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EMPOWER: Using the Web: Browsers & Search Engines

Browsers

A web browser is a program used to view web pages. You can type a URL into the address bar of a browser and go directly to that web page.

There are many different browsers available and each has slightly different features. Some examples are:

  • Internet Explorer - Microsoft's browser for Windows operating systems
  • Safari - Apple's browser for Mac operating systems
  • Chrome - a browser made by Google
  • Firefox - an open source browser
  • Opera - a multi-platform browser for a wide range of platforms, operating systems and Internet enabled devices

Browsers also contain useful tools for helping you find and organize information. For example, you can bookmark useful web pages so they can be organized and easily revisited later. You can also use the "Find in Page" feature that will allow you to search for specific words or phrases in a web page instead of browsing through large chunks of text to find what you are looking for.

Try checking your browser's "Help" section to learn more about the tools available to you.

Search Engines

Search engines are tools that help you find what you want on the Web. They use algorithms (often called spiders or crawlers) that are programs used to compile a database of pages found on the publicly accessible Web.

When you enter a search, the search engine scans its own database to match your terms against terms in the pages of its database. So, each search engine searches the part of the Web it has collected - not the whole Web, but a large portion of it - and each has a somewhat different database which is why results can vary between each one.

Google is probably the most well-known search engine, but some others you might try are Bing.com and Yahoo.