Searching the Internet

I started using the Internet before the word “google” was used as a verb. In the early 1990s, searching for information was very different. The best way to find something was to telnet to a server with an Archie Query Form. Once you found the file you wanted, you could download it using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). You could also do a Veronica search of menu items. This would present you with a custom Gopher menu. The Gopher site might even have a Jughead menu. The big difference was Veronica could search multiple servers, but Jughead could only search one of them.

Around 1994 searching the Internet changed when companies like Infoseek, Yahoo, and Webcrawler began to take advantage of the new graphical web browsers. These web browsers included the popular Mosaic Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. It wasn’t until the end of the decade that Google created a search website that not only contained an extensive list of results but was simple to use. Since then, an estimated 87% of users around the world use Google.

Other Search Engines

It may be surprising to learn, but there are alternatives to using Google. This is good because the bias for Google is, obviously, Google. Different search engines have other benefits for using them.

  1. Bing: Microsoft Bing is one of the biggest competitors of Google. In the United States, about 25% of people use Bing. One of the advantages of using Bing is that they do not favor Google YouTube when searching for videos.
  2. OneSearch: OneSearch is a new search engine from the Verizon phone company. It is an updated version of the old Yahoo search engine. It promises not to track or profile you, or share your information with advertisers. They do not filter web results and claim to be unbiased.
  3. DuckDuckGo: Another search engine, DuckDuckGo, does not collect or store your personal information like Google does. For that reason, it is often used by people who want to keep their browsing history private.
  4. Internet Archive: Internet Archive is a different type of search engine. This search engine saves old websites, including websites that no longer exist. You can search and access these websites using the “Wayback Machine.”
  5. Twitter: Twitter, on the other hand, is a great way to find up-to-the-minute information in almost real-time. Other search engines, like Google, will eventually catch up and catalog the information. Still, you can usually find information needed in an emergency first on Twitter.

There are other more specialized search engines as well. Search engines are continually evolving and changing. While Google is currently the most popular, other platforms are starting to make a strong showing. Give some of the alternatives a try for yourself and see how they are different.

Happy Searching!

- Michael Martinell, The Broadband Guy