A search engine is a computer program that searches for information on the World Wide Web. The search engine looks through billions of documents and matches keywords to web pages that contain those keywords.
When you use a search engine, you type in a word or phrase (called a “keyword”), and the search engine finds web pages that contain your keyword. For example, if you type in the keyword “text analytics,” the search engine might find this very article!
The three most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. There are many other smaller search engines as well.
How is Search Engine different than other terms?
Search engine is often used interchangeably with other terms such as “search tool,” “search application,” or “search interface.” However, search engine specifically refers to the computer program that performs the search, while the other terms generally refer to the user interface through which you perform a search.
For example, Google is a search engine, while Google Search is the search tool that allows you to use Google’s search engine. Similarly, Bing is a search engine, while Bing Search is the search tool that allows you to use Bing’s search engine.
In short, a search engine is a back-end program that powers a front-end search application.
Why is it important to understand the difference?
It is important to understand the difference between a search engine and a search application because the text analytics industry often uses the term “search engine” to refer specifically to the back-end program, while outside of the text analytics industry, the term “search engine” is generally used to refer to the whole system, including both the back-end program and the front-end application.
For example, in the text analytics industry, you might hear someone say that they are using a “search engine” to power their search application. Outside of the text analytics industry, you would be more likely to hear someone say that they are using a “search engine” to perform a search.