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1.4. Google Basics

Generally speaking, there are two types of search engines on the Internet. The first is called the searchable subject index. This kind of search engine searches only the titles and descriptions of sites, and doesn't search individual pages. Yahoo! is a searchable subject index. Then there's the full-text search engine, which uses computerized "spiders" to index millions, sometimes billions, of pages. These pages can be searched by title or content, allowing for much narrower searches than searchable subject index. Google is a full-text search engine.

Whenever you search for more than one keyword at a time, a search engine has a default method of how to handle that keyword. Will the engine search for both keywords or for either keyword? The answer is called a Boolean default; search engines can default to Boolean AND (it'll search for both keywords) or Boolean OR (it'll search for either keyword). Of course, even if a search engine defaults to searching for both keywords (AND) you can usually give it a special command to instruct it to search for either keyword (OR). But the engine has to know what to do if you don't give it instructions.


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