Top 100 Search Engines Other than Google

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ask anyone which search engine they use to find information on the Internet and they will almost certainly reply: "Google." Look a little further, and market research shows that people actually use four main search engines for 99.99% of their searches: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and (in that order)But,in that .01% lies a vast multitude of the most innovative and creative search engines you have never seen.

The Search Homepage

In order to address their claims systematically, it helps to group them into categories and then compare them to their Google counterparts. For example, let's look at the first thing that almost everyone sees when they go to search the Internet - the ubiquitous Google homepage. That famously sparse, clean sheet of paper with the colorful Google logo is the most popular Web page in the entire World Wide Web. For millions and millions of Internet users, that Spartan white page IS the Internet.

Google has successfully made their site the front door through which everyone passes in order to access the Internet. But staring at an almost blank sheet of paper has become, well, boring.

A second example comes from Simply Google. Instead of squeezing through the keyhole in order to reach Google's 37 search options, Simply Google places all of those choices and many, many more all on the very first page; neatly arranged in columns.

Artificial Intelligence

A second arena is sometimes referred to as Natural Language Processing (NLP), or Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is the desire we all have of wanting to ask a search engine questions in everyday sentences, and receive a human-like answer.
Google's approach, Google Answers, was to enlist a cadre of "experts." The concept was that you would pose a question to one of these experts, negotiate a price for an answer, and then pay up when it was found and delivered. It was such a failure, Google had to cancel the whole program. Enter ChaCha. With ChaCha, you can pose any question that you wish, click on the "Search With Guide" button, and a ChaCha Guide appears in a Chat box and dialogues with you until you find what you are looking for. There's no time limit, and no fee.

Clustering Engines

Perhaps Google's most glaring and egregious shortcoming is their insistence on displaying the outcome of a search in an impossibly long, one-dimensional list of results. We all intuitively know that the World Wide Web is just that, a three dimensional (or "3-D") web of interconnected Web pages. Several search engines, known as clustering engines, routinely present their search results on a two-dimensional map that one can navigate through in search of the best answer. Search engines like KartOO and Quintura are excellent examples.

Recommendation Search Engines

Another promising category is the recommendation search engines. While Google essentially helps you to find what you already know (you just can't find it), recommendation engines show you a whole world of things that you didn't even know existed. Check out What to Rent, Music Map, or the stunning Live Plasma display. When you input a favorite movie, book, or artist, they recommend to you a world of titles or similar artists that you may never have heard of, but would most likely enjoy.

Metasearch Engines

When you perform a search on Google, the results that you get are all from, well, Google! But metasearch engines have been around for years. They allow you to search not only Google, but a variety of other search engines too - in one fell swoop. There are many search engines that can do this, Dogpile, for instance, searches all of the "big four" mentioned above (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask) simultaneously. You could also try Zuula or PlanetSearch - which plows through 16 search engines at a time for you. A very interesting site to watch is GoshMe. Instead of searching an incredible number of Web pages, like conventional search engines, GoshMe searches for search engines (or databases) that each tap into an incredible number of Web pages. As I perceive it, GoshMe is a meta-metasearch engine (still in Beta)!

Other Alt Search Engines

And so it goes, feature after feature after feature. TheFind is a better shopping experience than Google's Froogle, IMHO. Like is a true visual search engine, unlike Google's Images, which just matches your keywords into images that have been tagged with those same keywords. Coming soon is Mobot (see the Demo at Google Mobile does let you perform a search on your mobile phone, but check out the Slifter Mobile Demo when you get a chance!

Finally, almost prophetically, Google is silent. Silent! At least Speeglebot talks to you, and Nayio listens! But of course, why should Google worry about these upstarts (all 100 of them)? Aren't they just like flies buzzing around an elephant? Can't Google just ignore them, as their share of the search market continues to creep upwards towards 100%, or perhaps just buy them? Perhaps.

The Top 100....

For an Excel spreadsheet of the entire Top 100 Alternative Search Engines, go to: or email the author at

Feel free to share this list, but please retain Charles' name and email.



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