What is a Search Engine?
Search engines are programs that index and organise data. They are used on a small scale to organise content on a website, or on a large scale, like google, to organise the content of all websites on the world wide web.
The main search engines are google, yahoo, and the ever growing Microsoft Live.
The idea behind a search engine is that the user enters "keywords" into the search bar, and is given options as to which webpage / site might be appropriate to what they are looking for. Search Engines are effectively the directories of the now, and future. Rather than having to flick through pages of indexes, to find a business, or topic, you are now able to log on to the internet, type what you are interested in into the search bar, and everything you need and more is in front of you. [artBreak]
Search engines began as business, and site directories, and have grown into full scale business with mathematical formulas and algorithms dictating how information is indexed.
Initially Search engines were easily manipulated into giving false results, but as the science behind them is honed, it is becoming harder and harder to manipulate. They are growing smarter, and old "black hat" techniques of Search engine optimisation are obsolete, as they result in blacklisting from most search engines.
The main Search Engine for the moment is clearly Google, with the vast manopoly of the market. Google has grown to where it is by being the best at what it does. It's algorithm is the most accurate, and the results are the closest to perfect. (It can still be manipulated a little though).
In an ever changing world, Search Engines are becoming more and more important, for both life in general, and as a major marketing tool for industry!