There are some files you need to access at Y:\ICT\KS3\Year 7\The Internet.
The links below will help you to explore and differentiate between the competing search engines, and understand how to get better, more specific/relevant search results.
- The BBC's WebWise site is a good place to start: its brief but gives you a very clear summary of what a search engine is and how they vary.
- Wiki on search engines, including history of their development (have you ever heard of Netscape? It used to be as dominant as Google is now!) and a list of major search engines. Some other examples of search engines:
- Here's a list of the 15 most popular search engines in the USA, which you can compare to ...
- ...the most popular search engines in the UK! (Novermber 2012 figures) or ...
- ... other countries such as China! (September 2012)
- To get better results, use the advanced search options. Here's the BBC's WebWise list of tips on getting better results.
- You can also use Boolean operators. Here's a detailed explanation, including graphics. This is a really good explanation, with examples for how you would use OR, AND, NOT in searches.
- This is the BBC WebWise explanation of Boolean operators.
- Here's the Wiki on Boolean operators.
- If you wanted to find out more about how these companies and the search engine industry operate, including the economics and politics behind them, you could try newspaper sites such as The Guardian's search engine articles.
- Google allows you to use all sorts of extra search terms; you may not remember many of these at first, but you can always google 'google search terms' for help! Here's Google's guide to its advanced search terms.
|Click here for an interactive demo of how Boolean search terms work|
- using the minus sign: a search for salsa finds everything to do with food and dance; if we only want the food-based reults we change our search to -dance salsa. The Boolean operator NOT also works like this: salsa NOT dance will achieve the same results.
- using the asterisk (SHIFT+8) symbol: if we search adam ant we get 5.2m hits, but if we search adam ant* we get 31.9m hits. Why? Because the * tells the search engine to include all words starting with ant, which is useful here because Adam Ant was originally in a band called Adam and the Ants! You use the * if there are several relevant variations of one of your search terms
- adding more words: we're usually looking to reduce the number of hits to get more relevant results, and adding more words usually does this. headlines 2000 gets 195m hits; headlines year 2000 reduces this to 132m; uk headlines year 2000 reduces this to 102m
- word order: whichever words we put first are ranked as more important in the search, which is why I put uk first in the above example!
- speech marks: if we put "" round words the search engine will look for that exact phrase. "adam ant" gets half as many hits as simply adam ant, and they're more relevant
- and finally... The Boolean operator AND tells the search engine not to simply look for web pages with any of the words in the search phrase, but to look for results with all of the terms you put AND between. So, if I search for uk newspaper headlines year 2000 I get 153m hits. If I amend this to uk AND newspaper headlines year 2000 I only get hits which have both UK and newspapers: I now get 144m hits. The search uk AND newspaper AND headlines AND year 2000 gets 104m hits. If I amended this to headline* it jumps up to 365m!