This is by no means a comprehensive list of the search engines out on the Web, but I believe these five are probably the most well known. They all do the same thing, but each offers something a little different.
- About is a network of over 600 Guides who provide information on thousands of topics in 22 different categories. Not only is there original content created by the Guides, but links to subjects relevant to the search along with the links to separate web pages dedicated to that subject.
- Alta Vista
- Advanced search options allow a user to find sited in either the USA alone or worldwide in 36 languages. Click on the Babel Fish link for translations of blocks of text or entire websites. Just cut and paste the text or URL and hit the Translate button.
- Founded as Ask Jeeves in 1996 and renamed Ask in 2005, this search engine offers users the ability to create their own profile so they can save their searches and search results. Other added features are the ability to see a thumbnail image of the site before clicking on the link (just place the mouse arrow over the binoculars icon) and the ability to change the skin of the search engine page.
- Everyone has heard of Google, but it's not just for searching anymore. In the last few years, Google has expanded beyond its search engine to offer such things as free email (Gmail, free document creation (ala MS Office) and Picasa (a little program to upload, edit and share your photos) just to name a few. And if you haven't checked it out yet, Google Earth is worth a look.
- Yahoo! is not just a search engine, but a web portal as well. Which means that a surfer has access to news, entertainment, job searches, music, videos and games. All through one site. Email and instant messaging included.
What's the difference between a search engine and a meta-search engine you ask? A meta-search engine will submit your search to all of the search engine directories on its list, so it's a little like sifting through several search engines at once. Even though a meta-search will only return the most popular selections from its list of providers, it's still a great way to make a broad search of a topic.
- Combines the search results from the biggies; Google, Yahoo! Search and Ask.com just to name a few. Sifting through the results is still required though.