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A significant part of being connected to the Internet is having access to the seemingly unlimited amounts of information out there. As you probably know, the best way to find information you are looking for is to perform a search through a search engine. A search engine is an online resource that systematically catalogs the contents of the web, so that when you perform a search, it can bring up web pages matching the words or terms you were looking for. Search engines acquire their data by using programs called spiders, which scour the web following link after link, and creating a database of not just the words on the webpage, but also the order of the words, and their relationship to each other, or their proximity to other items like pictures or videos, which most search engines also catalog.
By far the most popular search engine is Google, but there are popular search engines out there like Yahoo! and Microsoft's Bing search engine. And searching is such an integral part of being on the web, the most web browsers have access to one or more of the most popular search engines built in. Just look in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window and you will see the field into which you can type your search terms. This saves you the time of having to first browse to google.com, or another search engine's web site. In most cases you can also change your web browser's default search engine. For example in Safari, you open Preferences and then under the General tab you can select from Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.
If you use a browser other than Safari, you can check your preferences to see if you have options like this available. So in the next couple of movies we will perform some actual searches and take a look at both basic and advanced search techniques.
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