Choosing a Search Engine

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How to Search the Web

Learn how to find anything on the Internet with quality Web sites. Become a smarter, savvier searcher. FindingDulcinea also offers foreign language versions of this guide in Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

What Is the Internet?

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Web Site Credibility

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How Search Engines Work

Search engines are online software programs designed to help users locate relevant Web sites, and ... read more »

Choosing a Search Engine

Aside from Google, there are hundreds of alternative search engines, each with its own set of merits. Get tips on choosing a search engine and find some worth considering when your go-to engine fails you.

Insights for Choosing a Search Engine

  • A majority of search engines have features that allow users to search specifically for images, videos, news, blogs and much more. Links to these categories are generally found above the search bar, and need only to be clicked to activate the specialty search features.
  • Each search engine’s index of sites is unique; each has a different formula for spidering through them. This means there can be significant variation in the results that different engines generate for the same search terms. For example, visit the site Zuula. Zuula allows you to search across multiple platforms by putting them all in one location. After entering your search term, you'll be given a typical-looking results page. What makes it unique is that by clicking the tabs listed across the top of the page, you'll be given the results for your search term on each of the search engines listed. Google, Yahoo, Live, Gigablast, Exalead, Alexa, Entireweb, Mahalo and Mojeek are all in one place.
  • Many search engines draw on the technologies of a select few. For instance, HotBot provides a way to toggle between results on Yahoo, MSN and the visual search engine Lycos. AOL Search relies on Google, and according to Search Engine Watch, the results are very similar.
  • These sites represent a selection of the best search engines, and are certainly as much as most Web users would need. But as this continually updated list on Wikipedia demonstrates, search engines come in all varieties, and their number is vast.

Top Sites for Choosing a Search Engine

For an overview …
For general search engines (also known as horizontal search engines) …
For meta-search engines (search engines that compile results from other search engines) …
For vertical search engines (search engines that only search specific topics) …
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