More Google Search Alternatives

Category: Search-Engines

When you just aren’t finding what you want via Google, Bing, or Yahoo, it’s time to take a walk down the roads less traveled. Some alternative search tools are trying to do better than the big boys in terms of providing more useful results. Here are more alternatives to the most popular search engines...

Are You Ready to Try a Search Alternative?

I'll admit that I use Google every day, and most of the time, it does the job. But there are quite a few specialized search tools that may do a better job of finding what you're after, or help you get there faster. Recently, I’ve written about Google Search Alternatives -- alternatives to the Big Three search tools (Google, Bing and Yahoo) and today I've got a bunch more for you to check out.

You may find that one of these alternative search engines is capable of finding the information you seek, or will help you to solve a particular problem. Let's take a look...

You might not think of YouTube as a search engine, but depending on how you look at the numbers, it can be considered the second most popular search site. Almost a billion people visit YouTube every month, and it's actually a great place to find how-to videos to learn about almost anything. Try searching for "how to paint kitchen cabinets" or "how to play stairway to heaven on guitar". (It's not as hard as I thought!) It's also a great way to search for songs. When I can't get Pandora to play a specific song, I search for it on YouTube, and there's almost always a hit.

Alternative Search Engines

The Internet Movie Database is an online database of movies, but it also encompasses TV programs, actors, fictional characters, production personnel, and even video games. As of April 2013, IMDb had 2.5 million films and over 5 million personalities in its database. Founded in 1990, IMDB is one of the most popular reference resources online, with over 100 million unique visitors per month. It was acquired by Amazon.com in 1998. User ratings and reviews make IMDB particularly valuable for finding the best films and TV programs. It's also great for answering questions like "Who played the role of Miss Caswell in All About Eve?" Or what other shows has Seinfeld's Soup Nazi character appeared in?

Quora is a tools that's great for writers and researchers. But anyone with a burning question can join. Registration is required so that Quora can tailor its results to your needs. On Quora, you search for resources that can be used in your research. That can include people as well as writings of others. The idea is that people who are experts in your field of inquiry will see your question, and help to answer it. Quora covers business, cooking, economics, entertainment, health, politics, science, sports, technology and other areas of interest. You can also create “boards” or mini-blogs to organize and share information that interests you.

411.com is an online telephone directory. You can search for people or businesses, or do reverse lookups by entering a phone number to see who it belongs to. If the number is listed in a public phone directory, it will be displayed for free. No strings. If it's unlisted or a mobile number, it will tell you so, and offer a paid lookup service. But I recommend against using those, as they usually don't pan out. To see who lives at a particular address, use the reverse address search option. (Tip: Omit the street number, searching for the street name and town, to get a list of everyone who lives on the street.) You can also query area codes and zip codes to associate them with their related towns.

For even more specialty search sites, see my list of the best Free Online Reference and Research Tools.

Dogpile is a meta-search tool thats has been around since before Al Gore invented the Internet. Dogpile searches multiple search engines, combines the results, and returns it in a unified listing. SeekFreak is similar, in that it allows you to search with more than one search engine. But it displays the results from each engine side by side, instead of combining them.

Pikimal is a shopping resource that aims to level the playing field. Starting with a philosophy that the most popular search engines tend to favor companies that can buy their way to the top of the results, Pikimal's algorithm aims to remove the bias of brand names, big marketing budgets and search engine optimization tricks. Instead, Pikimal focuses on the facts associated with products to help consumers make the best buying decisions. You can browse categories or search by keywords. Pikimal users rate the products they find or recommend on criteria that are explained in each list of search results. Information on each product or service is written by Pikimal editors.

RedZ is the most bizarre search engine I have ever seen. It looks like the dark, slightly shocking homepage of a deranged video gamer. Gracing the page is the Redz mascot -- an odd-looking red-and-white rubber zebra, which really isn’t what anyone searches for, ever. Search results (which appear to come directly from Bing) are presented as thumbnails of Web pages, not as excerpts of the pages’ text. The idea is actually cool, you can flip through the search results in a carousel fashion, choosing which link to follow based on the thumbnail preview.

But the execution is poor, in my opinion. First, the thumbnails are too small and blurry to give you an idea of what you'll be clicking into. Second, the thumbnails show the home pages, not the actual page on the site that represents the search "hit". So if you click the thumbnail, the page where you end up won't look like the image you clicked. And finally, there's not enough of a text snippet to give you any guidance as to whether or not you should follow any given link. But that's all the opinion of a text-oriented geek. Give it a try and see what you think.

What's your favorite alternative or special purpose search engine? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "More Google Search Alternatives"

Posted by:

Franklin Sanor WA8WHP
03 Jun 2013

Another useful search specialty is QRZ.com. This is a list of amateur radio stations worldwide.


Posted by:

Roy J Landry
03 Jun 2013

Love google; use it often.


Posted by:

Dave S
03 Jun 2013

My favorite search engine now is DuckDuckGo which does an amazing job and doesn't track what we're doing.


Posted by:

Peter Fiorentino
03 Jun 2013

Hi Bob: I have been using MetaCrawler for years! It works similar to "Dogpile" - searches multiple search engines, combines the results, and returns it in a unified listing. I get consistently comprehensive results and the possibility of less tracking by the "big guys" of my search activities.

Perhaps, Bob you could comment on the issue of search engine privacy and whether multiple search engines "shield" us from such snooping!


Posted by:

joseph
03 Jun 2013

I use all but Google and Bing, unless other engines are combined into one. My favorite is DuckDuckGo. I find that my searches from DuckDuckGo match what Google and Bing can find but DuckDuckGo will have even more results that Bing or Google fail to offer!


Posted by:

Sazerac7
03 Jun 2013

Bob, I tried the 411.com to get a reverse phone listing and it wasn't free. They wanted to text to my mobile phone and charge $1.99.

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's true, only landline numbers are published in public directories.


Posted by:

bob
03 Jun 2013

I tried 411.com when it arrived and it was good for awhile. Then, I noticed, at the bottom of the screen, "Powered by White Pages." So---does one now own the other? They now seem to operate the same way...guiding you to a pay format.


Posted by:

KatieA
03 Jun 2013

Thanks for all these great suggestions, besides the usual top search engines.

Bob, I have found that YouTube can be a great resource when looking for an old song that you just might think isn't out there anymore, to listen to.


Posted by:

JIm Robinson
03 Jun 2013

I have come to love IXQUICK as a search engine. They scrub your file as soon as you check out and you don't get a million inquires as to what "they" can sell you. I have always found what I was looking for at IXQUICK.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Curious as to what you mean by "inquiries" -- can you clarify?


Posted by:

ShadyCharacter
03 Jun 2013

411.com has very limited value. More than 1/2 the time it simply gives the name of the phone-service-provider rather than the name of the subscriber.


Posted by:

P. Kruijer
04 Jun 2013

You forgot to mention " Copernic Agent basic". It searches all engines if you have a query. There is also a paid version.


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