Browsers and search engines have been a part of internet for as almost as long as the internet has been around. They are in essence what allows us as users to browse the web and find our favourite websites to either do important research or waste hours and hours going down a YouTube rabbit hole and suddenly, we’re looking at what exactly a dragon fruit is and why it’s such a great ingredient in smoothies.
As you can see the possibilities are endless and the browser and the search and the enablers for these limitless possibilities. In fact, there’s a good chance the vast majority of the population may not even use the internet in their daily lives without these.
They’re quite important…
Difference between Browser and Search engine
Here I’d like to talk about the primary differences, the browser is going to be your tool for accessing the internet. Examples of browsers would be Internet Explorer, Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox and even Safari on your mobile devices.
A search engine however is a web page we open inside a browser and use to search the internet for other web pages. These are your Google and… there’s not really many others, everyone pretty much uses Google these days. There was a time when things like Bing and Yahoo were more widely used but Google essentially has a monopoly on search engines at this point.
What is a browser?
The exact definition of a browser is a computer program with a graphical user interface for displaying and navigating between web pages.
Essentially it is the program that allows us to access the internet and browse to a variety of different web pages. It can also be used to connect and configure your router for example as your router is on your network and therefore connected to you by the internet.
Browsers in recent times have become even better at helping us to navigate the web, with bookmarks to let us save out favourite websites, cookies to save our preferences on different websites and even things like extensions letting us block those annoying adverts…
What is a search engine?
The exact definition of a search engine is a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the world wide web.
Essentially, it’s a website for finding other websites. You enter a keyword or question, and the search engine will find the most relative websites for your query.
Search engines in most recent years are also doing way more than even before, looking at Google alone they not only have a search engine but a browser too. There search engine will even pull information from websites so you don’t even have to go to the websites themselves to gather the information. There are of course a few bonus features such as an “I’m feeling lucky” button to take you to the first website in the results page. There is of course a whole range of settings that I’m not going to mention here but they are there and provide a good level of customisation.
The differences for the two aren’t obvious as the names may not be indicative of there exact functions. They essentially have the same overall goals in helping users access the internet, but the browser is a higher level program and a search engine is a program within that to better help users browse the browser.
It’s a little confusing but it’s essentially a program within a program.
In conclusion the difference is small in some ways but quite substantial in others. Where the two have very similar goals for what they are doing they run very differently.
Where browsers are designed to give a user access to the internet a search engine is there to help a user search on the internet. Remember when you search in a task bar without a URL these are essentially just using a search engine to get results.
We hope this article was helpful and you now know the differences between the two!