Browser vs Search Engine…the difference?

July 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

Question: What is a browser?

Answer: A browser is a piece of computer software used to search for information on the World Wide Web.

Examples of browsers are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Apple Safari & Mozilla Firefox.

Internet Explorer is the most common browser and is the default browser that comes with any computer that is installed with Microsoft Windows.  But most people today aren’t happy with Internet Explorer.  It tends to be slow (using a lot of your computer’s resources), less safe from potential Internet threats, and lacking in many features and functions that anyone who actively searches the Internet needs today.

Mozilla Firefox is a favorite for anyone that has technical skills.  But don’t let that scare you.  You do not have to have technical knowledge to use Firefox.  Quite the opposite.  It is a great browser that uses less computer resources.  It provides you with a safe browsing Internet experience and give you some great features:

  • Remembers your logins & passwords (only if you tell it to).
  • Easily bookmark your favorite websites – you can create folders and organize your site (Internet Explorer does this too).
  • Export your bookmarks for safekeeping.  So if you have to change computers or reload Windows on your computer, you can easily re-import your bookmarks.
  • Easily open up new window “tabs” without having to open up a new browser window.  This is great for visiting multiple sites at the same time.
  • Keeps your most recently visited sites in an easy to access place.

Another Internet savvy favorite, but less known is Apple Safari.  Even if you run Microsoft Windows, you can still download this browser software and use it on a Windows computer.  It has a neat “Apple” feel and provides you with much of the same features as Mozilla Firefox.

Lastly, Google Chrome is the latest browser out there.  And it is fast becoming a favorite.  There are still quirks to work out, but it is extremely easy on your computer – not using many resources at all.  And it has many of the features of Firefox.  However, access to bookmarks is a bit cumbersome.  Hopefully they will have that fixed here soon.

Question:  What is a Search Engine?

Answer: A Search Engine is the program that is used inside of a browser.  And it seeks out information from all over the World Wide Web based on keywords that you input.

Examples of Search Engines are: Google, Yahoo, MSN, About, Altavista, Dogpile, and one of the newest Bing.  There are also many other Search Engines – these are just a sampling of the most used.

You do not have to download software to use a Search Engine.  You simply enter the Search Engine site address in the Address Bar of your Browser.  So for example, you would enter in http://www.bing.com to use Bing as your Search Engine.  To set up a specific Search Engine as your default page when you open up your browser, simply go to “Tools” at the top of your Browser, then click on “Options”.  A box will open up.  The first screen in that box shows your default “Home Page”.  Just enter in the web address of the Search Engine you would like to be your default.  Then click “Apply” and close then close the box.  Now when you open up that browser, the Search Engine you chose will come up automatically.

Bing is the newest Search Engine.  The goal of Bing is to:

  • Deliver great search results and one-click access to relevant information
  • Create a more organized search experience
  • Simplify tasks and provide tools that enable insight about key decisions

I challenge you to take a look at the various Browser and Search Engines.  Find one that fits your Internet browsing needs.  I personally use Mozilla Firefox as my Browser and Google as my default Search Engine.  I am contemplating using Bing for a while to see how I like it.

Until next week…

Kate Hagen

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