Search engines


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Search engines

A stock image of a selection of different search engine web pages

What's coming up?

Remembering the address of every website you want to visit on the internet would be impossible. That's where a search engine comes in handy.

In this activity, you will learn about search engines, and how they can help find what you're looking for on the internet.

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What a search engine does

A search engine is like a directory for the internet. When you need to find a website or information on a particular topic, you can use a search engine.

The web browser that comes with every smartphone, computer and tablet will have a search engine already setup, so it can be quick and easy to get started.

Some of the most popular search engines are:

A computer screen displaying the Google search page
A Google search for Dalmatians using the search bar

How to search

Starting a search can be easy. The first step is to open the web browser on your device and type what you're looking for into the big Search bar.

If you're looking for information on Dalmatian dogs, for example, you could type Dalmatians into the Search bar.

The search engine will look for web pages with information that matches your search, and show a page of search results. Each result will be a link to a web page. Clicking on a link will take you to that web page, and information about your search.

A computer screen showing the search results of a Google search on dalmatian dogs
Two options to search using a web browser address bar and a search engine search bar

Other ways to search

The web browser on your device may let you search from the Search bar of its in-built search engine, but there are other ways to search too.

Use a Search engine website

Type the web address of a search engine into your web browser Address bar, then make your search from the search engine's website. You might enter, for example, then type what you're looking for into its Search bar.

Use the Web browser Address bar

Type a search term into the Address bar of your web browser, and its in-built search engine can perform the search for you. This means you can type a search term into the Address bar or Search bar of your browser.

A close up of a search for Dalmatians using the web browser address bar

Performing a search

It's time to see a search in practice ... and to find out more about dalmatians!

Click Continue to watch the video on the next screen.

Performing a search

This demonstration video is approximately 1 minute 30 seconds in duration. It demonstrates how to perform a search on the Google search engine.

Once the video starts, the intro panel fades and we see the screen is split into two parts. On the left-hand side is an animation of a web browser awaiting a web address to be typed in the address bar. On the right-hand side, there is text displayed, which is the script for the voiceover track.

Voiceover: "We are going to use the Google search engine to find out about Dalmatians. To begin, let's type the address into the web browser address bar"

The left-hand panel updates to show being typed into the address bar. The web page updates to the Google page, including its search bar.

Voiceover: "Next, type Dalmatians into the Search bar and press Enter on the keyboard."

The left-hand panel updates to show dalmatians being typed into the search bar. The web page updates to display a list of search results about Dalmatians.

Voiceover: "A list of search results appears, showing links to web pages with information about Dalmatians. The most relevant web pages will be near the top. You can click on one of the links to go to a web page about the search topic."

The left-hand panel updates to scroll down the results page and the mouse pointer clicks on the Dalmatian (dog) - Wikipedia link. The web page updates to display the Wikipedia page on Dalmatians.

Voiceover: "We will get better results if the search is more specific."

The left-hand panel updates to go back to the Google search page.

Voiceover: "For example, you might type in Dalmatian breeders in Australia into the search bar to find more specific information."

The left-hand panel updates to show Dalmatian breeders in Australia being typed into the Google search bar. The web page updates to show a list of pages matching the search term.

Voiceover: "There's another way we can search as well. We can type the search term into the web browser Address bar and it will perform a search."

The left-hand panel updates to zoom in and scroll up to the top of the page to display the browser address bar and we see Dalmatians being typed in. The page updates to show a results list matching the search term.

Video ends.

A stock image of a Google search page


You've completed the Search engines activity.

A search engine is your gateway to the internet, and as you use it you'll get to know how it works and how you can get better results by refining your search terms.

Next up, if you have registered and are logged into the Be Connected website, you'll now be able to take a short quiz to finish the What is the internet? course. If you're not registered, you are now at the end of the course.