Beyond the Top 10 Search Engines: New Ways to Search the Web
The Top 10 Search Engines receive about 94% of the total visits from people searching the Internet. Let's go beyond the Top 10 and check out some of the boutique sites that also provide search capabilities.
Our first stop is DogPile.com, which is an aggregator. Searching with DogPile is akin to searching with Google, Yahoo, Ask, and Microsoft Live all at the same time. The pooches at DogPile call this a metasearch. A simple search on the phrase "Manny Ramirez" (quotes included) brings up a set of 20 results. The first 3 results are sponsored ads from Ads by Google. Sponsored ads are normal fare these days, but what is interesting is the way the sponsored links are presented; they appear exactly the same as the non-sponsored links that follow them. The only way to differentiate is to read past the link title and look for a "Sponsored by" message lurking on the third line of the listing. A little more digging reveals 9 of the 20 links to be sponsored ads from Google and Yahoo. Woof Woof.
Not Yo Mamma's Search Engine
Next on our tour is a site that bills itself as The Mother of all Search Engines, mamma.com. Another search for "Manny Ramirez" (quotes included) brings up a set of 20 results with the first 3 being sponsored ads that look almost exactly like the non-sponsored links. It's the same strategy that we saw at DogPile. When we scroll down to the bottom of the set, we see a summary line telling us that we are looking at 20 of 34 results. By comparison, search for "Manny Ramirez" on Google and you will be presented with "Results 1 - 10 of about 1,660,000". Google won't let you see much more than the first 1000 links, but the difference in the sizes of the two results sets is striking. By the way, 10 of the 20 links in the results served by Momma are sponsored ads.
Clusty.com offers a unique clustering technology in their search results. Searching for "Manny Ramirez" yields 10 non-sponsored (hurrah!) results presented in the format that we see on the major search engines. However, also on the results page is a set of broad categories. Each broad category represents multiple hits on our search phrase and can be expanded into more detailed categories (sub-clusters?), allowing searchers to drill down into the results set. It's powerful. Although Clusty is another aggregator site, it does offer a tool that sets it apart from the big boys. Clusty is worth a look.
Pages for Everyone
does its' own indexing, without relying on the other search engines to
provide content. They claim to be capable of indexing 200 billion
pages. Searching for "Manny Ramirez" calls up 10 results in a
no-nonsense format. None of the links appear to be sponsored. The
entire site appears devoid of ads. Similar to Clusty, they provide a
set of broader categories that all include multiple hits on the search
phrase. There's no drill-down capability, however. Each broad category
is simply a link that calls up more hits.
At the bottom of the results page is a link to the Next 10 results. Interestingly enough, there's no easy way to navigate beyond the next 10; if you desire the 100th result, you'll have to click through the Next 10 link 9 more times.
A little quick math: according to the CIA Factbook we share the world with close to 7 billion other people. About 1.5 billion of us use the Internet.
What Do You Think?
of these sites present results in a traditional text-based format. The
aggregator sites don't generate content, rather they obtain results
from other search engines. In our next installment we'll look at search
engines that present use Web 2.0 technologies to create result sets
that are more engaging and perhaps more intuitive.