A search engine or search service is a document retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system, such as on the World Wide Web, inside a corporate or proprietary network, or in a personal computer.
Search engines use regularly updated indexes to operate quickly and efficiently.
The very first tool used for searching on the Internet was Archie.
The name stands for "archive" without the "v".
It was created in 1990 by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal.
The program downloaded the directory listings of all the files located on public anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites, creating a searchable database of filenames; however, Archie could not search by file contents.
While Archie indexed computer files, Gopher indexed plain text documents.
Gopher was created in 1991 by Mark McCahill at the University of Minnesota: Gopher was named after the school's mascot.
Because these were text files, most of the Gopher sites became websites after the creation of the World Wide Web.