Whenever we find something that we do not know, or when we cannot find a solution to a problem, the first thing we do is search on Google. Google has become so close to our lives that it eventually has become a commonly used verb in the English language.
One would say “Google for tf-idf weighting in information retrieval“.
Can you imagine memorizing all the URLs of the web sites you want to visit? It becomes so confusing when it comes to URLs which have 50 or more characters in each. Search engines have made this task very convenient and user-friendly.
Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, have got so close to our day-to-day lives that we cannot imagine what we would do without them. However, do not forget that there was an era where there were no search engines at all. Let’s see how it was back then without search engines.
Before Search Engines
With the beginning of the Internet in 1950s, people got the chance to explore and search information. However, due to the diverse and vast amount of information available, navigating and searching has been a major issue. One could obtain the precise information needed only by asking someone who exactly knew where it is or eventually you would stumble upon the information after hours and hours of browsing.
Scientists notices these issues and came up with a solution that would crawl and index web sites in the Internet. Special agents named crawlers were used to retrieve web sites and index them to create directory structures, which stored relevant information about each web site. Initially, this process has been very tedious and sometimes this process has to be done manually. Later this crawling process was automated. These directory structures have become the basis to create modern day search engines.
How would life be without Search Engines?
What would happen, if by chance, the concept of search engines was not introduced? Our lives would be much more different than they are today. Let’s see a few aspects on how life would change if there were no search engines.
Even though the Internet would have existed, still people would have very little knowledge about what it is and how to use it. The Internet would have not been as big as it is now and would have contained less resources as compared to present. Many people would not browse the Internet for information as it will be very hard to navigate and search required web sites.
Miserable Student Lives
The major benefactors of search engines are academics. Life of students would have been very miserable if there were no search engines. Libraries would be much more crowded than they are now. Students would have to go to libraries to refer books in order to find study material. If the books were already borrowed, students would have to wait till the books were returned. Still it leaves the question of how to find the most relevant book to solve your problem. You would have to go through many books till you find what you want. So tiring for our lazy generation!!! 😮
Some students would tend to purchase books for their personal reference rather than waiting for a book to be returned. This would bring more business for book shops.
No free giveaways
No one would no about the practice of giving things away for free, such as free software (freeware) and eBooks, as no one would be able to find web sites which give things free of charge. You would not be able to instantly download resources as you can at present. You would have to surf the Internet until you find what you want.
If this does not work, people would have to visit stores and buy resources.
We should be thankful for those who have developed search engines as they have made our lives much more easier. They have enables to users to explore knowledge and is freely available for anyone to use.
Before Search Engines and the Internet – http://bjc.berkeley.edu/bjc-r/cur/social-context/apps/search/life-before-search.html?topic=berkeley_bjc%2Fapps%2Fapplications-that-changed-the-world.topic
The world without search engines – Search Engine People – https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/the-world-without-search-engines.html