⏐214 Effective Screen Reading
Search Engines on the Internet
In 2000, the estimations on the number of registered Web pages
varied from around 4 to 5 billion. However, when the actual
calculation was done in 2002, scientists discovered that many
more pages existed than had been previously believed: the
search found over 550 billion pages. The amount of new pages
is obviously accelerating all the time.
There is so much information on the Web that any single
search tool can only find a fraction of it. More than 20,000
different search engines are currently available. These search
tools often specialize in particular areas and their use differs
from one another, as does their coverage across the Web. For
example, AltaVista can index about 2 to 3 billion addresses,
while Google has a coverage of about 7 to 8 billion pages.
However, even the best search engine will only cover a fraction
of the total.
It is no wonder, therefore, that a special “breed” of search
tools—metasearchengines—has emerged. These engines use
various individual utilities at the same time. In a metasearch,
Web search engines are simultaneously put to work together.
When confronting today’s mass of information, we are almost
compelled to resort to these “wonder machines.”
Search Tips—Stop Searching and Start Finding
Closely follow what new developments take place, and use only
the most effective tools. Check regularly the recent news from
Search Engine Watch (www.searchenginewatch.com), which
also carries a listing on specialty search engines. Use the right
tool for your search and you will find what you want quickly and
effectively. If you have difficulties finding key words, but know in
which category the item belongs, you can resort to engines
(such as Yahoo) that show pages hierarchically in vast themes.
If you want to have plenty of results, HotBot and AltaVista are
effective in showing a multitude of pages. However, if your
search is of a special nature, you should find a “specialist”
engine. These are small, limited search tools that often have
expert knowledge in narrow subject areas.
Observe accuracy and write exact key words and phrases in
the search field. Avoid using general words, because these will
give you a vast amount of results. When you encounter prob-
lems like receiving too many hits or wrong pages, sharpen your