The Tip of the Iceberg

Google isn't always the answer.

 If you're using Google or Bing or Yahoo! to search the Web, you may only be scratching the surface of what's available. Google, and similar search engines, only access what's known as the Surface Web. But, as the folks from Panda Security explain, there's a lot more out there if you know how and where to look. The Surface Web contains an estimated one billion documents. But there are many other items out there that Google can't find - in fact, it's estimated as many as 550 billion non-indexed documents exist on what's known as the Deep Web.

The Deep Web is often confused with the Dark Web. In reality, the Dark Web is a smaller, more private subset of the Deep Web that requires a special browser, like Tor. The Deep Web consists of items that typically can't be found using a search engine, but you don't need a special browser to find them, you just need to know the URL. Most Deep Web sites are not illegal or dangerous. Often, they are simply sites or web content that's been marked as private or have been password-protected. Things like Facebook photos that you marked for your eyes only or the contents of your email messages or your company's Intranet site are all examples of Deep Web content. Kelli Uhrich of provides some information about how to search the Deep Web and what search engines will be most useful.

Supporting Web Links
Discussion Questions/Activities
  1. Many people confuse the Deep Web with the Dark Web. These articles provide a good way to explain the differences to the class. Consider reviewing the infographic found in the Supporting Web Links section with the class.
  2. Divide the class into small groups and ask each group to explore two or three of the alternative search engines provided in Kelli Ulrich's article about searching the Deep Web. Consider giving the groups a set of topics to research so the results from each search engine will be comparable. Each group should create a presentation to show case the results from each search. How did the search engines differ from one another? How were they similar? Did one search engine seem better than the others? Would students consider using one of these regularly, instead of or in addition to Google?
  3. As an individual project, ask students to locate a recent news article about the Dark Web. Students should write a brief synopsis of their findings.


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