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Tag Archives: Special Search Engines

Special Search Engines on the Web – Metasearch Engines

Google, Yahoo and Bing - Web Search EnginesOn the World Wide Web there are many different search engines available, most of us simply use Google, Yahoo, Bing or one of the other main engines to perform all of our searches. If you use Google to perform a search for “list of search engines” you will quickly discover that the search engines available are both numerous and varied in their application.

There are search engines categorised by “Content” type (news, business, medical etc), “Information” type (forum, blogs etc), “Model” type (open source, semantic browsing etc), “based on” types (Google, Yahoo, Bing). Within these of search engine types there is a number of engines that are available, so for example in the metasearch engine category there is Exite, Info.com, Dogpile, MetaCrawler just to name a few.

I am aiming to find two special search engines on the web and to discover which of the two works the best. In order to do this I need to find two similar special search sites, it would not really be appropriate to compare a bit torrent search engine with a legal search engine as the content and the intended audience is going to be very different.

As there are many metasearch engines and it is a concept that is quite interesting, so I have chosen two metasearch engines for this exercise. To make my choice, the query “metasearch engine” was run in Google and a list of available metasearch engines was returned. From this list I have selected Dogpile and MetaCrawler.

A metasearch engine is a search engine that takes the query entered by the user and sends it to a number of other search engines. When the results are returned the metasearch engine combines the results into a single list as if only one search engine were used. This allows the user to search across multiple search engines simultaneously. In this case, MetaCrawler and Dogpile combine engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing.

For the end user, this combination means access to combined indexes of web pages that are available and a more comprehensive search of the web can be obtained. Also, the user can complete one search across multiple engines by means of a single query.

I have conducted two different searches in both of the metasearch engines, the first query is “C++” as an IT student I am interested in programming and I am also aware of some sites which I have previously found useful when programming in C++. The second query is a more natural language type; it is “which bees make the best honey”. In this case I am just interested in the subject matter and am prepared to browse a few different sites to learn more.

The search for “C++” yielded similar results from both engines except that Dogpiles first response is a financial market result for Citibank stocks, and is not at all what I was looking for in my search for “C++”. Both Dogpile and MetaCrawler have compiled a list of results which (apart from the Citibank stocks) are very appropriate. Sites such as cplusplus.com and cprogramming.com are valuable resources for programmers and of course Wikipedia is always a good starting point if it is an information seeking search.

Results of query “C++” for Dogpile

Results of query “C++” for MetaCrawler

The search for “which bees make the best honey” got similar results, though I think that MetaCrawlers results were probably a little better than DogPiles. Although both give the information that is required, the results in the MetaCrawler list supply information giving sites first so there is less to sort through before me as a user can begin browsing.

Results of query “which bees make the best honey” for Dogpile

Results of query “which bees make the best honey” MetaCrawler

Both engines have some advertising in the form of sponsored links; both have suggestions to allow the user to choose possible alternatives to help them search from a “Are you looking for?” list. In addition, both have previous searches listed and retain the original search in the search bar, and almost identical advanced search options.

Though they are very similar, MetaCrawler appears to be a slightly better search engine in terms of results. Dogpile has a slightly more aesthetic interface, but the search results that MetaCrawler delivered were a little more appropriate to my needs in both cases and I think that this would be the case for future searches.

Try Dogpile at www.dogpile.com/

Dogpile

Dogpile Metasearch home

Try MetaCrawler at www.metacrawler.com/

MetaCrawler

MetaCrawler Metasearch home

For a few other special search engines go to http://webquest.sdsu.edu/searching/specialized.html and test them out.

This article http://www.top10tag.com/ten-best-specialized-search-engines/ has some interesting specialised search engines including a sounds search engine, bit torrent engine and a specialised deep web medical search engine.

Here are a few articles of interest related to search engines:
http://www.labnol.org/internet/search/special-search-engines-not-google-or-yahoo/1601/
http://alekdavis.blogspot.com/2007/07/searching-beyond-google.html

Some information in this post was gathered from these pages below
http://www.thesearchenginelist.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines

 

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