- Relevant results (results you are actually interested in)
- Uncluttered, easy to read interface
- Helpful options to broaden or tighten a search
With this criteria, several of our reader favorites come to mind. These search sites should meet 99 percent of the searching needs of a regular everyday user.
Google is the reigning king of ‘spartan searching’, and is the single most used search engine in the world. While it doesn’t offer all the shopping center features of Yahoo! or the human curation of Mahalo, Google is fast, relevant, and the largest single catalogue of web pages available today. The search giant also tracks an incredible amount of information that many people don’t even know they are giving out.
Make sure you try the Google ‘images’, ‘maps’ and ‘news’ features… they are outstanding services for locating photos, geographic directions, and news headlines. P.S. If you don’t want Google to spy on you, protect yourself.
Duck Duck Go Search
At first, DuckDuckGo.com looks like Google. However, there are many subtleties that make this spartan search engine different.
DuckDuckGo has some slick features, like ‘zero-click information (all your answers are found on the first results page). DuckDuckgo offers disambiguation prompts (helps to clarify what question you are really asking). Plus, the ad spam is much less than Google.
Give DuckDuckGo.com a try… you might really like this clean and simple search engine.
Bing is Microsoft’s attempt at unseating Google, and arguably the second-most-popular search engine today. Bing used to be an MSN search until it was updated in the summer of 2009.
Touted as a decision engine, Bing tries to support your research by offering suggestions in the leftmost column, while also giving you various search options across the top of the screen. Things like ‘wiki’ suggestions, ‘visual search’, and ‘related searches’ might be very useful to you. Bing is not dethroning Google in the near future, no, but it is definitely worth trying.
Years ago, Dogpile preceded Google as the fast and efficient choice for web searching. Things changed in the late 1990s, Dogpile faded into obscurity, and Google became king.
Today, however, Dogpile is coming back, with a growing index and a clean and quick presentation that is testimony to its halcyon days. If you want to try a search tool with pleasant presentations and helpful crosslink results, definitely try Dogpile!
Yippy is a Deep Web engine that searches other search engines for you. Unlike the regular Web, which is indexed by robot spider programs, Deep Web pages are usually harder to locate by conventional search.
That’s where Yippy becomes very useful. If you are searching for obscure hobby interest blogs, obscure government information, tough-to-find obscure news, academic research, and otherwise-obscure content, then Yippy is your tool.
Google Scholar Search
Google Scholar is a special version of Google. This search engine will help you win debates.
Google Scholar focuses on scientific and hard-research academic material that has been subjected to scrutiny by scientists and scholars. Example content includes graduate theses, legal and court opinions, academic publications, medical research reports, physics research papers, and economics and world politics explanations.
If you are looking for serious information that can stand up in a heated debate with educated people, then forget regular Google… Google Scholar is where you want to go to arm yourself with high-powered sources!
Webopedia is one of the most useful websites on the web. Webopedia is an encyclopedic resource dedicated to searching technology terminology and computer definitions.
Teach yourself what ‘domain name system‘ is, or what ‘DDRAM’ means on your computer. Webopedia is absolutely a perfect resource for non-technical people to make more sense of the computers around them.
Yahoo! Search (and More)
Yahoo! is several things: it is a search engine, a news aggregator, a shopping center, an email box, a travel directory, a horoscope and games center, and more.
This ‘web portal’ breadth of choice makes this a very helpful site for Internet beginners. Searching the Web should also be about discovery and exploration, and Yahoo! delivers that in wholesale quantities. (By the way, here’s what happened to Yahoo! avatars and Yahoo! 360 in case you were wondering.)
The Internet Archive Search
The Internet Archive is a favorite destination for longtime Web lovers. The Archive has been taking snapshots of the entire World Wide Web for years now, allowing you and me to travel back in time to see what a web page looked like in 1999, or what the news was like around Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
You won’t visit the Archive daily like you would Google or Yahoo or Bing, but when you do have a need to travel back in time, use this search site.