For example, Lycos has been around much longer than Google, yet Google is the most popular
search engine on the Web. Why is that? Most likely because people find that, when searching the
Web, Google provides better search results.
The difference in those search results is all in the search algorithm used to create the search engine.
Most primary search engines are also more than just search. Additional features such as e-mail, map-
ping, news, and different types of entertainment applications are also available from most of the pri-
mary search engine companies. These elements were added long after the search was established, as
a way to draw more and more people to the search engine. Although those features don’t change the
way people search, they might affect which search engine people choose.
Overview of Google
Each of the major search engines differs in some small way. Google is the king of search engines, in
part because of the accuracy with which it can pull the results from a search query. Sure, Google
offers all kinds of extras like e-mail, a personalized home page, and even productivity applications,
but those value-added services are not what made Google popular.
What turned Google into a household word is the accuracy with which the search engine can return
search results. This accuracy was developed when the Google designers combined keyword searches
with link popularity. The combination of the keywords and the popularity of links to those pages
yields a higher accuracy rank than just keywords alone.
However, it’s important to understand that link popularity and keywords are just two of hundreds
of different criteria that search engines can use in ranking the relevancy of web pages.
Overview of Yahoo!
Most people assume that Yahoo! is a search engine, and it is. But it’s also a web directory, which
basically means that it’s a list of the different web pages available on the Internet, divided by cate-
gory and subcategory. In fact, what few people know is that Yahoo! started as the favorites list of
the two young men who founded it. Through the acquisition of companies like Inktomi, All the
Web, AltaVista, and Overture, Yahoo! gradually gained market share as a search engine.
Yahoo!, which at one time used Google to search its directory of links, now ranks pages through a
combination of the technologies that it acquired over time. However, Yahoo!’s link-ranking capabil-
ity is not as accurate as Google’s. In addition, Yahoo! also has a paid inclusion program, which some
think tends to skew search results in favor of the highest payer.
Overview of MSN
MSN’s search capabilities aren’t quite as mature as those of Google or Yahoo! As a result of this imma-
turity, MSN has not yet developed the in-depth link analysis capabilities of these other primary search
engines. Instead, MSN relies heavily on web-site content for ranking purposes. However, this may
have a beneficial effect for new web sites that are trying to get listed in search engines.
The link-ranking capabilities of Google and Yahoo! can preclude new web sites from being listed for
a period of time after they have been created. This is because (especially where Google is concerned)
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