Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about Microsoft’s new search engine Bing and Wolfram Alpha (which, to be fair, is not a search engine). I’m as guilty as anyone in always searching on Google while, at the same time, wondering if there’s an alternative which is just as good if not better. There are some pretty good search engines out there – the lesser known ones, which you may or may not have heard of. Are they good enough to cure me of my Google habit? Below is a list of a few which I’ve tried or recently discovered. I did a very brief experiment searching for two topics in each of the search engines below. I didn’t have time to suss out any advanced features. The searches were quick and dirty.
I quite like its clean lines and some of the results had images from the sites. I found that the top results were relevant for both searches.
I used this search engine for my research project and found it very useful. I did the same searches as above and found one set of results relevant and the other not so much. It very much depends what you’re looking for. There are also separate search tabs for searching within Twitter and Myspace.
I found this one listed on an academic site as a recommended alternative to Google and Yahoo. However, I was disappointed with the results. Very few were relevant. It does display images of the websites, which is nice. It also offers a download for searching within your PC.
This is my most recent find and despite the weird name I was impressed with the results. They were displayed in large readable font and were relevant. On the right you can click on the icons of numerous Web 2.0 websites to search within them. Cool feature.
This was the most disappointing search engine of the few I tested in my little experiment. There were very few relevant results.
You’ve probably heard of this one as well as gigablast. This is a meta search engine which I’ve always found rather disappointing. Again, it might depend on the sort of material you’re searching for. Search engine showdown has a list of other meta search engines, none of which have cured my Google habit.
An important one to remember for searching images in particular is creativecommons.org which is great if you want to find copyright-free images.
Lastly, a handy website which enables you to do a blind search on Google, Bing and Yahoo at Blindsearch. A blind search is handy to test results without bias getting in the way. Try it. Do a search and vote on the search engine you think was the best and, hey presto, the search engine is revealed. The results for my searches revealed that I’d voted for Bing for one search and Google for the other.
The above list is by no means comprehensive, but mostly ones I could remember from the top of my head with the little time I had available. I will probably still rely on dear old Google.
Have you discovered handy alternatives to Google and how do they compare? Why not share your discoveries.