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As a SEO professional, one can easily assume that people understand things you consider to be “basic”. I recently had an epiphany (nothing earth shattering). The majority of people interviewed by Google did not understand the difference between a Search Engine and a Browser. Agh! How could that be?

In most cases the term is used interchangeably. For example: a Search Engine = a Browser or alternatively a Browser = a Search Engine. Bzzzz – wrong!

Here’s my definition:


This is a tool used to “browse” the Internet. For example: Firefox (my browser of choice) is used to peruse (browse) the Internet. The other current popular web browsers include: Internet Explorer (PC only), Safari (Mac only), Flock, Opera and the new Google Chrome (only available for the PC).

Browser icons
Popular Web Browsers

Search Engine:

This tool is used to search for information on the Internet. It resides within a Browser. The other current popular search engines include: Google, Yahoo! Bing and Ask.

Search Engine: Google

Google Search Engine

Simple enough isn’t it? Now you have something in your repertoire for the next time you are at a cocktail party or want to impress someone with your Internet expertise and knowledge!

The following Google “on the street” interview is both humorous – and somewhat shocking.

What is a Browser? Times Square, New York City, USA
And so is this one…

What is a Browser? Rotterdam, The Netherlands

I wonder how would Canadians do answering the same question?

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