Have you ever wondered what the difference is between web browser and search engine?
Many people use web browser and search engine interchangeably and while everybody understands what is meant, they are actually not the same.
A web browser is a software that runs on your local computer and you use to type in your question and browse the results. The search engine is a web application that runs on a set of web servers and allows to search for relevant content.
You will probably be familiar with Internet Explorer. Created by Microsoft, Internet Explorer is the standard web browser installed on all Windows based computers and notebooks. If you are a Windows user you may have also come across Bing, another one of Microsoft’s creations and their native search engine.
Let’s say you open your Internet Explorer, your web browser, and type in your question. The moment you hit the SEARCH button the search engine Bing is taking over and does all the heavy lifting, searching for results for your question. All suitable answers are then shown in your web browser, in this case Internet Explorer, and you can browse through those results.
But Microsoft is not the only company with a web browser and search engine in offer. Google is for sure the most famous search engine of all and more people are using it with the help of Google’s in-house web browser Chrome. Check out some fun Google tricks here.
In other words, Google’s Chrome web browser is competing with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s Google search engine is competing with Microsoft’s Bing.
There are a range of web browsers and search engines out there. For example Internet Explorer, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera and Safari to name a few web browsers and Bing, Google, Yahoo!, Lycos and Baidu to name a few search engines.
Now, technically any web browser can use any search engine. For example, Internet Explorer can use the Google search engine, and Chrome can use the Bing search engine. Or, the browser doesn’t have to use a search engine at all, if you know where you need to go on the web.
There are companies that have both solutions in-house, like Google and Microsoft. But other companies only have one of the two and will rent/use the other part of one of the companies out there.
Some web browsers allow you to chose your preferred search engine. For example, Apples Safari allows you to switch your browser’s default search engine from Google to something else. The choices are Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo.
To recap, the basic function of a web browser is to offer a search field allowing you to type in your question and then listing the answers, which you can then browse or surf.
The job of a search engine is to search for answers to your query and send those to the web browser to be listed and displayed in a format that is conveniently readable by us!