Top 5 alternative search engines
Google has 50 percent of the US search engine market, Yahoo! has 28 and Microsoft 13. But there are several other search engines available. Here are the 5 best.
Ask is the largest of the small search engines with some 5 percent of the US market. Ask is something of an oldtimer in the search engine industry. When Yahoo! and MSN grew into bloated portals where the search box seemed an afterthought, Ask continued to provide a 100 percent search focused service with uncluttered user interface and relevant search results.
They still do after 10 years. The main page contains a search box and a convenient but unobtrusive set of tools. The tools menu can be configured and lets you search for image, news, weather, blogs, feeds, maps, shopping, stocks and more.
The search results page suggests way to narrow your search. Some results are adorned with a small image of binoculars. When you point your mouse to this image, a preview of the web page in question pops up. There is also a wide array of tools and answers that show up in the search results pages when relevant.
Gigablast has a huge index and some nice advanced search options, although not terribly advanced. In addition the search engine provide directory search using The Open Directory, blog search and travel search.
A tool called Giga Bits helps you narrow your search. It works like this: If you search for the word “chocolate”, Giga Bits suggests “chocolate bars”, “chocolate gifts”, “recipes” and more. If you select “recipes” it goes on to suggest “cookies”, “fudge”, “deserts” and more. A tool like this can be particularly handy if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.
By adding ?raw=9 to the end of the URL of any search result page, you can create an RSS feed.
http://www.gigablast.com/search?q=chocolate+%22Recipes%22?raw=9 gives you an RSS feed for chocolate recipes.
The Factbites search engine doesn’t just search for web sites that match your search term. They search the whole topic area. In this way it can return relevant results on your topic that don’t necessarily mention the word you searched for.
The search results are presented in a way slightly different from your average search engine: Every site is described by up to three meaningful, complete sentences from the site in question. This means that you can often gain information on a topic without having to leave the search page. And when you select a page, you can have much more confidence that the page deals with your topic.
Exalead is a European search engine. It has some very handy advanced search options and a new way of presenting search results. The advanced features include truncation, proximity search, stemming, phonetic search, and language field search.
The search result page is brimming with information. In the left column, you can narrow your search by choosing related terms or related categories. The middle column contains the search results and in the right hand column you find thumbnail images of the web pages. You can choose to display only the search results or only the thumbnails.
Clicking a search result or thumbnail opens the web page in an small window. If it’s not what you were looking fore, you just close it and your search results are still there.
Like Exalead, Snap wants to deliver visually enhanced search results. It gives you text on the left and web site previews on the right. In this way you don’t have to click through every search result to see what you’ll get, but have a chance to “look before you leap”.
You can move up and down the list of search results using the arrow keys on your keyboard or the scroll wheel of your mouse. Snap also offers a live preview on the right. You click the image and the web site loads — either inside the Snap window or in a new browser window.
Pandia Powersearch’s list of search sites contains more alternative search engines.
Note that all these search sites have their own crawlers and build their own search indexes. There are other alternative search sites that are powered by one of the big search engines (AOL is, for instance, powered by Google) or that delivers search results mixed from several search engines (metasearch engines like Clusty or Pandia Metasearch). Go to the bottom of our metsearch page for a list of metasearch engines.