Deep web has gained a lot of publicity lately and most Internet users seem to equate it with a pot of gold consisting of all the secrets now known to the common man! While this may be partly true, deep web is not necessarily as exciting as one may seem to believe. Thanks to the latest technology and top-of-the-line techniques, content that was once restricted is partly or even completely available to the common man.

What is Deep Web?

Now what exactly is deep web? Is it all the exciting information that is hidden from a common Internet user for reasons of security and confidentiality? Well, that may be partly correct. While deep web does contain some classified information and restricted content e.g. on black markets, mafia rings, private websites (password-protected sites) and the likes, it does not necessarily have to be interesting. Sometimes, the information contained in the ‘invisible’ web is simply there for other reasons; for example, webmasters may choose to hide their website’s programming details and technicalities from search engines, because such details are simply not interesting, and may have a detrimental impact on the site’s rankings.

Deep web is much bigger than the common, surface web we come across while conducting searches on Google and other search engines. In fact, it is considered as the biggest online source of structured data.

The Future of Deep Web

Over the years, researchers have devised a number of techniques to access content in the deep web. One of the popular techniques is known as virtual integration, where users are required to post queries which are then routed to the site in question. Another technique is known as surfacing, in which the submissions for each HTML form are pre-computed by Google and are added to the search engine index.

Google and other sites have started providing free access to scholarly papers and journals that used to be restricted in the past. Google Scholar, Google Book Search, Windows Live Academic etc., are some of the examples of such services that are providing free access to common web users.

More and more companies and publishers are entering into agreements with major search engines, which will make it possible for individuals to access content from centralized locations such as universities or other institutions. In the future, it is expected that part of the deep web would be accessible by fees or other means of authentication.



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