The Most Popular Single Search Engines:
Less well-known but Useful Search Engines:
The Best Search Engines:
Google: for fast searching
Hotbot: for all around searching
Excite: for "conceptual searching"
Northernlight: for "custom search folders" for narrowing choices to specific categories.
AltaVista: for looking for everything that's been written on a limited topic
About.com for This is a directory with dozens of specialty areas, each moderated by a human "guide." The mental health guide is Leonard Holmes, Ph.D. When you search About.com, you are directed to specialty sites, news items and discussion forums on the topic that you choose.
The Best MetaSearch Engines:
Savvysearch : for customized searches using up to 100 search engines
AskJeeves : for using natural language questions (e.g.,"Is schizophrenia inherited?"
InferenceFind: for displaying results in categories
Surfwax : for customizing and saving general search strategy preferences, and for focusing searches using suggested terminology
Specialized Search Engines:
The most popular search engine for finding information from news groups is
Invisible Web Search Engines:
CNET editor's take (4/2005)
Ask Jeeves's many new features make it a compelling alternative to Google and Yahoo.
Read full review
Editors' rating: 6.3 Good
The good: Includes Smart Search boxes with at-a-glance info; MyJeeves portal saves and organizes your search history and selected results; Binoculars feature gives you a sneak preview of a Web site before you click; offers downloadable toolbar with desktop search.
The bad: Lacks video or audio searches; delivers so-so local search results.
The bottom line: While it's weak on multimedia and local searches, Ask Jeeves's powerful search history, organizational tools, and one-of-a-kind site preview make it a compelling choice for students.
Google searches for just about everything you'd ever expect to find on the Internet--and does it with style.
Editors' rating: Excellent 8.0 out of 10
Average user rating: 7.4 Very good (from 32 users)
The good: Intuitive interface; excellent image searches; best-of-class local searches, producing maps with satellite imagery; cached pages and related links; sponsored links clearly separated out into the right-hand column; desktop search tool; downloadable toolbar.
The bad: Multimedia audio search still in beta; video search is text only; currently, won't save your search history.
The bottom line: Google's the way to go for straight Web searching, local results, maps, or image queries, but we found better engines for multimedia searches.
While we can't recommend LookSmart for everyday Web searches, we are impressed with its unique FindArticle feature.
Editors' rating: 5.0 Average
The good: Excellent periodicals search; archiving tool Furl lets you save a copy of a Web page.
The bad: No image, multimedia, people, or local search; no cached pages or related links.
The bottom line: LookSmart falls short when it comes to standard Web searches, but its article searches and innovative Furl tool are unmatched among the competition.
If you want to find people or find out what people are talking about, Lycos makes sense, but for all other searches, try Google.
Editors' rating: 5.3 Average
The good: Excellent people and forum discussion search; decent multimedia results.
The bad: Crowded and confusing search page; no cached pages; no aggregated, at-a-glance search boxes; no downloadable toolbar.
The bottom line: Lycos makes the grade if you're checking up on someone or scouring discussion forums; otherwise, turn to Google.
Yahoo has added new features that give Google a run for its money and make Yahoo a compelling alternative.
Editors' rating: 7.7 Very good
Average user rating: 8.0 Excellent (from 7 users)
The good: Great multimedia searches; highly customizable; excellent toolbar; desktop searches; top-notch local and people searches.
The bad: Yahoo shortcuts not as extensive as AOL Search SmartBox's.
The bottom line: After a few years of eating Google's dust, Yahoo offers new features that give the reigning search king a run for its money and make it a worthy alternative.
If you want to customize and save your search results, A9's your engine.
Read full review
Editors' rating: 6.7 Good
Average user rating: 8.8 Excellent (from 6 users)
The good: Lets you adjust columns for dozens of different types of search results; caches pages and site info; saves search history; includes Web bookmarks and diary; provides downloadable toolbar; offers complete local searches.
The bad: Cozy relationship with Alexa raises privacy concerns; no multimedia or people searches.
The bottom line: A9's unique, personalized approach to search is perfect for those who need a wide range of results from their queries.
AltaVista offers superb audio and video searches, but for everything else, you can do better Editors' rating: 5.7 Average
The good: Sleek interface; strong multimedia searches.
The bad: No local search, people finder, or Yellow Pages; no cached pages; easy to confuse sponsored links with actual search results.
The bottom line: This search engine warhorse offers above-average audio and video searches, but Yahoo boasts the same features--and more.