Search engines has evolved a lot throughout decades. With the development of technology and society, search engines gradually become common to use in daily life. To define search engine nowadays, people would say it was like an encyclopedia that we could search anything online and the search results quite reflect the cultural and social points of views from the public site.
Before its commercial value came out, the function of its origin is quite simple, and the web page are full of spams without any filter. After Google comes out, the issue has been relieved, and a more efficient algorithm was invented which tends to offer more accurate searching results matched with what users want. (Edward Tenner, 2018) The useless, irrelevant and unreliable resources can be filtered out. This comes to help the students to do the academic research because they are able to find out the newest academic information according to categories.
Nevertheless, some issues of search engines also existed. In Baidu, many key words and information are hidden due to political sensitive issues. And another common problem of search engine is that the advertisements are inevitable and sometimes we may not be aware of the ads.
Historical Evolvement of search engines
In the internet era, search engine can be used frequently every day as a useful tool. It combines the function of collecting, analyzing, formatting, indexing, displaying and so on. Nevertheless, the concept of search engine at the first stage may be even blurred due to the lack of technology.
- In 1987, a technology was invented to search for only files on the internet, but it cannot search for the content on the world wide web. It is called Archie, designed by McGill University (“The History of Search Engines – A Timeline”, 2020).
- In September 1993, Oscar Nierstrasz in the University of Geneva devised Jughead which allowed most of the existing web pages to be searched in a format with consistent standards.
- In the same year on November, Aliweb (Archie Like Indexing for the Web) was launched and considered as the first search engine that allows webmasters to input the web pages and enter description of their pages. In this way, most of the time internet users can get to the websites according to categories and keywords (Hendy, 2020).
After that, the computers with internet became popular and commonly accessed in schools, home, and workplaces as well. At this stage, with the development of other internet technology and the rise of needs in efficient communication, search engines gradually took the place of web directories as well as the websites replacing books.
- The first time when money was getting involved was in 1994, Lycos invested a lot in brand advertisements such as tv and paid for the website editors.
- 1995 can be seen as the dawn for search engines because people gradually found out the commercial values of search engines. In the mainstream of search engines, Yahoo is the most successful one. The reason why it succeeded is not any new technology but is their humanized design of interface and its entertaining brand advertise.
At the end of 1997, a giant monopolist was launched.
The rise of monopolist and the other issues
Although Google’s appearance is a little bit later than other, it took the advantage of the early search engines’ problem like spams and privacy issues.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was invented which lead to revolutionary changes in search engine era. Instead of relying on the meta tag of keywords in a web page, newer search engines analyzed the content of a web page and defined its importance depending on how many times the keyword appears in the page.
In the following image, other facts of search engine optimization during innovation are shown.
And the key of success in Google is that it has a unique formula which can clean out the spammy keyword in web pages and rank the web pages with the level of trustworthy. For instance, a link from the BBC website will be considered as more important and trustworthy than a spammy hub page. Therefore, it will be listed at the top of searching results (Hendy, 2020). As the internet has been used more commercially and the media platforms developed, spam-free is gradually playing an important role in the internet era.
To update changes with the society, Google has a search quality evaluator guideline which can evaluate the feedback they received from the users and make the changes to be consistent. Moreover, vertical search limits the range of search (Halavais, 2013).
This video showed the main approaches of how google rank the search results. Apart from the algorithm that can filter the concise information, the main factors affect the searching results ranking are the location of the users and the publish time of the website. According to these facts, Google can give more accurate and useful results that we are actually looking for.
After 2000 when Baidu was launched in China, it stayed at the top position of search engine market in China. Its development was impetus by the advertisement industry and the Chinese government compliance. Different from Google, Baidu accept the request that the contents and resources shown on the search engine must be supervised by the Chinese government. In 2009, a long list showed the key words that were shielded and showed no result on Baidu related to the political issue such as protests, democracy, social scandals and so on (Shen, 2018). And the firewall in China also stopped people from receiving information from Google.
Search engines in our life
As an international student, it is unpreventable to use Google and the other foreign websites. The most important fact is that we can experience the big culture difference among China and other countries from various perspectives. The google search engine has provided a lot of convenience when I am dealing with academic research. Google search has different categories includes images, news, videos, books and even finance. This function could be really efficient when I need different kinds of sources in the assignment like infographic. Most importantly, I can search for some topics that are forbidden to be discussed in China. In this way, the range of information and resources I can get became wider which means that I may understand the topic from more comprehensive perspectives.
Nevertheless, since the search engines still need to earn money from advertisement. It is inevitable to scan the advertisements in the search engine page although they might add the tag of ads under the searching result. This phenomenon is extremely distinct in Baidu because the number of ads is too much. For example, when I search the University of Sydney in Baidu, there must be some advertisements of study abroad agency in the top 5 searching results. And there is a saying in China that people don’t want to search their symptoms when they are sick using Baidu because they are going to find out they are close to death. Although this is an exaggerating saying, people still find out that it is hard to distinguish whether the searching result of Baidu is rigorous and authoritative.
To be concluded, Google can be seen as a big winner from the innovation progress of search engines in the history due to its unique algorithm and humanized design. It has not only made people’s life more productive but also impetus the development of economics and media. For the internet users like students, search engines do the work of screening out the valuable sources. From the commercial aspect, the advertisements on the search engine pages allow the enterprises to broadcast. Last but not least, the media industry is also innovated because search engine created a great atmosphere for the media enterprises to compete and the quality of media information are required.
Halavais, A. (2013). Search engine society.
Hendy, C. (2020). The History of Search Engines. Retrieved 29 October 2020, from https://carlhendy.com/history-of-search-engines/#top
Shen, X. (2018). How does Baidu’s search engine compare to Google?. Retrieved 29 October 2020, from https://www.scmp.com/abacus/culture/article/3028703/how-does-baidus-search-engine-compare-google
Tenner, E. (2018). Search Engines May Seem All-Knowing, But They’re Not. Here’s How to Get More Trustworthy Results. Retrieved 20 September 2020, from https://time.com/5318918/search-results-engine-google-bias-trusted-sources/
The History of Search Engines – A Timeline. (2020). Retrieved 29 October 2020, from https://www.wordstream.com/articles/internet-search-engines-history