What Does it Mean to Search the Internet?
Contrary to popular
belief, searching the Internet doesn't mean searching through
every single web page that's available on the Internet. When we
talk about searching the Internet, what we are actually searching is a
database of web sites created by whichever search tool we are
These search tools, which include search engines, meta-search engines and subject
directories, use different methods for adding web sites to their
databases. Many send out computer programs called spiders to run
through the web grabbing pages they find and indexing them.
Others have people who evaluate web sites before deciding to add
them to their databases.
Even the best of the
search engines only cover about 30% of the Internet, so there
are a lot of web pages out there that you won't find no matter which
search tool you use. Also different search tools cover different
pages. An excellent chart explaining the differences between search engines, meta-search engines and subject directories can be found at Infopeople Search Tools Chart.
The following is an
explanation of search engines vs. metasearch engines vs. subject
directories: how they differ and how they are best utilized.