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Search Engines are one of the fastest ways of finding out what you want - when you want, on the Internet. They are all free (except for some very specialized ones) and you can use them whenever the fancy takes you. If it helps, think of them as a massive index to the Internet - that you can browse to your hearts content!
Search Engines




Google.com          ** Very fast search facility - our favourite **








Different search engines operate in different ways, many of them however will search for ANY of the words you have entered rather than only finding documents which contain all the words. For example, if you do a search using the words old style telephone most search engines will think you are interested in any page which contains the word "old" OR the word "style" or the word "telephone" - which will mean that you will be offered hundreds of thousands of documents to sift through! Don't panic though if this happens, you are only offered about a page full at a time, so you can just start again with your search.

To ensure that the search engine will only list a document that has ALL these words you need to enter a + sign in front of each word. So your words would now be +old +style +telephone. This would give you a far more useful search because it would not list documents which did not have all of your chosen words in.

Another useful trick is to use the - sign as well. This tells the search engine not to bother listing a document which contains the "forbidden" word. So if we did our search on +old +style +telephone and then found there were endless documents about "an old style telephone exchange", we could add -exchange to our search and this would then filter these out for us.

Google automatically assumes you want documents with ALL words, so you do not need to use the + sign.

If you want to search for a phrase like "good condition", the search engine needs to know that this is a phrase and not two different words. To explain things simply; the sentence "It's not good, this is in a dreadful condition" would contain the two words, good and condition - but it is not likely to be what you meant. If however you enclose the two words in inverted commas like this: "good condition", then the search engine knows it has to see these words used together - and would have rejected the document that told you about something in a dreadful condition!

Try not to be too demanding in your search, in other words a search with +ivory +telephone +old +fashioned +style +"good condition" +"for sale" +very cheap" means that unless EVERY SINGLE word is found in the document, it will not list it. It may be that the page said "excellent condition" rather than "good condition". In short, unless your first search results in a large number of unhelpful documents, try not to narrow your search down too much!

When you visit one of the search engines, there will nearly always be a link explaining how to get  the best out of it - and other tips like those above to help you find the document (web page) you want as easily as possible. If you do not find what you are after quickly, it might be helpful to read the tips!

There are lots more search engines on the WWW, those shown are just some of the more popular. If you really want to know about how many others there are, you could always search for them...... with one of the other search engines!   Try doing a search with this phrase: "search engine" and see how many you find.