Search engines provide an interface to a group of items that enables users to specify criteria about an item of interest and have the engine find the matching items.

A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. Search engines help to minimize the time required to find information and the amount of information which must be consulted, akin to other techniques for managing information overload.

The most public, visible form of a search engine is a Web search engine which searches for information on the World Wide Web.

A web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to (in Google Search) as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of web pages, images, and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained only by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running an algorithm on a web crawler.

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