More search options

by Krishna on March 31, 2006

Google has become the de facto search engine of the planet. Frankly, I personally wouldn’t know how to run my life without Google. Definitions, weather, technical problems, etc. – type it into the Google toolbar and hit ENTER. I have heard some of my developer friends say that they would rather resign than work in a place where they cannot access Google.

They used to say this about lawyers: “It is not what they know about the law. It is knowing where to look for it.” Well, you know where to look now. Make it your home page. Download the desk bar. Turn the Internet Explorer bar into a search textbox that goes to the all-knowing search engine.

Nevertheless, there are some other search options that you may want to use to complement your use of Google. One that I use from time to time is vivisimo.com. This search engine combines the various search results into categories which allows you to skip search results that don’t make much sense. For example, searching for “windows” results when you don’t mean the Microsoft version, just the Home Depot one.

Wikipedia is another option for collecting information about something. Obviously, it is a web-based encyclopedia, not a search engine. But think back (unless you are too young to remember!) to the times when the Internet wasn’t there. If you wanted information, you would look up research material, including encyclopedias. Wikipedia is the same thing, but better because you can look up information much more easily.

Wikipedia is very useful for consolidated information about a particular topic. I had concerns about the accuracy of the information because of it being edited by authors around the world, but if the open source environment can create quality software, it can also create quality documentation through the peer review process. Also refer to Microsoft Encarta and Encyclopedia Britannica – however everything is not free there for you to browse.

Answers.com is the other search engine you just have to explore. You can type in questions to search on. A Google Suggest-like functionality allows you to choose from interesting options. The search arranges the results in a more helpful manner.

So, there you go. I still think Google is the best and I find nothing that would drive me to Yahoo! search or MSN search. I don’t really understand what they are trying to offer anyway – the relevance of the search results have yet to match anything that Google provides. While you are spending billions of dollars in creating a “me-too” system, why not offer some useful variations while you are at it?!

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