The majority of you probably use Google, a search engine that currently has a market share of approximately 66%. Some of you may use Bing or you may use one of the other well known search engines. There are however a number of up-and-coming search engines you may or may not have heard of, that are well worth watching out for.
So, to give you an idea of what you might be missing out, here’s a quick guide to four search engines to try in 2012.
Wolfram Alpha brands itself as a ‘computational knowledge engine’. Rather than pulling in results from websites, it uses a database of formulas, information and statistics. Wolfram Alpha specialises in academic searches; so if you wanted to calculate a formula, convert units, get facts or access scientific data then this computational knowledge engine is undoubtedly a great resource.It also powers many of the searches on Siri for Apple’s iPhone 4S.
This search engine is useful for:
- Finding solutions to mathematical problems or equations
- Discovering facts (not just science based facts, for example you can search for ‘Oscar Wins for Forrest Gump’ and it will display the awards by category)
- A resource for popular statistics
DuckDuckGo is more of a conventional type of search engine and is gaining traction within the industry. They market themselves as a sort of no-nonsense search engine, refusing to use personalisation or user’s private data to influence search results. As a result, it has already attracted many disaffected Google users. Aside from being free from privacy issues, DuckDuckGo is a very clean and modern looking search engine, featuring customisable themes and clear search results.
It also has some interesting features, including:
- You can search many popular sites straight from the Search Engine with its !bang feature. Search for ‘iPod Classic !Amazon’ and you are taken straight to the relevant page on Amazon
- You get a small summary related to the searched for term above the listings (information on the product, item or fact), these are usually extracted from Wikipedia and sometimes give you the information you are looking for
- Search suggestions in the top right corner allow you to easily amend your search, for example if I search ‘Car Insurance Quotes’ it offers to swap ‘Insurance’ for ‘Policy’ at the click of a button
There are many other useful features in Duck Duck Go, as their index and user base increase it will definitely be one to watch out for.
Blekko markets itself as a ‘Spam Free Search Engine’ and gives users the ability to directly impact the results within the search engine. They definitely have a bias towards the highest quality results and may not be suitable for all searches. Users are able to create ‘Slashtags’ which contain a list of sites from which it will display results for related to your query. You can easily filter results by date or relevance or use a ‘Slashtag’ previously created by a user of the search engine. This is great for getting top quality results or searching for something from a list of preferred sources.
The benefits of using this search engine:
- The spam free search is appealing, especially if you only want to browse quality resources
- They want their users to carry the search engine forward and for them to create a space they feel comfortable browsing
- Slashtags provide an easy way of filtering the search results to find exactly what you want
Slikk is a relatively new search engine and is currently still in Beta testing stages, you can request an invite on their main site.
They market themselves as a “21st century search engine” and are looking to offer a completely new way of browsing the web. They have really put a focus on how people use search engines to browse the web, which is immediately evident when you first use it. Here are some useful features within the interface:
- When searching, you have the added feature of a multi-view screen where you can browse web results and images or news at the same time
- It displays Twitter results right within the search engine
- You can open one or more results on the right hand side of the screen, enabling you to keep the search engine results on the left. You can then toggle between the open pages right within the search engine.
- You also have the ability to share a web page straight from the search engine using Facebook, Twitter or Email
There seems to be a range of useful features within Slikk, it definitely makes for an enjoyable and interesting web browsing experience. I would definitely recommend trying it out.
You should also keep an eye on Wiredoo, which is in pre-Beta so we can’t reveal anything about it yet. This search engine has garnered a lot of industry attention, albeit mostly because it has been developed by rapper MC Hammer. Its focus is apparently on “deep” results, pulling in information that is related to the original search query. Whether it can wrestle any market share away from Google remains to be seen, but Wiredoo is certainly worth a quick try when it released later this year.