The three search engines I use most often are Google, Yahoo, and
AskJeeves. With these three search engines, I can usually find
information about anything that I'm looking for with just a few
queries. Without a doubt, each of these three search engines have their
For instance, if I'm looking for something official, like the Kraft
foods corporate website, or official bose audio, I'll usually go to
Yahoo for my first choice. While the results for the Bose audio search
(www.bose.com) is exactly what I'd expect, the results for Kraft
(www.kraftfoods.com) was sufficiently different to make searching for it a
If it's common "internet" knowledge that I'm looking for, Google is the
place to be. This is mostly due to the way Google works. Google searches
for keywords in a website, just like Excite, or Lycos, or
Altavista. What makes Google so unique and useful is that the website
with the most hyper-links pointing to it gets displayed first.
My guess is that when I search for "Bose Audio" on Google, it will
You can view the
results for yourself.
- places to buy bose speakers
- commentary or reviews on bose speakers
- the bose corporation website
The way I guessed what google would return is by asking myself a
simple question: "What would I (a random internet user) be talking about when I
was using the term Bose?"
If I had bought "Bose Speakers", thought they were really good, and
think others should buy them, I'd
probably link to a place to buy speakers.
But if I were a professional magazine talking about the comparative
sound quality of different speakers, I'd have different reviews of
speakers. It's pretty easy to tweak the google
search to pull in more reviews on Bose speakers.
Finally, whenever I need information that is almost impossible to
search for, I Ask Jeeves. I challenge you to find a map
of the United States in less than 10 seconds using any other search
Jeeves is also great for "encyclopedia" type information (like What
is the capital of Peru?, or How
far is it from Chicago to Washington D.C.?), or information that you'd
expect a butler to know (Where
can I buy tickets to a New York musical?). So don't dump on Jeeves,
Some other search engines worth mentioning: http://astalavista.box.sk/,
very useful when you're looking for ~underground~ information, like
cracks, serial numbers, or virus information. I can't count the number of
games that I've bought and paid for, but don't want to be bothered
swapping in and out CD's for a CD-check. You can usually find some kind
of program out there to make life a little easier for you.
Also I like the idea of http://www.goto.com/ and their search
technique. Try a search for Alanis
Morisette. Businesses can buy placement on this search engine, but
it's neat because you actually see how much they paid. If you think some
business out there is crazy enough to *pay* for you to click on their
site, this is the place to go. After all the advertisers have been shown,
you see the "normal" search results, which can provide you with more
My favorite in keyword search engines is http://www.excite.com/ simply
because if you have multiple keywords, you can make "certain^2 words^3
more important" than other words by putting the exponentation symbol after
them. I usually stay away from keyword searches, but sometimes it's
And what treatise
on search engines would be complete without mentioning languages or books?
For meanings of words, go to the official source, Merriam-Webster. To rhyme words, try this
dictionary at Carnegie Mellon University.
To translate web documents (sometimes humorously), try
http://babelfish.altavista.com/, and finally to buy books for cheap, try
this meta searcher: http://www.snmputils.com/booksearch/
It's focused somewhat on tech books, but the 50 seconds it takes to trawl
through book prices all over the internet could save you $10-$20 on
Whew. That's enough of that. Share your search experiences below,
tell us all about your favorite unknown search engines.