A search engine is at its core a massive ever growing index or database of stored information on every possible topic imaginable.

In the internet world today’s current search engines have the ability to crawl, index and rank an incredible range of content that includes webpages, websites, text documents, images and even video.

Search engine’s while never disclosing their actual processing capacity have proven that they’re in fact able to crawl, analyze, index and rank content at truly break neck speeds, and speeds that are increasing in velocity every single day.

The term search engine refers to proprietary software using an algorithmic engine to search a database or index of information using queries which are keywords or keywords phrases inputed by a user.

You type a query into that little search box and your expectation is that the most relevant and personally useful piece of information within the particular engines index will be returned to you nearly instantaneously.

Now for 99.999999% of every single person that searches for a topic on Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other engine the results are all that matter.

The average user has absolutely no clue what level of technical and engineering expertise, intellectual & financial capital has been required and will continue to be required to power the back end architecture that enables the search engines to provide you with service in the first place.

The real test of a search engines usefulness comes down to one simple question.

Did you get what you expected on your screen after you pressed search ?

While this of course is a valued expectation of the user it’s often the most overlooked and least understood concept behind the entire field of not only search engine optimization but internet and search marketing.

User intent, the major search engines have spent billions of dollars utilizing some of the brightest minds in the world on intensely technical fields such as information retrieval (IR), computer programming, and algorithmic evaluation to deliver you just that “Your Intent”.

Search engines are used billions of times per day world wide for the sole purpose of providing high quality relevant and more often than not free information to a user on demand.

Search engines are able to retrieve relevant data based on the keyword or keyword phrase keyed into its search query box, and they accomplish it in less than a blink of an eye.

So what is a search engine?

A search engine is nothing more than one of the most critical advancements in modern history.

An efficient and robust search engine such as todays version of Google is the cornerstone of human evolution which is based on not only knowledge, but the unlimited commutative knowledge of man-kind which can be shared instantaneously by anyone for any reason with a cost structure borne by the end user as close to an actual cost of zero as is possible based on accepted economic measurements.

In fact one could argue without much protest that the knowledge transfer obtained by the typical end user in relation to the time spent and ease at which that knowledge was obtained would end with a net gain to the end user while providing net loss to the information’s provider, which in this case would be Google.

If you take a step back in your mind and dig a bit deeper into the enormity of the profound importance of the previous paragraph, one can easily conclude the following…

As the raw cpu processing power, cost of digital storage capacity and velocity of bandwidth augments while the cost structure and pricing models of each of these three core components continue to fall more end users will directly benefit with more accurate information retrieved faster and more cheaply by the same proportional ratio.

Therefore one can safely assume that not only are search engines here to stay they will rapidly become an ever increasing part of our digital lives. As more technology becomes cheaper & faster, more users will adopt that technology by the same ratio.

A key aspect of this basic economic formula that is often ignored are benefits that effect both the end user and search engines equally. These are actually on the computer hardware side of the equation. While in the first world countries we have thrived primarily on an expectation of excess, the rest of the world has progressed lets say some what more modestly.

Now I have no need to delve into the perceived deeper wrongs and rights of man kind and in fact myself can easily be branded in that category when compared to a uneducated villager living in one of literally millions of back water slums the world over.

The first world has produced and is literally continuing to produce and absolutely mind boggling number of computers. The first worlds model of commerce has made it imperative to not only strive for the best but own and possess the best. Upgrading to the newest model of notebook computer every year because of its toted advancement in any number of technical specification in addition to absolutely perfected marketing strategies is a clear and fairly common display of the western economic and cultural mindset in full effect.

While I really cant say that I’am impervious to the western infliction, typing this content out in my home office on the newest unibody macbook pro, sitting on a incredibly expensive top grain leather reclining sofa while networked to my MacPro which is attached attached to multiple 30” apple cinema displays.

Now I am not trying to come off as some sort of jerk, what I am trying to prove is a point. My current CPU load on my macbook pros processor is maybe 1% of its full processing potential, my other 99% that was marketed to me as the absolute must have upgrade will more than likely only be used for very specific programs and deal with specific processes that will never be utilized by the general public, which in fact this macbook pro is now heavily marketed too.

Therefore the task I’m doing right this very second would quite easily be handled on a computer that could easily be 5 or more years old, in fact it would be highly unlikely that i would even be able to notice any performance difference what so ever if typing this out on a 5 year old machine.

Doing your typical search on any of the major search engines puts the same kind of low level stress load and demand on your computing hardware, in fact it can be argued that with the power of today’s computer processors the demand put on a machine by simply typing out text or and email is hardly worth even measuring.

So what’s the point of all of this ?

Well the point is that in this global village we call home more and more people are able to obtain computer equipment that can easily serve their modest needs, which will primarily be based on having access to the world wide web and the knowledge and opportunity contained within it. To a greater extent these new users will be able to increase not only the quantity but quality of the information found online.

The used computer and to an even greater degree used mobile handset and smartphone market is literally exploding the world over.

With cheaper and easier access to communication networks both fiber optic and wireless, massive numbers of relatively isolated populations are getting not only a glimpse but a detailed view of the outside world.

For me at least the most profound and important aspect of all of this information is simple, when the rest of the world finally does get access to the communication networks that we take for granted every day, how will they find what they’re looking for ?

The answer is simple….

By typing keywords into a search engine just like you and I…..

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