Jul
27
2009

What good general-purpose Internet search engines are there other than Google?

Mykl Roventine photo. CC-BY.

Mykl Roventine photo. CC-BY.

Those of us who have been using the World Wide Web for a dozen years or more can remember how incredible Google was when it first rose to popularity — it finally became possible to find what you wanted on the web, and quickly. Google became the powerhouse it is today because what it did it did extremely well.

So popular has Google become that it’s easy to forget that it isn’t the only game in town when it comes to general-purpose search engines. Whether any search upstart — or one of Google’s competitors that has been around longer than it has — can ever become a major rival to Google remains to be seen. But you can be sure that the following search engines, listed in alphabetic order, are hoping you’ll check them out to see if they can do better. Their features are changing all the time, so if you aren’t impressed now, check back in a few months:

AltaVista was once one of leading search engines. Although the company is concentrating its efforts in other services, its search engine remains accessible.

Ask.com started out as Ask Jeeves, made you could type in questions rather than search terms. Although Ask.com is now more of a traditional search engine, it still supports natural-language questions.

Bing is Microsoft’s entry into the browser wars and is prettier than most to look at. It replaces Microsoft’s earlier Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search.

Duck Duck Go claims to be extremely fast to use. It presents a shorter list of results than most search engines and is designed so the answer to your question may be on top of the results page.

Cuil, pronounced “cool” and said to be an old Irish word for knowledge, claims to search more than three times as many pages as Google does. Its results are frequently accompanied by thumbnail pictures to provide visual cues to the nature of the sites.

Excite has been around for ages in Internet terms. These days it seems dated, but it still works.

Yahoo Search is the granddaddy of search engines — before Google came around, Yahoo had the most complete directory on the web. Change is in the air, however, as Yahoo soon will be using Bing’s technology as part of a partnership designed to challenge Google’s dominance.

Do you have a favorite search engine not listed here, or have you come across a new one? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments section below. We at Quezi and Uclue are happy to discover new ways we can get information in our research.

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