When we search the internet, it’s common for Google to return 35 million hits in less than 1/2 a second. Wow! Now that’s fast. How is this possible? Does Google actually have the ability to search the world wide web in less than a second?
The answer is no. Google cannot search the world wide web that quickly. No search engine can search the internet that quickly. Not Yahoo, not Google, not even Microsoft’s Bing. So what’s really going on when we do an internet search?
When information is stored in a database, results from a search can be returned in an instant. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo have created a database to store information about internet sites. Programs called “web robots” are designed to crawl all over the internet, gathering information from every web site they touch, storing the gathered information in a database.
Although we may feel like Sherlock Holmes every time we search the “internet”, we are not really sleuthing the internet, but rather we are searching a database filled with the information gathered by these web robots.
This is why Google can supply you with 74 million hits in 1/2 of a second when you search for the term “boats”, 7 million when you search for “doberman puppies” and 500 million hits for an “iPad” search. Try it! You can see the number of “hits”, and how long (or short) it took Google to find them directly under the search box on www.google.com.
As you have probably figured, the whole internet is not stored in the Google database. No, instead these web robots gather only certain information from the crawled web sites such as it’s name, keywords, description and image names. Other information may be collected as well, and stored in the Google search engine database.
Each of us can search the Google database, and find information as quickly as the database can retrieve it. In fact, as you type, Google is updating your search results at each keystroke.
So why am I writing about how Google and Yahoo and Bing store information for internet searches?
How would you like to channel your inner Sherlock allowing you to search your own computer files as quickly as you search the internet?