yahoo! Search engine are better defining the goals of the user. If a user searches "how to make a cupcake" on Yahoo! Search engine, many of the top ranked results will have both "how to" and "make a cupcake" in the page title. This means Yahoo! puts more time and effort on common words that occur in the search query. Yahoo! Search also do quality check on site's content to ensure the site submitted is matching with Yahoo!'s quality guidelines. Additionally, Yahoo! Search engine has a section called Yahoo! Answers. It allows anyone to ask or answer questions placed on Yahoo! Answers.

Ask Search Engine (Ask Jeeves)

Ask Search Engine is a question answering-focused e-business and web search engine founded in 1996 by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen in Berkeley, California. (Ask.com, n.d.). Ask acquired Teoma, which is the primary search technology Ask is still using today. Ask uses a natural query processing engine, it matches common search queries and backfilled the result through a meta search engine. Ask is focused on topical communities using a concept they call Subject-Specific PopularitySM. This means that if you are entering a saturated or hyper saturated field that Ask will generally be one of the slowest engines to rank your site since they will only trust it after many topical authorities have shown they trusted it by citing it. (Wall, 2006). But Ask has two weakness according to internet users: it has limited distribution, and it's heavily relying on Google for providing the sponsored links. In 2009, Ask.com launched a new search engine for hunting down coupons and sales. By launching a new specialty search engine, ask can make money from search ads and from the fees paid by online store sites.

Baidu

Baidu is a Chinese web services company that monopolize search engine market in China. It has Baidu Map, Baidu Netdisk, Baidu Post Bar, Baidu News, Baidu knows, Baidu Image Search, etc. all in one platform. As the internet leader in China, Baidu generates its revenue mainly from web based services by using a Pay for Placement. Companies and advertisers bid on certain keywords and placement for their advertisements and websites within Baidu. According to Bloomberg, 99.7% percent of Baidu's $3.5 billion in 2012 revenue was generate from online marketing and advertising services. (Nath, 2014). Due to China's strict censorship and Baidu being a major search engine in China, companies are prompt to work with Baidu to increase its market advertisement.

Conclusion

Even Google search engine is the most popular, internet users are still using other search engines that fit their needs the most. Google is specializing in informational website and with one million servers around the world, user's research results will come up within milli-seconds. Whereas Bing's video search is better than Google's since it will give user a large thumbnail, and the user can play the preview if they hover over the thumbnail. On the other hand, Yahoo! Search engine works the best to define the goals of internet user since many of the top ranked result will have all the keywords the user put in. Although Ask is another search engine, but it's more focusing on questions and answers on the World Wide Web. Half way across the globe, Baidu offers a wide range of service on top of internet researching. Baidu search engine no doubt is the king of search engine in China.

References

(n.d.). Retrieved from WordStream: https://www.wordstream.com/articles/internet-search- engines-history

Ask.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ask.com

Beal, V. (n.d.). Search Engine. Retrieved from Webopedia: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/search_engine.html

Bing. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing

Google. (2016, 12 7). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

McFarlane, G. (2015, 10 27). Google Vs. Bing Vs. Yahoo: The Search Engine Wars (MSFT, GOOG). Retrieved from Investopedia: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/070915/google-vs-bing-vs-yahoo-search-engine-wars.asp

Nath, T. (2014, 12 10). Baidu Versus Google: Who Will Win The Global Search War? Retrieved from Investopedia: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/121014/baidu-versus-google.asp

Nicas, J. (2016, 7 25). Google Took Different Approaches Than Yahoo. Retrieved from Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-took-different-approaches-than-yahoo-1469489370

Ratcliff, C. (2016, 2 25). Say goodbye to Google: 14 alternative search engines. Retrieved from Search Engine Watch: https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/02/25/say-goodbye-to-google-14-alternative-search-engines/

Singel, R. (2009, 10 06). Ask.com Launches 'Let's Make a Deal' Search Engine. Retrieved from Wired: https://www.wired.com/2009/10/ask-deals/

Sullivan, D. (2013, 2 11). Google Still World's Most Popular Search Engine By Far, But Share Of Unique Searchers Dips Slightly. Retrieved from Search Engine Land: http://searchengineland.com/google-worlds-most-popular-search-engine-148089

Wall, A. (2006, 6 13). How Search Engines Work: Search Engine Relevancy Reviewed. Retrieved from SeoBook: http://www.seobook.com/relevancy/