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What are Search Engines and Web Browsers. How they work?

Watch Shubham Dumbre speaking on Search Engines and Web Browsers

Search Engines

A search engine is a service that allows Internet users to search for content via the World Wide Web (WWW). A user enters keywords or key phrases into a search engine and receives a list of Web content results in the form of websites, images, videos or other online data that semantically match with the search query.

How do they work:

Search engines can differ from one to another in their ways of providing the answers to the user but all of them are built on the 3 fundamental principles:

  1. Crawling

  2. Indexing

  3. Ranking

1. Crawling

The actual discovery of new webpages on the internet starts with the process called crawling.

Search engines use small programs called web crawlers (sometimes called bots or spiderbots) that follow links from already known pages to the new ones that need to be discovered. Every time a web crawler finds a new webpage through a link, it scans and passes its content for further processing (called indexing) and continues in the discovery of new webpages.

2. Indexing

Once the bots crawl the data, it’s time for indexing – the process of validating and storing the content from the webpages in the search engine’s database called “index”. It is basically a big library of all the websites. Your website has to be indexed in order to be displayed on the search engine results page. Keep in mind that both crawling and indexing are continuous processes that take place over and over again to keep the database fresh. Once the webpage is analyzed and saved in the index, it can be used as a search result for a potential search query.

3. Ranking

The last step includes picking the best results and creating a list of pages that will appear on the result page. Every search engine uses dozens of ranking signals and most of them are kept as a secret, unavailable to the public.

Popular Search Engine

1. Google

Google is the biggest and most popular search engine in the world.

Owned by its parent company Alphabet, Google dominates the search engine market with over 90 percent market share worldwide.

With all its features that include sophisticated algorithms, effective crawling, indexing, and ranking, Google provides excellent search results not only within its own search engine, it powers some other search engines as well (e.g.

2. Bing

Bing is the second largest search engine. It was launched in 2009 and it’s owned by Microsoft.

Although it is impossible to compare Bing as a real opponent to Google with only 2 – 3 percent of the overall search engine market share, it is still a great alternative for those who would like to try something different.

Microsoft Bing is in many ways similar to Google, providing search result types like images, videos, places, maps or news.

3. Baidu

Baidu is the most dominant search engine in China. Even though its overall worldwide market share is barely 1 percent, it represents over 80 percent of the market share in China with billions of searches every day.

Baidu is similar to Google in many ways. It provides classic blue links with green URLs and shows rich results the same way as Google does.

4. Yahoo

Yahoo is a popular website, email provider and the third biggest search engine in the world with almost 2% of the overall search engine market share.

Once a very popular and dominant search engine, Yahoo was dropping in value over the years and became somewhat overshadowed by Google.

Nowadays, Yahoo competes with smaller search engines such as Bing or DuckDuckGo.

5. Yandex

Yandex (from the term “Yet Another iNDEXer”) is a search engine that is popular mostly in the eastern countries.

Although it has less than 1 percent of the overall search engine market share, it is one of the most popular search engines in countries like Russia (with over 60 percent of all searches in the country), Turkey, Ukraine or Belarus.

Similar to Google, Yandex provides various types of services including Maps, Translator, Yandex Money or even Yandex Music.

Safe Search Engine

1. DuckDuckGo (DDG)

DuckDuckGo is an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo does not show search results from content farms. It uses various APIs of other websites to show quick results to queries and for traditional links it uses the help of its partners (mainly Bing) and its own crawler.

Below are the Unique features of DuckDuckGo Search Engine:

  1. In DuckDuckGo, the user is not tracked nor is the IP address tracked, as a result nobody can take advantage of the search history.

  2. DuckDuckGo forces sites use an encrypted connection wherever available, which again protects the user from data breach.

  3. DuckDuckGo search is anonymous, as a result each time the one uses it the search history is clear, leaving no trace of information.

  4. There is a feature in DuckDuckGo called the Smarter Encryption, which basically means that more of user's browsing will use encrypted connections (HTTPS), shielding it from any potential hacker or data breacher.

  5. DuckDuckGo offers one page search result with infinite scroll that implies till the time a user scrolls down more search results will keep on appearing.

2. Startpage

Startpage is the world’s most private search engine. It highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature. It also allows user to obtain Google search results while protecting user's privacy by not storing personal information or search data and removing all trackers. Startpage also includes Anonymous view browsing feature that allow users the option to open search results via proxy for increased anonymity.

Benefits to using a private search engine include:

  • You never have a search history.

  • No retargeting ads based on prior searches and browsing history.

  • Decrease your digital footprint and what Big Tech knows about you.

  • Avoid higher prices and price trackers targeting your location, device, and history. Prevent targeted, biased content based on your search and browsing history.

  • Receive objective, unprofiled news and search results.

  • Peace of mind that your search is only known to you.

3. Qwnat

Qwant is a European web search engine, launched in July 2013 and operated from Paris. It is the only EU-based search engine with its own indexing engine. It claims not to employ user tracking and doesn't personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble. It is available in 13 languages.


  1. To prevent the massive sale of personal data, the Brave browser blocks advertisements, trackers and cookies by default. This makes the pages that the user visits much faster to load and makes Brave the fastest browser on the market, whether on mobile or computer.

  2. With a browser that blocks tracers and malicious scripts, you will save time. To prove it, Brave provides statistics in its dashboard on the number of trackers and cookies blocked, ads blocked, sites spent in HTTPS and time saved in minutes.

  3. Brave allows you to erase your digital footprint (IP Address, Machine and Browser Configuration) with the integration of Tor in its private tabs.

4. Searx

Searx is a metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users. Searx does not share users' IP addresses or search history with the search engines from which it gathers results. Tracking cookies served by the search engines are blocked, preventing user-profiling-based results modification.


- Searx may not offer you as personalised results as Google, but it doesn't generate a profile about you

- Searx doesn't care about what you search for, never shares anything with a third party, and it can't be used to compromise you

- Searx is free software, the code is 100% open and you can help to make it better.

5. Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt is a private search engine. It uses local encryption and expiring search history to offer perfect forward secrecy. Private search engines generally don't track your search history or link your searches to a 'data profile' about you.


  1. Search Encrypt helps avoid filter bubbles. We do not follow you around to the sites you visit to serve ads. As a result, we don’t personalize or tailor your search results based on your past browsing. This helps avoid the dreaded filter bubble effect.

  2. Search Encrypt offers perfect forward secrecy. When you’re done searching, your searches are in encrypted form forever. You won’t have to worry about your searches leaking in the event of a hack or data breach.

  3. Use advanced end-to-end encryption. We encrypt everything, from beginning to end. This means no one can spy on your searches. It is this encryption that sets Search Encrypt apart from the big search engines on the internet.

  4. Privacy By Design. When Search Encrypt was originally developed, it was already a privacy-focused product. This means that each feature and function of Search Encrypt was intended to be private. We never had to try to add privacy as an afterthought.

  5. Neutral and Unbiased Search Results. Private search engines deliver unbiased information. They don’t determine what you’re most likely to click on based on your past browsing behavior. Since we don’t track your browsing history, all we use to determine the search results and the ads you see is your search term you typed into our search bar.

Web Browsers

A web browser, also known as an internet browser or simply a browser, is a software application that lets people access the World Wide Web. It’s a one-click window to the entirety of human knowledge — you can search for the answer to any question you might have.

With a web browser, you can browse any website and easily navigate to other sites, similar to how you can browse stores at the mall, lingering in those you like before moving on to visit new ones.

How does a browser work?

A web browser sends and receives information (data) to and from other parts of the web. The information received is displayed in your browser window. Data is transferred using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http), the method that governs how text, images, and video files are transported around the web.

To display information graphically on your device, web browsers feature a user interface, also known as the frontend, where you can click, scroll, and navigate around web pages and websites.

To send and receive data, web browsers also have a less-visible side called the backend. The backend (servers, databases, applications) sends your requests out across the internet and carries the data received back to you so that you can connect to and interact with the websites you want to visit.

The frontend is clean and elegant, as shown in the pictures of web browsers above and from your own experience as you browse the web with your favorite browser. The backend is the scaffolding that supports your browser’s functionality, ensuring that information is processed safely and smoothly.

Popular Web Browser

1. Google chrome

With 70% of global market share, Google Chrome is the most popular web browser. Chrome’s popularity can be partly explained by its fast browsing speeds and easy integration with your personal Google account, making it the most convenient browser for many people. And with the largest library of extensions among the leading browsers, Chrome is also an extremely easy internet browser to modify and customize.

2. Apple safari

Safari is the default web browser for all Apple devices: Macs, iPads, and iPhones. While most people don’t have Mac computers, many have iPhones and iPads. In fact, Safari is the most popular mobile web browser in the US. And while using a computer clearly offers a much different experience than a mobile device, Safari’s look and feel is consistent across Apple devices.

3. Microsoft Edge

Replacing the old and outdated Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge is Microsoft’s new flagship browser. This web browser comes standard with any device using Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Edge is built on the Chromium browser platform, which also underpins Chrome and other browsers as well.

4. UC Browser (Universal Control Browser)

UC Browser is a cross-platform web browser primarily targeted at mobile phones. It is known for its small app size and data compression technology, making it popular in emerging markets where people tend to have mobile phones with more limited device memory and internet bandwidth.

5. Opera

While never the most popular browser, Opera has built a steady user base over the years. This is due in part to the unique features the browser offers, such as a built-in proxy and ad blocker.

Safe Web bowser

1. Brave

Brave is a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Software, Inc. based on the Chromium web browser. Brave is a privacy-focused browser, which automatically blocks online advertisements and website trackers in its default settings. It also provides users the choice to turn on optional ads that pay users for their attention in the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) cryptocurrency. Users can then send contributions to websites and content creators, which support BAT in the form of tips along with the ability to keep the cryptocurrency they earned.


1. Shields

  • Ad blocking

  • Fingerprinting prevention*

  • Cookie control*

  • HTTPS upgrading*

  • Block scripts*

  • Per-site shield settings

  • Configurable global shield defaults

2. Security

  • Clear browsing data

  • Built-in password manager

  • Form autofill

  • Control content access to full-screen presentation*

  • Control site access to autoplay media

  • Send “Do not track” with browsing requests

3. Search

  • Choose default search engine

  • Use keyboard shortcuts for alternate search engines*

  • Option to use DuckDuckGo for private window search*

4. Playlist

  • Make a playlist. Right in your browser

  • Save now, watch or listen later

  • On a flight, a commute, or a road trip to nowhere

  • Any media, any stream

5. Brave Rewards

  • Earn by viewing private ads

  • Tip your favorite creators

  • Contribute monthly to sites

  • Auto-contribute to sites

  • Verify with Uphold and move funds in and out of your wallet

  • Become a verified creator and start earning BAT from tips, contributions and referrals

6. Tabs & Windows

  • Private Windows

  • Pinned Tabs*

  • Auto-unload*

  • Drag and drop*

  • Duplicate*

  • Close Options

  • Find on page

  • Print page

7. IPFS Integration

  • Browsing without intermediaries

  • Access content directly from the IPFS network

  • Resolve ipfs:// URIs natively or via a gateway

  • Install a full IPFS node in one click

8. Address Bar

  • Add Bookmark

  • Autosuggest URLs

  • Search from address bar

  • Autosuggest search terms

  • Show/hide bookmarks toolbar*

  • Show secure or insecure site

9. Extensions/Plugins Brave Desktop now supports most of the Chrome extensions in the chrome web store

10. Brave Firewall + VPN Unlike many browsers that offer VPNs which mask a user’s IP address, Brave’s Firewall + VPN, powered by Guardian, offers enhanced security and privacy by encrypting and protecting anything users do while connected to the Internet.

  • Block trackers across all apps

  • Protects all connections

  • We never share or sell you info

  • VPN server does not know who you are

2. Tor

The Tor Browser is a web broswer that anonymizes your web traffic using the Tor network, making it easy to protect your identity online. If you're investigating a competitor, researching an opposing litigant in a legal dispute, or just think it's creepy for your ISP or the government to know what websites you visit, then the Tor Browser might be the right solution for you.


  • If you use Tor correctly, your real IP address cannot be determined by the websites you visit.

  • You can access websites without your internet service provider being aware of your browsing history.

  • You can bypass many kinds of censorship.

3. Waterfox

Waterfox is a browser based on Firefox code. The following reasons contributed to the success of Waterfox:

  • It was the first 64-bit browser on the web.

  • It not only offered better speed, but also gave users freedom and control to run any extensions or add-ons they like, including traditional XUL Firefox extensions and NPAPI plug-ins like Java and Silverlight.

  • Waterfox promised that no data or telemetry would be sent to Mozilla or the Waterfox project, and ensured enhanced privacy and security.


  • Compiled with Clang + LLVM on Linux.

  • Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) is disabled by default.

  • Web Runtime is disabled (deprecated as of 2015)

  • Pocket is removed.

  • Telemetry is removed.

  • Data collection is removed.

  • Startup profiling is removed.

  • All 64-bit NPAPI plugins are allowed.

4. Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is nothing but a Web Bowser, with which one can access the internet. The web browser lets one access information in form of text, audio, images, and videos from all around the world. Mozilla Firefox was developed by Mozilla Foundation in 2002 under the Phoenix community. Nowadays, it is called Firefox only as it is derived from Mozilla Web Browser it is also known as Mozilla Firefox.


  • New Tab page: great content at your fingertips.

  • Search everything with the unified search/address bar.

  • Page Actions menu: Bookmark, snap, save or share.

  • Private Browsing with Enhanced Tracking Protection: Browse fast and free.

  • Keep your Firefox in sync

5. Iridium

Iridium Browser is a browser based on the Chromium project. This is the same project that Google Chrome is based on. The difference is that the Iridium team modified the code to make it respect your privacy. Iridium is not a fly-by-night project. It is backed by the Open Source Business Alliance. According to Iridium, the OSBA has around 190 members.

Features and Functions to improve privacy:

  • Disable "Use a web service to help resolve navigation errors"

  • Disable autocomplete via prediction service when typing in Omnibox

  • Always send the "Do-Not-Track" header

  • Network / DNS prediction is disabled by default

  • Block third-party cookies default

  • List of get plugins from where it will be updated regularly

  • Site data (cookies, local storage, etc.) are only saved until exit, by default

  • Passwords are not stored by default

  • Input form autofill is disabled by default

  • The default search provider is Qwant

  • Load "about: blank" in new tabs instead of the currently established search engine and / or promotions.

  • Failure to report safe browsing overrides.

  • It does not make use of the autocomplete download service.

  • Disable cookies for secure browsing background requests.

  • Disable the Battery Health API.

Difference Between Search Engine and Web browser



A search engine is used to find the information in the World Wide Web and displays the results at one place.

Web Browser uses the search engine to retrieve and view the information from web pages present on the web servers.

Search engine is intended to gather Information regarding several URL’s and to maintain it.

Web Browsers are intended to Display the web page of the current URL available at the server.

A search engine contains its own database

No database is required in Web browser. It contains only cache memory to store cookies.

Example of famous search engines are: Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckgo, Baidu Internet Explorer.

Some of the widely used web browsers are: Mozilla Firefox, Netscape Navigator, and Google Chrome.

For more information related to this article let us know. Reach us at or Social Media @thetechplatform. Subscribe us for more articles and posts.

Sofia Singh

The Tech Platform

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