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by Darlene Canning

This is the copyrighted property of its author ( About the Book: Contributing author).

Contents:
  • Trends in the development of search engines past, present and future.
  • Future enhancements to search engines, with particular attention to the semantic web and developing knowledge networks.

Part 1: Introduction

As the Web grows and the information world changes, search engines must continue to evolve and adapt to change. Although they have undergone considerable improvements, complaints and frustrations persist in searching the Web. Part of the problem arises from the fact that commercial search engines are capable of indexing only a small portion of the Web at any one time. The sheer volume of information limits what each search engine can retrieve. This unprecedented growth of information is only expected to continue. Web search engines must evolve and become even more intelligent to overcome the problem of size and many other challenges that are encountered in locating information on the Web.

The popularity of web search engines waxes and wanes based on the value of the information they retrieve. New search engines continue to appear and existing search engines constantly improve their searching capabilities. Consequently, new and greatly enhanced search engines with better functionality may surface at any time to compete with, or replace, the search engines currently in vogue. As the almost insatiable quest for information continues, new types of search engines are continually being developed.

So far, we have seen the emergence of what are called "second generation" search engines. In other words, the level of sophistication of these search engines sets them apart from earlier versions. Thus, we have seen a search engine like AltaVista lose its "best search engine ranking" to Google when Google developed an indexing tool with a better relevancy ranking. AltaVista only became widely available in 1995, and yet is credited with creating a revolution in web searching. It was both big and fast; furthermore, searches could be written in a natural language as well as a Boolean search statement. User satisfaction with web searching was greatly enhanced when AltaVista appeared on the scene.

The following table provides a rough chronology of significant events in search engine evolution to this point in time.

Timeline:
Important Dates in the Development of Web Searching

1990

  • Tim Berners-Lee launches the World Wide Web

  • Archie created by Alan Emtage at McGill University. Archie provided access to files that were stored on FTP servers. At that time, the primary method of storing and retrieving files was via the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This is still an accepted way for computers to exchange files over the Internet. Archie scoured FTP sites across the Internet and indexed the FTP files it found.

1993

  • Veronica and Jughead provided indexes to Gopher sites.

  • Lynx, the first text browser, appears.

  • Mosaic, the first graphical browser, becomes available. Marc Andreessen and his team at the National Center developed mosaic for Super Computing.

1994

  • This marks a major turning point in the development of the World Wide Web. Many events occurred that year which moved the Web to the public domain.

  • O'Reilly launches "Internet in a Box" which was designed to assist users to have access to the Web at home. That same year, many Internet Services Providers (ISP's) appeared on the scene.

  • Ed Kroll publishes his book Whole Earth Internet Catalog. This book brought the internet to the general public by describing the use of FTP, telnet and many other tools that would bring the internet and the world wide web to the lay user.

  • By December, Marc Andreessen has co-founded Netscape Communications and Netscape Navigator 1.0 has been released as a free resource on the Web.

  • Researchers at Carnegie Melon University launch Lycos.

  • Yahoo, Galaxy, Yahoo and Lycos all appear as search tools.

1995

  • Compaq computers are bundled with Netscape Navigator when sold.

  • Windows 95 computers are sold with Internet Explorer on the machines.

  • Alta Vista arrives and offers many advanced web search features

  • Excite and InfoSeek become available for the general public.

1996

  • Copernic, HotBot, Inktomi, and LookSmart all arrive on the scene.

1997

  • Google appears on the Web, a research project at Stanford University.

  • Ask Jeeves is launched as a "natural language search engine.

  • Northern Light is another new search engine with many improved features.

1998

  • W3C presents XML.

  • AOL buys Netscape.

  • Ask Jeeves is launched as a "natural language" search engine.

  • MSN is released by Microsoft.

  • Direct Hit appears.

1999

  • AlltheWeb is launched by Fast Search. AlltheWeb uses a spidering technology to spider and index pages rapidly.

2000

  • Teoma becomes available.

2001

  • Research Index appears as an academic computer science search engine that provides extensive citation analysis.

2002

  • Scirus is used  to locate significant scientific information on the web.

2003

  • ISIHighlyCited.com is launched. It claims to make it easy to identify individuals and departments who have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of science and technology.

2004

  • Yahoo's own webcrawler is launched.  Yahoo recently acquired the Inktomi webcrawler, AlltheWeb, AltaVista as well as Overture; this integration results in a greatly diminished number of major competitors in the search engine industry.

 


FREE SEARCH HELP

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Search Tool Guide

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ABOUT THE BOOK
FAQ's
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Overview & Contents
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Effective Internet Search: E-Searching Made Easy!      Baylin Systems, Inc., 2006