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Comparison of Content Providers and Search Engines
A Search Engine is a software system that provides a service to users of the Web. Long before you submit a search request, the Search Engine has already looked at every Web page on the whole Internet, and it creates an index. (Some also make an index for Newsgroups.) When you submit a text phrase to search on, the Search Engine looks in the index and reports to you all the pages that contain that text. Some Search Engine companies also have a set of categories that you can peruse to find what you want, but most require that you submit text that they match to their index. All of the Search Engines that come pre-defined in SearchPal provide free services.

While a Search Engine works with the content that it finds on the Web, a Content Provider actually creates Web pages and their content; it is more like a publisher. You access the content by starting at the main URL of their Web site, and then following links on those pages to the content you are interested in. Content Providers often give you some searching capabilities, but they apply only to the content at their site, not the whole Internet. Users usually access these pages for free, though Content Providers often have additional levels of access, with more content, for a fee. All of the Content Providers that are pre-defined in SearchPal provide at least some of their services for free.

Just to confuse things a little, Search Engine companies are beginning to offer their services on specialized topics (which sounds more like a Content Provider), while Content Providers are getting more sophisticated on how you can search for their content.

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Content Provider
Search Engine

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