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What is the difference between a web browser and a search engine?

Published: May 1, 2012

WHAT IS A BROWER?
A web browser is considered a software application that allows people to access, retrieve and view information on the internet.  The information that may be “browsed” can be in the form of text content on a web page, an image, video, audio etc.   The most popular web browsers currently in use are Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari. 


HOW DOES A BROWSER WORK?
The process begins with the user inputting a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) like http, https, ftp, file etc. (example: http://www.computer-geek.net/).. The browser then displays the resource by passing the HTML (main markup language for web pages) to the browser’s layout engine to be translated from markup to an interactive document that you can view on your screen.


WHAT IS A SEARCH ENGINE?
The main purpose of a search engine is to search for information on the Internet.  They are software programs that search for websites based on keywords that the user types in.  The search engine then goes through their databases of information in order to locate the information you are looking for. The main search engines currently be used are Google, Bing, and Yahoo.


HOW DOES A SEARCH ENGINE WORK?
Search engines send out “web crawlers” or “spiders” (automated computer programs that browse the internet in a methodical and automated manner) to create a copy of all the web pages they have been to so the search engine can then index the pages to create web site listings that facilitate faster searches.  A user types a query into the search engine and the search engine then sorts through millions of pages in its database to find a match to that specific query.  The search engine then produces the results to your query in a ranked order according to relevancy.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
You basically use a Browser to access information on the Internet while you use a Search Engine to point you in the right direction of a website that relates to the words you type in.   You actually have to use a Browser to get to a search engine, for example; typing in www.google.com which will then take you to the google web page.  A very clever person used this analogy – If you are sitting in your car, the browser would be your windshield and the steering wheel would be the search engine.



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