Search Engines: An Introduction

Most web search engines follow the same premise for user interaction. First, a client inputs a text string they want to match with web sites on the Internet. Then, the search engine's back-end queries a database that stores matches for various text strings. Any website contained in the database that corresponds to the given query string is extracted, and then sorted into a list based on some priority giving algorithm. This list is then displayed to the user as a series of hyperlinks to different websites.

This seemingly basic process has formed the basis for the recent surge in search engine competition. As each company follows the same basic model, it is the small differences that allow one company to overcome its competitors and claim to be 'the better engine'. Currently, the focus rests on the prioritizing algorithms. Users want to find relevant, accurate, and reliable content when they search the web. Therefore, any search engine that can guarantee a higher level of pertinence in their searches is bound to seize more market-share. The purpose of this website, entitled MetaSearch, is to take an in depth look at these new search engines. Special focus will be given to Yahoo, Google, GoTo, and WiseNut. Under the Technology section, you will find a technical discourse comparing and contrasting the various approaches. Finally, we will also consider where these companies can hope to expand in their continuous attempts to dominate the market, in the Future section.