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Search Engines
Your Key to Browsing the Internet

So you have just connected with Fullnet. If this is your first time online you may be wondering what to do next. Many newcomers to the Internet limit themselves to their browser’s homepage or to a few pages linked to that homepage. They are not sure how to find anything else. That’s sad! In today’s world the Internet consists of billions of pages of content. It’s a fascinating place. Every conceivable subject is covered. Shopping, banking, art, music, movies, travel, education, medical advice, taxes, etc. So how do you find what you are looking for amongst all those pages? Search engines are the answer to browsing around the World Wide Web (WWW) successfully.

There are many search engines on the Internet. The six that are listed above are just a few of the better known ones. They all work in pretty much the same manner. The user types a word (or words) to look for in a search box and then submits it to the search engine. The search engine responds with a list of web sites that contain the words that were submitted to the engine. Depending on what you search for you could get hundreds of “hits” or just a few.

Here is an example of what I get when I search Google using “Travel Destination Orlando”:

Perhaps my choice of search words wasn’t so great because 1,870,000 web sites contain the three words I searched for. Even so, on this one page I have links to everything I need to plan a great trip to Florida! Now lets try Yahoo using the same words:

The Yahoo results look a little different. More importantly, we don’t see the same web sites on both searches.

Some sites show up on both searches but are ranked differently. Why? A simplistic answer is that the search engines have different ways of collecting and indexing information about the sites. The search rankings are also influenced by the fact that some search engines allow web site owners to “bid” their web sites up to a higher ranking with a system they call “pay per click”. It’s a very complex process and the person who can figure out how to get a “Top 10” ranking consistently on all of the search engines should become very wealthy. By the way, the “sponsors” you see on the right side of both of the above searches are essentially advertisers. They pay quite a bit to be listed there so as to try and get your attention and business.
Now that you know a little about search engines which one should you use?

The Fullnet staff likes to use Google for several reasons:

  • It searches 4,285,199,774 web pages for content.
  • It searches its database on all those web pages in seconds.
  • It gives us answers to support problems that we have not encountered before.
  • The Google toolbar

This is a quick way to search. A new toolbar is added to Internet Explorer so you don’t have to go to Google.com each time you want to perform a search. The toolbar also includes a pop up blocker to stop some unwanted advertisements from coming up while you are surfing. By clicking the down arrow next to the “Search Web” button you can limit your search to pictures, news groups, news articles, stock quotes and “Froogle” which is a shopping search engine. The toolbar also has an “AutoFill” function. Give it your name, address, phone number, and email address and then any time you run in to a form on the Internet that asks you for that information just click on the “AutoFill” button. The form will automatically be filled out for you. If you do any shopping on the Internet this tool will save hours of time!

If you are interested in adding the Google toolbar to your browser you can download it here: http://toolbar.google.com/.

If you have wireless Internet on your palm pilot or cell phone, you can search WAP websites. WAP is a slimmed-down version of websites so you can view them on a small screen. Google can also search for I-Mode, J-Sky and EZweb websites.

Google even has spelling correction. Forget pulling out a dictionary and searching page after page or using a dictionary website. Let Google do the work for you. Just type a word in the search field and click search or hit enter. If Google thinks you have misspelled the word it will try and correct it for you. Here is an example:

I can now click on bologna if that is what I really meant to search for.

The last (but not least) reason for using Google is the fact that many of our users use http://www.fullnet.net as their Internet home page. Fullnet has made it easy for you to search by putting Google on our web site:

This concludes our discussion on search engines. Try some of them out and see which ones best suit your tastes and needs. One caveat before you start trying them though. There are some search engines that may try and “hijack” your browser. They change your settings to force visits to web sites of their choice. The settings changes may keep your browser from working at all. They may also try and install “adware” or “spyware” on your computer. These programs cause pop up advertisements and gather information about your browsing habits. So be careful. The Google toolbar is safe to download but beware of downloading anything from sites you are not sure of. And if you see any messages asking if they can change your “Home Page” or “Default Search Page”, your answer should be “NO”!

Welcome to FullNet and we hope your Internet experience is a pleasant one!

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