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A web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of web pages, images, and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained only by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running an algorithm on a web crawler.
Internet search engines themselves predate the debut of the Web in December 1990. The Who is user search dates back to 1982  and the Knowbot Information Service multi-network user search was first implemented in 1989. The first well documented search engine that searched content files, namely FTP files was Archie, which debuted on 10 September 1990.
Prior to September 1993 the World Wide Web was entirely indexed by hand. There was a list of webservers edited by Tim Berners-Lee and hosted on the CERN webserver. One historical snapshot of the list in 1992 remains, but as more and more web servers went online the central list could no longer keep up. On the NCSA site, new servers were announced under the title "What's New!"
The first tool used for searching content (as opposed to users) on the Internet was Archie. The name stands for "archive" without the "v". It was created by Alan Emtage, Bill Heelan and J. Peter Deutsch, computer science students at McGill University in Montreal. The program downloaded the directory listings of all the files located on public anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites, creating a searchable database of file names; however, Archie Search Engine did not index the contents of these sites since the amount of data was so limited it could be readily searched manually.
The rise of Gopher (created in 1991 by Mark McCahill at the University of Minnesota) led to two new search programs, Veronica and Jughead. Like Archie, they searched the file names and titles stored in Gopher index systems. Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives) provided a keyword search of most Gopher menu titles in the entire Gopher listings. Jughead (Jonzy's Universal Gopher Hierarchy Excavation And Display) was a tool for obtaining menu information from specific Gopher servers. While the name of the search engine "Archie Search Engine" was not a reference to the Archie comic book series, "Veronica" and "Jughead" are characters in the series, thus referencing their predecessor.
In the summer of 1993, no search engine existed for the web, though numerous specialized catalogues were maintained by hand. Oscar Nierstrasz at the University of Geneva wrote a series of Perl scripts that periodically mirrored these pages and rewrote them into a standard format. This formed the basis for W3Catalog, the web's first primitive search engine, released on September 2, 1993.
In June 1993, Matthew Gray, then at MIT, produced what was probably the first web robot, the Perl-based World Wide Web Wanderer, and used it to generate an index called 'Wandex'. The purpose of the Wanderer was to measure the size of the World Wide Web, which it did until late 1995. The web's second search engine Aliweb appeared in November 1993. Aliweb did not use a web robot, but instead depended on being notified by website administrators of the existence at each site of an index file in a particular format.
NCSA's Mosaic™ - Mosaic (web browser) wasn't the first Web browser. But it was the first to make a major splash. In November 1993, Mosaic v 1.0 broke away from the small pack of existing browsers by including features—like icons, bookmarks, a more attractive interface, and pictures—that made the software easy to use and appealing to "non-geeks."
JumpStation (created in December 1993 by Jonathon Fletcher) used a web robot to find web pages and to build its index, and used a web form as the interface to its query program. It was thus the first WWW resource-discovery tool to combine the three essential features of a web search engine (crawling, indexing, and searching) as described below. Because of the limited resources available on the platform it ran on, its indexing and hence searching were limited to the titles and headings found in the web pages the crawler encountered.
One of the first "all text" crawler-based search engines was WebCrawler, which came out in 1994. Unlike its predecessors, it allowed users to search for any word in any webpage, which has become the standard for all major search engines since. It was also the first one widely known by the public. Also in 1994, Lycos (which started at Carnegie Mellon University) was launched and became a major commercial endeavor.
Soon after, many search engines appeared and vied for popularity. These included Magellan, Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, Northern Light, and AltaVista. Yahoo! was among the most popular ways for people to find web pages of interest, but its search function operated on its web directory, rather than its full-text copies of web pages. Information seekers could also browse the directory instead of doing a keyword-based search.
In 1996, Netscape was looking to give a single search engine an exclusive deal as the featured search engine on Netscape's web browser. There was so much interest that instead Netscape struck deals with five of the major search engines: for $5 million a year, each search engine would be in rotation on the Netscape search engine page. The five engines were Yahoo!, Magellan, Lycos, Infoseek, and Excite.
Google adopted the idea of selling search terms in 1998, from a small search engine company named goto.com. This move had a significant effect on the SE business, which went from struggling to one of the most profitable businesses in the internet.
Search engines were also known as some of the brightest stars in the Internet investing frenzy that occurred in the late 1990s. Several companies entered the market spectacularly, receiving record gains during their initial public offerings. Some have taken down their public search engine, and are marketing enterprise-only editions, such as Northern Light. Many search engine companies were caught up in the dot-com bubble, a speculation-driven market boom that peaked in 1999 and ended in 2001.
Around 2000, Google's search engine rose to prominence. The company achieved better results for many searches with an innovation called PageRank, as was explained in the paper Anatomy of a Search Engine written by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the later founders of Google. This iterative algorithm ranks web pages based on the number and PageRank of other web sites and pages that link there, on the premise that good or desirable pages are linked to more than others. Google also maintained a minimalist interface to its search engine. In contrast, many of its competitors embedded a search engine in a web portal. In fact, Google search engine became so popular that spoof engines emerged such as Mystery Seeker.
By 2000, Yahoo! was providing search services based on Inktomi's search engine. Yahoo! acquired Inktomi in 2002, and Overture (which owned AlltheWeb and AltaVista) in 2003. Yahoo! switched to Google's search engine until 2004, when it launched its own search engine based on the combined technologies of its acquisitions.
Microsoft first launched MSN Search in the fall of 1998 using search results from Inktomi. In early 1999 the site began to display listings from Looksmart, blended with results from Inktomi. For a short time in 1999, MSN Search used results from AltaVista instead. In 2004, Microsoft began a transition to its own search technology, powered by its own web crawler (called msnbot).
Microsoft's rebranded search engine, Bing, was launched on June 1, 2009. On July 29, 2009, Yahoo! and Microsoft finalized a deal in which Yahoo! Search would be powered by Microsoft Bing technology.
Bing is a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft. The service has its origins in Microsoft's previous search engines: MSN Search, Windows Live Search and later Live Search. Bing provides a variety of search services, including web, video, image and map search products. It is developed using ASP.NET.
Bing, Microsoft's replacement for Live Search, was unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 28, 2009, at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego, California, for release on June 1, 2009. Notable new features at the time included the listing of search suggestions while queries are entered and a list of related searches (called "Explore pane") based on semantic technology from Powerset, which Microsoft had acquired in 2008.
In July 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced a deal in which Bing would power Yahoo! Search. All Yahoo! Search global customers and partners made the transition by early 2012. The deal was altered in 2015, meaning Yahoo! was only required to use Bing for a "majority" of searches.
In December 1211, Microsoft stated that they were working on new back-end search infrastructure with the goal of delivering faster and slightly more relevant search results for users. Known as "Tiger", the new index-serving technology had been incorporated into Bing globally since August that year. In May 2012, Microsoft announced another redesign of its search engine that includes "Sidebar", a social feature that searches users' social networks for information relevant to the search query.
As of November 2015, Bing is the second largest search engine in the US, with a query volume of 20.9%, behind Google on 63.9%. Yahoo! Search, which Bing largely powers, has 12.5%.
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is the most widely distributed data base of Web content classified by humans.
DMOZ (from directory.mozilla.org, an earlier domain name) was a multilingual open-content directory of World Wide Web links. The site and community who maintained it were also known as the Open Directory Project (ODP). It was owned by AOL (now a part of Verizon's Oath Inc.) but constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors.
DMOZ used a hierarchical ontology scheme for organizing site listings. Listings on a similar topic were grouped into categories which then included smaller categories.
DMOZ closed on March 17, 2017 because AOL no longer wished to support the project. The website became a single landing page on that day, with links to a static archive of DMOZ, and to the DMOZ discussion forum, where plans to rebrand and relaunch the directory are being discussed.
As of September 2017, a non-editable mirror remained available at dmoztools.net, and it was stated that while the DMOZ URL would not return, a successor version of the directory would, at Curlie.org. Although a website is now live at that domain, the top-level directory category page is currently just a static HTML file whose category links direct the user to the dmoztools.net static archive.
Free Web Submission is the source for free search engine submission. We provide webmasters and site owners with free manual and auto submission to the highest-rated, free internet search engines and directories.
Google Search Console
Google Search, commonly referred to as Google Web Search or simply Google, is a web search engine developed by Google. It is the most-used search engine on the World Wide Web, handling more than three billion searches each day. As of February 2016, it is the most used search engine in the US with 64.0% market share.
The order of search on Google's search-results pages is based, in part, on a priority rank called a "PageRank". Google Search provides many different options for customized search, using Boolean operators such as exclusion ("-xx"), alternatives ("xx OR yy OR zz"), and wildcards ("Winston * Churchill" returns "Winston Churchill", "Winston Spencer Churchill", etc.). The same and other options can be specified in a different way on an Advanced Search page.
The main purpose of Google Search is to hunt for text in publicly accessible documents offered by web servers, as opposed to other data, such as images or data contained in databases. It was originally developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1997. Google Search provides several features beyond searching for words. These include synonyms, weather forecasts, time zones, stock quotes, maps, earthquake data, movie showtimes, airports, home listings, and sports scores. There are special features for numbers, dates, and some specific forms, including ranges, prices, temperatures, money and measurement unit conversions, calculations, package tracking, patents, area codes, and language translation. In June 2011 Google introduced "Google Voice Search" to search for spoken, rather than typed, words. In May 2012 Google introduced a Knowledge Graph semantic search feature in the U.S.
Analysis of the frequency of search terms may indicate economic, social and health trends. Data about the frequency of use of search terms on Google can be openly inquired via Google Trends and have been shown to correlate with flu outbreaks and unemployment levels, and provide the information faster than traditional reporting methods and surveys. As of mid-2016, Google’s search engine has begun to rely on these deep neural networks.
In December 1216, Gary Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst with Google, announced that the search engine will be making a new, primary web index dedicated for mobile, with a secondary, less up-to-date index for desktop use. The change is a response from the continued growth in mobile, and a push for web developers to adopt a mobile-friendly version of their websites. Illyes stated the change will happen in "months".
Competitors of Google include Baidu and Soso.com in China; Naver.com and Daum.net in South Korea; Yandex in Russia; Seznam.cz in the Czech Republic; Yahoo in Japan, Taiwan and the US, as well as Bing and DuckDuckGo. Some smaller search engines offer facilities not available with Google, e.g. not storing any private or tracking information; one such search engine is Ixquick.
Major Search Engines and Directories
Search Engine Watch (SEW) is a website that provides news and information about search engines and search engine marketing.
Search Engine Watch was started by Danny Sullivan in 1996. In 1997, Sullivan sold it for an undisclosed amount to MecklerMedia (now WebMediaBrands). In 2005 the website and related Search Engine Strategies conference series were sold to Incisive Media for $43 million. On November 30, 2006 Danny Sullivan left Search Engine Watch, after his resignation announcement on August 29, 2006. Rebecca Lieb was named editor-in-chief the following month.
In 2015, Incisive Media sold SES, Search Engine Watch, and ClickZ to Blenheim Chalcot.
Google's Matt Cutts has called Search Engine Watch "a must read." Yahoo's Tim Mayer has said that it is the "most authoritative source on search."
Offering a wide range of marketing services including search engine submission, promotion, and optimization.
Netscape Communications (formerly known as Netscape Communications Corporation or Netscape) is an American computer services company known for its web browser, Netscape Navigator.
When Netscape was an independent company, its headquarters were in Mountain View, California. 
Netscape's web browser was once dominant but it has lost most of that glare to its competitors Internet Explorer during the so-called first browser war. The usage share of Netscape had fallen from over ninety percent in the mid-1990s to less than one percent by the end of 2006.
Netscape stock traded from 1995 until 1999 when it was acquired by AOL in a pooling-of-interests transaction ultimately worth US $10 billion. Shortly before its acquisition by AOL, Netscape released the source code for its browser and created the Mozilla Organization to coordinate future development of its product. The Mozilla Organization rewrote the entire browser's source code based on the Gecko rendering engine; all future Netscape releases were based on this rewritten code. The Gecko engine would later be used to power the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser.
Under AOL, Netscape's browser development continued until December 2007 when AOL announced that the company would stop supporting the Netscape browser as of early 2008. As of 2011, AOL has continued to use the Netscape brand to market a discount Internet service provider.
Netscape was the first company to attempt to capitalize on the nascent World Wide Web. It was founded under the name Mosaic Communications Corporation on April 4, 1994, the brainchild of Jim Clark who had recruited Marc Andreessen as co-founder and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as investors. The first meeting between Clark and Andreessen was never truly about a software or service like Netscape, but more about a product that was similar to Nintendo. Clark recruited other early team members from SGI and NCSA Mosaic. Jim Barksdale came on board as CEO in January 1995. Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen originally created a 20-page concept pitch for an online gaming network to Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 console, but a deal was never reached. Marc Andreessen explains, "If they had shipped a year earlier, we probably would have done that instead of Netscape."
The company's first product was the web browser, called Mosaic Netscape 0.9, released on October 13, 1994. Within four months of its release, it had already taken three-quarters of the browser market. It became the main browser for Internet users in such a short time due to its superiority over other competition, like Mosaic. This browser was subsequently renamed Netscape Navigator, and the company took the 'Netscape' name (coined by employee Greg Sands, although it was also a trademark of Cisco Systems) on November 14, 1994 to avoid trademark ownership problems with NCSA, where the initial Netscape employees had previously created the NCSA Mosaic web browser. The Mosaic Netscape web browser did not use any NCSA Mosaic code. The internal codename for the company's browser was Mozilla, which stood for "Mosaic killer", as the company's goal was to displace NCSA Mosaic as the world's number one web browser. A cartoon Godzilla-like lizard mascot was drawn by artist-employee Dave Titus, which went well with the theme of crushing the competition. The Mozilla mascot featured prominently on Netscape's web site in the company's early years. However, the need to project a more "professional" image (especially towards corporate clients) led to this being removed.
On August 9, 1995, Netscape made an extremely successful IPO. The stock was set to be offered at US$14 per share, but a last-minute decision doubled the initial offering to US$28 per share. The stock's value soared to US$75 during the first day of trading, nearly a record for first-day gain. The stock closed at US$58.25, which gave Netscape a market value of US$2.9 billion. While it was unusual for a company to go public prior to becoming profitable, Netscape's revenues had, in fact, doubled every quarter in 1995. The success of this IPO subsequently inspired the use of the term "Netscape moment" to describe a high-visibility IPO that signals the dawn of a new industry. During this period, Netscape also pursued a publicity strategy (crafted by Rosanne Siino, then head of public relations) packaging Andreessen as the company's "rock star." The events of this period ultimately landed Andreessen, barefoot, on the cover of Time magazine.
Netscape advertised that "the web is for everyone" and stated one of its goals was to "level the playing field" among operating systems by providing a consistent web browsing experience across them. The Netscape web browser interface was identical on any computer. Netscape later experimented with prototypes of a web-based system which would enable users to access and edit their files anywhere across a network, no matter what computer or operating system they happened to be using. This did not escape the attention of Microsoft, which viewed the commoditization of operating systems as a direct threat to its bottom line, i.e. a move from Windows to another operating system would yield a similar browsing experience thus reducing barriers to change. It is alleged that several Microsoft executives visited the Netscape campus in June 1995 to propose dividing the market (an allegation denied by Microsoft and, if true, would have breached antitrust laws), which would have allowed Microsoft to produce web browser software for Windows while leaving all other operating systems to Netscape. Netscape refused the proposition.
Microsoft released version 1.0 of Internet Explorer as a part of the Windows 95 Plus Pack add-on. According to former Spyglass developer Eric Sink, Internet Explorer was based not on NCSA Mosaic as commonly believed, but on a version of Mosaic developed at Spyglass (which itself was based upon NCSA Mosaic). Microsoft quickly released several successive versions of Internet Explorer, bundling them with Windows, never charging for them, financing their development and marketing with revenues from other areas of the company. This period of time became known as the browser wars, in which Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer added many new features and went through many version numbers (not always in a logical fashion) in attempts to outdo each other. But Internet Explorer had the upper hand, as the amount of manpower and capital dedicated to it eventually surpassed the resources available in Netscape's entire business. By version 3.0, IE was roughly a feature-for-feature equivalent of Netscape Communicator, and by version 4.0, it was generally considered to be more stable on Windows than on the Macintosh platform. Microsoft also targeted other Netscape products with free workalikes, such as the Internet Information Server (IIS), a web server which was bundled with Windows NT.
Netscape could not compete with this strategy. In fact, it didn't attempt to. Netscape Navigator was not free to the general public until January 1998, while Internet Explorer and IIS have always been free or came bundled with an operating system and/or other applications. Meanwhile, Netscape faced increasing criticism for the bugs in its products; critics claimed that the company suffered from 'featuritis' – putting a higher priority on adding new features than on making them work properly. This was particularly true with Netscape Navigator 2, which was only on the market for 5 months in early 1996 before being replaced by Netscape Navigator 3. The tide of public opinion, having once lauded Netscape as the David to Microsoft's Goliath, steadily turned negative, especially when Netscape experienced its first bad quarter at the end of 1997 and underwent a large round of lay-offs in January 1998. Later, former Netscape executives Mike Homer and Peter Currie described the period as "hectic and crazy" and that the company was undone by factors both internal and external.
Search engine submission is a process in which a webmaster submits a website directly to a search engine. While search engine submission is sometimes presented as a way to promote a website, it generally is not necessary because the major search engines use web crawlers, that will eventually find most web sites on the Internet without assistance. They can either submit one web page at a time, or they can submit the entire site using a sitemap, but it is normally only necessary to submit the home page of a web site as search engines are able to crawl a well designed website. There are two remaining reasons to submit a web site or web page to a search engine: to add an entirely new web site without waiting for a search engine to discover it, and to have a web site's record updated after a substantial redesign.
Some search engine submission software not only submits websites to multiple search engines, but also add links to websites from their own pages. This could appear helpful in increasing a website's ranking, because external links are one of the most important factors determining a website's ranking. However John Mueller of Google has stated that this "can lead to a tremendous number of unnatural links for your site" with a negative impact on site ranking.
Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines
Here are the top 15 Most Popular Search Engines as derived from our eBizMBA Rank which is a continually updated average of each website's Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.
Yahoo! is a web services provider, wholly owned by Verizon Communications through Oath Inc. and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. The original Yahoo! company was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 and was incorporated on March 2, 1995. Yahoo was one of the pioneers of the early Internet era in the 1990s. Marissa Mayer, a former Google executive, served as CEO and President of Yahoo until June 2017.
It was globally known for its Web portal, search engine Yahoo! Search, and related services, including Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, advertising, online mapping, video sharing, fantasy sports, and its social media website. At its height it was one of the most popular sites in the United States. According to third-party web analytics providers, Alexa and SimilarWeb, Yahoo! was the highest-read news and media website, with over 7 billion views per month, being the sixth most visited website globally in 2016. According to news sources, roughly 700 million people visited Yahoo websites every month. Yahoo itself claimed it attracted "more than half a billion consumers every month in more than 30 languages".
Once the most popular website in the U.S., Yahoo slowly started to decline since the late 2000s, and in 2017, Verizon Communications acquired most of Yahoo's Internet business for $4.48 billion, excluding its stakes in Alibaba Group and Yahoo! Japan which were transferred to Yahoo's successor company Altaba.
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