Searching with google& co

Searching sounds very demanding. But at the end of the day, we do it every day: we want to know something and we ask around. We ask someone, look in a book or on the internet. We take the step from "wanting to know" to "researching" when we need information for a presentation, a scientific paper or a newspaper article. Whether it’s a short Internet query or an extensive search, the same thing always happens. And the rules are the same.

Assess source of information

We only believe information whose source we consider to be reliable. If the parents of a student always knew the right answer to his questions, then the student will continue to ask his parents and believe the answers to be true. If we have often found the headline of a major boulervard newspaper to be exaggerated and not very credible, then we will not believe the newspaper in the future. What we often intuitively get right, we can consciously ask: how credible is a source??

Use different sources

For journalists, the basic rule is: always consult at least two sources. But that’s a lot of work and takes time. Most people are happy to get an answer to their question. However, depending on the subject matter, it is advisable to consult another source. Behind certain information there can be massive interests. There is therefore no harm in comparing information from professional and trade associations, from clubs, from government or political parties and from companies with neutral information. Today, the internet offers fast and comprehensive possibilities – you just have to use them. information can also be found in books or magazines. Talking to a knowledgeable person in person is also a legitimate way to get information.

Consult original sources

much of what we read (in newspapers or on the internet) is actually second hand. This means that the author did not see or experience it himself, but copied it from somewhere else. For example, from a press release, another newspaper, a book or the internet. Studies have shown that around 75 percent of all information that users disseminate on the net ultimately comes from the "traditional" media of newspapers, television and radio (i.e. second or third hand). However, information is always most reliable when you get it directly from someone who has seen or experienced things for themselves. In a pinch, it’s easy to pick up the phone.

Gettyimages/eva katalon kondoros

Google& co – what you should know about search engines

Who is google?

The search engine google was founded in 1998. it derives its name from the mathematical expression "googol" = 10 to the power of 100. what was new about google at that time was that the search (with a now patented) algorithmic process, the pagerank, determines the relevance between the search term and the search results, primarily based on the links from other pages. The basic idea behind this approach is that websites with good quality content are linked to significantly more than websites with inferior content. So the more other sites link to a website, the higher it will be ranked. not only the relevance of the search results was a new feature of google, but also the simple user interface and speed. The company grew quickly and now has 32.000 employees, annual sales of just under 40 billion euros. dollars, the company’s stock market value is 120 billion. euros (for comparison: daimler-benz has over 270.000 employees, makes about 100 billion dollars. euro turnover and has a stock market value of 40 billion. Euro). The "google" brand is one of the most valuable brands in the world, along with apple, coca-cola, IBM and microsoft. Google also places internet advertising via its subsidiary doubleclick.

How does google work?

a search engine does not search the entire internet, but only a part of it, the world wide web. Other services on the internet such as z.B. e-mail, data transfer (FTP), chats or internet telephony are not searched. Performing a search on the WWW is technically more complicated than it seems at first glance. In the background, three processes take place in order to be able to answer a search query:

1. Capture
search engines are constantly gathering and storing new and changed information on the world wide web. This is done by so-called crawlers (also called spiders or search robots). a crawler is a system of software and hardware that systematically and continuously searches the internet, collects the information available on the internet pages and then stores it on the servers of the search engine.

2. Information processing and indexing
this collection of data is now being processed so that an index can be efficiently compiled. The index is the core of every web search engine. It is comparable to the keyword index of a book. The search engine index contains index terms on the one hand, and on the other, information about the websites on which the terms appear. The search index is therefore a virtual directory that contains billions of references to web pages.

3. information provision
when a user enters a search query, it is not the internet that is searched, but only the index of the search engine; it can be searched much faster and more efficiently. Finally, the most relevant results are presented in a list. An important trick to speed up the search process is to cache results of frequent searches, d.H. Not to search the index every time anew, but to fall back on already "finished" search results.

A search engine searches almost the entire WWW – but only almost. There are pages that a search engine can not list. In principle, only those websites that are publicly accessible can be found by search engines. Pages that do not allow a search (by a specific command) cannot be found by the search engine. Even very new sites are not (yet) listed in the search index. A few pages are also removed manually, z.B. If you violate any laws or regulations for the protection of minors, or if you are ordered to do so by a court of law. Spam sites or sites that try to manipulate the algorithm are also sometimes blocked.

Other search engines

Generally speaking, search engines can be divided into three different types: index-based search engines, catalog search engines and meta search engines. The most common type offers an index-based search. The best-known examples of index-based search engines are google, bing, yahoo and ask. Bing was launched in 1998 by microsoft (then called MSN). In early 2010, yahoo announced that it would be using bing’s algorithm in the future. basically, there are only two globally relevant search indexes: google’s and bing’s (microsoft). The advantage of index-based search engines is the speed with which the respective search result lists are displayed and the size of the index.

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