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Which search engine when?
Sometimes you’re not always going to be sure as to which search engine is best for the job. In this section I’ve tried to put together a collection of search engines which do specific things - find images, social media search and so on. Hopefully you’ll find one or two engines that do the job for you!
Major types of search engine
Keyword Search engines
You know what you're looking for, and can describe it with some key words or phrases.
Google is always a good bet, since it has the largest index
Yahoo Search is the second most popular keyword search engine
Bing may provide results if the other two don't work
DuckDuckGo is generally seen as the major competitor outside the big 3
Exalead is a good choice and makes a change from the big 3
Index or Directory based search engines
These search engines arrange data in hierachies from broad to narrow. Good if you need an overview of a subject or you're not entirely sure of what you want.
The Open Directory Project provides access to 16 main categories
Multi or Meta search engines
These search engines are useful if you need to run a comprehensive search quickly across a number of different engines, to compare results or to suggest search engines that you may not have tried before. The majority do a Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask search (GYMA, or GYM search depending), but there are differences.
Goofram for Google and Wolfram Alpha
Heapr for Google, Twitter, Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia
Ixquick has a nunber of UK based engines in its collection
Izito 6+ standard free text search engines used
Kedrix Provides options for Bing, Yahoo, Twitter, Indian and Chinese engines.
Mamma been around for ever, good reputation
MyAllSearch You can choose from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask (Jeeves), Yandex, Lycos, Metacrawler, Entireweb and DuckDuckGo.
Scour GYM search, + vote and comment on results
Search!o wide variety of different engines; 10 in total
Searchboth Compare 2 search engines at once, eight options
Sputtr has 36 different option.
Soovle for Google, Wikipedia, Answers, YouTube, Ask, Yahoo, Amazon
Trovando is a first rate choice and a personal favourite. 33 options
Zuula 11 different search engine options
Visual results search engines
Rather than a simple textual list of results some search engines will provide content in a visual format. This is great if you want a change, or to view results differently. These engines also appeal to students and children.
Cluuz provides network results
hashtagify.me This is a nice little search feature for hashtags on Twitter.
oSkope uses Amazon, ebay and Flickr images displayed as thumbnails
Quintura for kids is an engine offering a tag cloud based on results
RedZ provides an arc of webpages you can flick through
Simploos The method of displaying webpages is by horizontal scrolling, with an automatic sliding to make it simple to the searchers.
Spacetime is like RedZ but larger thumbnails
TouchGraph for Google
Yometa takes the results from Google, Yahoo and Bing and displays them in a Venn diagram
Category search engines
Some search engines will create categories for you to narrow or expand your search criteria. This is good if you don't want to think, or need some help in areas that you don't know that well.
Carrot Clustering is an engine which provides options in various categories
Clusty provides clouds, sources, sites and time results.
Gigablast provides some suggested terms/phrases
iZito provides topics to narrow a search
Zapmeta gives users basic options to narrow searches
Comparing results from different engines
These search engines will run searches for you across a number of different engines (like multi search engines) but they point out the relative positions of results.
Blindsearch See which one works best for you!
Draze compares Google, Yahoo and MSN with one search
GrabAll allows users to compare any 2 of 8 search engines
Thumbshots Ranking compares results from Google, Yahoo, Alltheweb, AltaVista, MSN, Teoma, Wisenut.
Yabigo compares Yahoo, Bing, and Google
Re-ranking search engines
Some search engines will allow you to re-rank search results yourself. They're rather thin on the ground however, and have limited functionality.
Exalead Advanced re-ranks by date
Scour allows you to re-rank by search engine
Google will re-rank based on your interests automatically if you're logged into the search engine
Getting information about a site is much easier than you might imagine. Lots of search engines provide access to a wealth of information in this area.
Alexa provides traffic details and related sites
Better Whois shows ownership for top level domains
Popuri.us to check link popularity of any site on many factors.
The Wayback machine may be able to show you an archived version of a site
Websiteoutlook for how much a site is worth, pageviews etc
If you can find one site that provides you with information that you need, you'll be able to find others using these search engines.
Similarpages finds similar sites.
Similar Site search finds similar sites
Siteslike to tag, rate and share similar websites
Tastekid Music, sites, books, everything!
News search engines
The majority of search engines now provide access to news based resources under a 'news' tab. Since this is reasonably common I haven't included all of these and have focussed on those resources that look specifically at the news. Other engines will look at ways in which users are able to search by date or look for trending information and so on.
News search engines
10x10 provides visual blocks of data for 10 subject areas.
Addictomatic for hot topics on the net. Popular culture rather than current affairs
Alltop updates popular topics every hour.
BBC it's the BBC - what else to say?
Congoo real-time news, networking and information portal
Crayon - Create your own newspaper
Good News Network. This site has various news sections, just like regular news sites, with top stories, RSS, a subscription service, inspirational quotes and so on.
Google news over 4,000 news resources
Happenr searches for news and events in Europe
LexisNexis legal news Top stories, national/international news.
Newseum for todays front pages from 88 countries
Newsmap is a great visualisation news resource.
NewsNow covers hot topics, current affairs, world news, business, finance etc.
Newspaper archive from Google, which they're not updating.
OnlineNewspapers from around the world.
Paperboy for over 6,000 newspapers world wide.
Redtram for over 4,500 sources in English
Reuters News covers everything you need to know
RocketNews Top news headlines from around the globe
There are times when only a fact will do. The following are resources that point you towards facts, or will collate facts in a particular area for use. Of course, before using a fact, double check it if necessary!
Answers.com Good standby. Viewed by many as the resource for facts
Conversions Convert things into other things using natural language
Factbites is good for very specific search terms
FindHow provides information on how to do different things.
References.net is a good collection of links to excellent resources
Wolfram Alpha - A "computational knowledge engine," WA searches facts and does calculations based on its own database of "curated" facts
Zanran helps you to find ‘semi-structured’ data on the web. This is the numerical data that people have presented as graphs and tables and charts.
Hidden, invisible or deep web search engines
Much information on the net is not indexed by traditional search engines since the data is held in a format (such as databases) that the engine can't index. However, there are a few resources that can point you in the right direction.
Biznar is a free, publicly available deep web search engine that uses advanced "federated search technology" to return high quality results by submitting your search query - in real-time - to other well respected search engines then collating, ranking and dropping duplicates of the results
DeepDyve has aggregated millions of articles across thousands of journals from the world's leading publishers. Commercial product unfortunately.
Infoplease is an information portal with a host of features. Using the site, you can tap into a good number of encyclopedias, almanacs, an atlas, and biographies.
Mednar.com, the world's most comprehensive, public medical search web portal.
OAIster emphasis on academic material
Ofelio. Search for RSS feeds. Over a million listed.
Search engines for children
I'm not any kind of expert on children, so I don't profess any particular skill in choosing engines for this category. They are all however designed with children in mind, and I've tried some obvious 'naughty' searches and am satisfied with the protection they offer. However, I would advise parents to try these out for themselves before letting their children loose on them!
AOL Kids is an AOL search engine for children
Awesome Library organizes the Web with 37,000 carefully reviewed resources, including the top 5 percent in education.
Cybersleuth Kids search the internet. Search guide for K-12 students
Extreme Kids directly for k6, 7-12
Famhoo is a family friendly search engine
Gogooligans for children and teenagers. Well recommended.
KidsClick! directory listings, chosen by librarians
KidsKonnect is a directory based search engine.
KidRex It's based on a Google custom search engine running in safe mode, with additional website data.
Kidsites is a directory based engine aimed at younger children
KidsOLR directory based Online Resources engine.
Mid-Continent public library websites for children
Open Directory for children and teenages
Quintura for kids very attractive space and lots of fun
Yippy is a family friendly search engine.
Sometimes it's necessary to be absolutely sure that you've got the right content. Some search engines take more care over this than others by limiting the resources they use to good quality tried and trusted sources.
Librarians' Index to the Internet sites are chosen by librarians
The World Wide Web Virtual Library provides access to virtual libraries
Most content in search engines comes from what they find on webpages, and these could have been written by anyone. There are times however when it's necessary to get high quality information provided by or for academics and students.
ChemSpider for over 10,000,000 chemical structures.
Google Scholar provides access to scholarly articles
Lexis Web for legal content
Mednar for Innovative medical search
Refseek Academic search engine for students and researchers. Locates relevant academic search results from web pages, books, encyclopedias, and journals.
Science Accelerator for the US Dept Energy
Science.gov for US govt. science information
Science research one stop source for scientific research
SweetSearch is a Search Engine for Students.
Vadlo for medical powerpoint content
Worldwide Science a global science gateway