• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

Search engine vs browser [What’s the Difference in 2022]

Search engines and web browsers are two forms of technology that depend on each other. A browser is required to use a search engine, and a search engine cannot deliver its results without a browser. In this article on search engines and browsers, we compare and contrast these separate but related technologies.

Key points to remember:

  • Browsers and search engines are not the same thing, but their functions depend on each other.
  • Running a search query does not search the entire internet, only the search engine’s index of URLs.
  • Web pages are HTML files. Browsers are applications capable of interpreting HTML files and displaying them visually on a user’s screen in an interactive format.

There are countless search engines on the Internet today, with Google being by far the most popular search engine. Each search engine has its own index and crawling method, so results will vary from engine to engine.

The same goes for browsers – although they all perform the same basic task, there is still a lot of variation from browser to browser. We’ll focus on the core features that make search engines and browsers what they are.

  • A search engine is a software system that takes user input and searches a database of indexed web pages. A browser is a software application used to access web pages on the Internet.

  • A web browser is an application that can access web pages on the Internet. A browser is software needed to use a search engine and display results in an interactive format.

What is a search engine?

A search engine consists of three main parts: a crawler, a search index and a search algorithm. The search engine takes the user’s information, searches an index of content available on the Internet, and returns results that match the user’s keywords.

How does a search engine work ?

It uses a program called a crawler to search websites on the internet and accumulate an index of URLs available on the web. The crawler will discover web pages and follow their embedded links to discover additional web pages.

google chrome

Google search engine is the most popular search engine in the world and Google Chrome is the most popular web browser.

Then, a mechanism called a search algorithm crawls the index to find and deliver the most relevant results to the user’s input.


The next phase of the search process is indexing. After crawlers discover web pages online, they compile the most relevant results into an index or into the search engine’s database of discovered URLs. It’s like a virtual library of web addresses.

When you search for something with a search engine, you’re not exactly searching the entire internet. Instead, you search that engine’s library of indexed URLs. Not everything discovered by crawlers will be stored in the index, and not all websites are discoverable by crawlers.

Some websites may not be indexed because they violate the terms of service of the search engine due to abusive behavior or because the results are not relevant enough. A web page that cannot be discovered and indexed by search engines is a deep web web page. That’s a whole other topic, so we suggest you read our Deep and Dark Web article for more information.

google results

The search algorithm ranks content based on link relevance to keywords.


Finally, search engines rank their indexed content. Ranking refers to the order of search results indexed by relevance. The websites at the top of the results page are determined to be the most relevant sites to the user’s query. The search engine uses algorithms to find the most relevant websites by finding sites with the same keywords as the user’s query.

What is a browser?

A web browser is a software application used to view and interact with websites or HTML files. A browser will contact a web server and use a graphical user interface (GUI) to visually display the website on the user’s screen.

firefox dark theme

Mozilla Firefox is one of the few major non-Chromium based browsers.

Once the user accesses a web page on the Internet, the user can interact with the content of the web page via mouse and keyboard. The browser usually saves a log of the user’s browsing history in its storage, along with cookies and cache data. The address bar of most browsers also serves as a built-in search engine.

We’ve taken the time to review all the major browsers and a few lesser known ones as well. Take a look at our best browsers article for more information on a selection of our favorite browsers.

How does a browser work?

A browser is an application that sends requests for information to web servers and displays the information on the user’s screen. Browsers fetch HTML files from remote web servers and interpret them as interactive web pages. Browsers can display content on web pages such as images, videos, text, and other types of media.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has been the most popular web browser for over a decade.

Browsers have come a long way since the early days of the Internet. Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator were among the first web browsers. They have since been replaced by modern browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

Today, most browsers come with a range of features that go beyond the singular ability to access and interact with content on the World Wide Web. For example, contemporary web browsers are generally compatible with additional tools that can be added to the browser, also called extensions.

Google operates the largest library of extensions in the Chrome web store. Today, most browsers also include basic security protections to keep users away from known malicious websites.

Web browser components

The main components of a web browser are its user interface (UI), browsing engine, rendering engine, networking component, UI back-end, JavaScript interpreter, and data storage.

Web page interaction controls make up the user interface. The user interface varies from browser to browser, but generally consists of an address bar to enter URLs, back and forward buttons, a bookmarks menu, and a button to refresh web pages or stop page loading.

Between the user interface and the rendering engine is the browser engine. It takes input from the UI and queries the rendering engine. The rendering engine reads HTML documents and displays the requested web content on the screen.

Many renderers are used, but the most common renderer is Blink, the engine used in Google Chrome and most Chromium-based browsers.

The browser’s JavaScript interpreter reads and executes any JavaScript code it finds in a website and sends it to the rendering engine to be displayed. Then, the network component performs the browser’s Internet communication tasks, such as sending HTTP requests to servers.

The UI backend is used to display basic functionality such as windows and combo boxes. It uses the user interface methods of the operating system to provide a generic interface.

The browser stores user data such as cache data, cookies, and bookmarks in a small database called the data persistence layer. Browser storage is located on a local drive on the user’s device. Browsers support a variety of data storage mechanisms, including WebSQL, IndexedDB, localStorage, and FileSystem.