How Search Engines Work

A look at what's under the hood of Google, Yahoo and Blekko

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Research has become infinitely easier with the internet.
When you want to find something online, do you Google it? Or Blekko it? Photo:Dan Foy (Flickr Creative Commons)
Lon Seidman
Seidman is the chief tech junkie at Photo:Chion Wolf
Where We Live: Search Engines
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Where We Live: Search Engines

Remember when we used to have to do “research?” You know, go into dusty library backrooms? Spool through microfilm of old newspapers? Save important information in overloaded file drawers?

Of course, the internet changed all that, with the advent of the “search engine.” The more that went up on the web, the more there was to search - and the better the search engines got, the more stuff went up on the web.

Now, it seems we have an endless amount of human knowledge, easily accessble in that little Google search box. But how does it get there?

And why do most of us “Google” something, and not “Bing” it? Why not Lycos or AltaVista?

Today, we’ll search for the answers to these questions:

So how do these search engines work? What are they looking for? And how do I know they’ll actually find the results I need?

And, we’ll talk to the founder of a startup search engine...ever heard of “Blekko?” It’s should...Google it.

***This show originally aired on May 11, 2012.***