How to Search the Internet

by TechnoGrannyAnni

in Internet, You and Your Computer

Searching for information
The Internet system is complicated and there are many ways to find information, but for our purposes, I’ll try to keep it simple to understand.  If you want more in-depth information, use what you learn here, and go search for yourself!  Or we’ll talk about it more elsewhere.

I have heard the Internet compared to a telephone directory.  When you want a phone number you search in the directory (though now you can do this online, too).  And when you want a piece of information from the Internet, you search on your computer – you ‘surf the net.’

Search Engines
To find information on the Internet, there are programs called browsers – such as Internet Explorer or Firefox (see below).  Browsers use search engines to hunt through the billions of pages that contain the words or phrase that you have indicated, and then they display the results on your screen.

Your browser uses ‘search engines’ such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, which you may have heard of, and which are the most widely used.  There are plenty of other search engines for specific research on specialized topics, but when you are looking for general topics, like we are, these search engines are good options.

The search engines work 24/7 ‘crawling’ through all the information on the Internet.  They rank the pages, according to certain criteria, so that they display on your screen in order of value as determined* by Google, Yahoo, or Bing (in this case).

*It’s a complicated procedure and it occurs through a combination of human and technological participation.  We don’t need to know much more than that for now, but later, as we get more advanced, we will take a deeper look.

Internet Browsers
The most commonly used browsers are called ‘Internet Explorer’ and ‘Firefox.’

Internet Explorer (IE)
Sometimes called ‘Explorer’, is built by Microsoft and usually comes automatically as part of your computer’s operating system.  It has been the most widely used browser for many years.

Mozilla Firefox,

Usually known simply as ‘Firefox’, is considered by many to be the easiest and most intuitive browser to use.  It also contains extra built-in security protection for your benefit.

An added asset of Firefox is that it provides easier accessibility and navigation for users who are visually or motor-impaired.  For example, it doesn’t require as much use of the mouse, which can be very difficult for some users, and you can use keystrokes instead.  Significantly, Firefox is also the first browser to meet U.S. federal government requirements for accessibility of users with physical impairments.

Both browsers do the same job, and you will find that people have their favourites.  I use Internet Explorer, mostly because I always have – but I will undertake to try out Firefox and let you know what I find.

“Okay, but how exactly do I search?” you might ask.

Here’s how to search the Internet
In Figure 1 below, I am searching Google for ‘Internet browsers for Windows’.
Step 1.  I typed my search term in the Google browser line indicated by the red arrow at the top left of the page.
Step 2. The Google search page appeared on the screen with my search term – as indicated by the lower red arrow to the right.
Step 3. The number of searches and the time taken is highlighted in yellow: Google found 8,490,000 websites with my search term in 0.14 seconds.
That’s not only fast, but it gives you a sense of how many pages and websites there are … and that was only for one search term!
Step 4. You see a list of the top results surrounded by the red line to the left and along the top.
Step 5.  Choose the answer that seems to meet your criteria the best and click on the link to enter that website.
Keep clicking onto different websites until you get a satisfactory response.

Internet Search Page

How to Search the Internet | Internet Search |

Figure 1.

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