Search engine

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Concept.png Search engine 
(computation technology)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Search engine.jpg
Search engines are websites that record and index webpages in order to handle user searches, presenting a list of them to users who input a search term.

Search engines for the World Wide Web have increasingly attracted the interest of those interested in manipulating public opinion, particularly since about 2000. Censorship of search engines is harder to detect than social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.


Google, funded by the American intelligence community (NSA/CIA/DARPA) was an early and high popular search engine.[1][2][3]

Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google’s ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.[4]

It originally avoided "sponsored results" (advertisers who bought their way to the top of the rankings) and did little advertising, but focused on providing good search results. As of 2021, it remains the most popular search engine.


Search engines inevitably prioritise certain pages over others - i.e. put them nearer the top. Some search engines may publish a few details of their ranking algorithms, but for almost all the exact details are a closely guarded commercial secret. One exception is Gigablast, a small search engine which publishes its source code on Github.

Subject-specific Blocking

Some search engines carry out subject-specific blocking of certain domains - not returning results from a particular domain in response to particular search terms. This is a form of internet censorship which might be motivated by a variety of situations (e.g. copyright infringement or other such legal issues) but could also be used to try to prevent public access to specific information.

As of January 2018, neither Google, nor StartPage returned any hits in the top 100 from the ISGP site for the search term "Dutroux Affair" (without quotes).StartPage only had 81 hits and had only 40.[5][6] only the top #100 were searched on Google. This is interesting since Yahoo[7], Bing[8], DuckDuckGo[9], Yandex[10], Ecosia,[11] and Gigablast[12] all returned the ISGP page of this name amongst their top 10 hits.



Page nameStartDescription
Ask.com1996One of the earliest search engines.
Baidu1 January 2000The Chinese #1 search engine
Bing3 June 2009The Microsoft search engine
Dogpile1996Alternative search engine
DuckDuckGoA search engine that claims not to track its users, and which does not appear to be censoring this site as much as Google
Ecosia2009"Green" search engine
Gigablast2002An open source search engine written in over 500,00o lines of C/C++. In 2019, Martin Wells warned against using the code.
GoogleGlobal Internet/Skynet conglomerate
MetaGerA metasearch engine focused on protecting users privacy
Mojeek2004Independent search engine
Naver1999South Korean search engine
Presearch2017Decentralized search engine that takes in community feedback in it's development.
Qwant2013A French-based search engine with its own indexing engine. It claims that it does not employ user tracking or personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble.
Searx2014An open source decentralised search engine
StartPage1998Search engine in cooperation with Linux Mint
Webcrawler.comMeta search engine
Yacy2003An open source decentralised web crawler
Yahoo!January 1994Old search engine and web company
YandexRussian version of Google, multilingual search engine