Well, it's that time again! Time for the monthly update of the Top 100 Alternative Search Engines.
Before we get into it, allow me to back up just a bit. First of all, the "Alternative" in the title refers to "alternatives to Google." That is, one criteria for making it onto the list is to exhibit superiority to Google in one particular feature. For example, TheFind.com is better than Google's Froogle, in my opinion. And that brings me to my second point: the ultimate criteria for inclusion is not empirical, it is subjective. I liken myself to a movie critic - here are 100 movies/search engines that I think you should see. If you go to one and are disappointed, that's okay.
The Top 100 List first appeared in Read/WriteWeb in January 2007. A month later, the Top 100 list was updated - at that point 32 search engines were dropped from the List and 32 new ones debuted. In February we also introduced a 'Search Engine of the Month', a new regular feature (no reading ahead!) of the List. In February I chose GoshMe for this honor. The feedback we received was that categories would be useful, and so this month Categories (I call them "Scattergories" after the old board game of the same name) have been added to the Names and URLs in the attached spreadsheet.
What's New & Category Highlights
This month, there has been 50% less turnover. Only 16 search engines were shown the door. Sad, but absolutely necessary in order to show you 16 of the latest and greatest alternative search engines.
The Top 100 for March ended up with some of these "Scattergories":
- One Audio Search Engine; FindSounds;
- Four Blog Search Engines; such as the new Blogdigger;
- Six Clustering Search Engines; see Quintura or KartOO, two of my favorites. Why so many of these? In part it is because Google is prehistorically one dimensional. That is, when you search on Google, you see the results as a list - a long, long, one-dimensional list of webpages. But we all know intuitively that the World Wide Web is like a globe-shaped spider web; it is three-dimensional, with links between pages everywhere. The Clustering Search Engines are leading the way towards that reality, by making two-dimensional (X-Y) maps of the results.
- Three Continuous Search search engines; this is a new category that I think you'll like. As the name implies, after you conduct your search, the engine keeps chugging along - sending you more results as it finds them. These should be compared to Google Alerts. See the R/WW review of Allth.at.
Mobile, Meta, Semantic, Talking Search Engines (not all at once!)
Mobile Search is of course a growing category, but many of these sites will be reviewed in the next update to the 55 Piece Mobile Search Tool Kit. There are many more than 55 tools now and the "Tool Kit" is getting awfully heavy! But pick up your phone and dial (seriously) 1-800-Know-Now, and you can ask one of their "Know-It-Alls" (their term) any question that you want and get a free answer!
Also Yahoo! recently ramped up their oneSearch Mobile service, so the mobile search space is heating up.
As usual, I probably have too many Meta Search Engines (well into double figures), but each one is very different from the others. I think that if you try them all out, different people will favor different ones - for example look at all the Dogpile fans who keep "hound"ing me. The interesting sounding Agent 55 is a new entrant in this crowded field.
On the cutting edge of search are the Semantic search engines. Hakia is in the Top 100 and you can read all about it here: Hakia Takes on Google with Semantic Technologies. Also one that you simply must see is the sneak demo of CogHog.
One area that deserves (and will get) its own article is the growing phenomenon of talking search engines. The Speeglebot was dropped from the Top 100, because we now have, in addition to Ms. Dewey and "Foxy Voxy" (Ask Vox), a new talking lady - Abby, of AbbyMe. It makes Arthur C. Clarke / Stanley Kubrick's HAL seem so "2001!"
Search Engine of the Month
KoolTorch. And Kool it is! Don't be surprised if you've never heard of it - it's brand new and it's awesome (just take a gander at the graphics below!) Oh, and don't be surprised that such a new search engine should leap out into the #1 spot for this month; it is the very embodiment of innovation and imagination that I look for in a new alt search engine.It's time to introduce March's Search Engine of the Month:
The main thing to notice about KoolTorch is that it's unique, patented design allows you to see 10, 50, even 100 search results all at once - all on one page. I've looked at hundreds of search engines, and I believe this to be a first. And besides being beautiful, it is incredibly functional. Each colored wheel lets you drill down into a category, or you can "mouse over" the bubbles to see a miniature preview of the web page itself! When you mouse over the word in the center oval, you receive still more information - the subcategories below that circle - all without leaving the first page! And be sure to try the eBay search, it is simply genius. You can monitor dozens of auctions, by category, and by the time remaining; again, all in one view.
I hope you'll take some time right now and go to www.kooltorch.com and really explore R/WW's Search Engine of the Month. I am confident that you'll be as impressed with it as I was when I first saw it. Congratulations to KoolTorch!
Update: An alert reader pointed out that KoolTorch only works in IE browsers. KoolTorch is working to remedy this problem.
eBay search in KoolTorch
Please don't forget to make the most out of the comment section following this article. It can be used as a "suggestion box" for search engines that you have come across. Sometimes it is used to lament a search engine that was not chosen or was dropped from the list, and that's okay, too. We've even had alt search engine CEOs discuss and defend their projects in the comments section! What ever is on your mind, please share it with us.
See you next month!
Top 100 (sorted by "scattergory")
This list is also available in Excel format.
|Quintura for Kids||http://kids.quintura.com/||Clustering Search Kids|
|KoolTorch||www.kooltorch.com||Clustering Search Visualization|
|Mojeek||www.mojeek.com||Custom Search Engines (CSE)|
|Hyper Search||http://hypersearch.webhop.org .90.seekdotnet.com||Filtered Search|
|1-800-KNOW-NOW||www.1800knownow.com||Guided Search Mobile|
|Yahoo! Mindset||www.mindset.research.yahoo.com||Intention Driven Search|
|SearchTheWeb2||www.searchtheweb2.com||Long Tail Search|
|hakia||www.hakia.com||Meaning Based Search|
|SurfWax||www.surfwax.com||Meaning Based Search|
|Find Forward||www.findforward.com||Meta Feature Search|
|FyberSearch||www.fybersearch.com||Meta Feature Search|
|GoLexa||www.golexa.com||Meta Feature Search|
|crossEngine||www.crossengine.com||Meta Meta Search|
|goshme||www.goshme.com||Meta Meta Search|
|AGENT 55||www.agent55.com||Meta Search|
|sidekiq||www.sidekiq.com||Meta Vertical Search|
|Ask Mobile||www.m.ask.com||Mobile Search|
|Yahoo! oneSearch||http://us.m.yahoo.com||Mobile Search|
|Netvibes2Go||http://m.netvibes.com||Mobile Search | Netvibes|
|Slifter||www.slifter.com||Mobile Search Shopping|
|Boing||www.boing.mobi||Mobile Web Search|
|Lexxe||www.lexxe.com||Natural Language Processing (NLP)|
|Deepy||www.deepy.com||Rich Internet Application (RIA)|
|Yandex||wwww.yandex.ru||Russian Search Engine|
|CogHog||www.infactsolutions.com /projects/coghog/demo.htm||Semantic Search|
|AnswerBus||www.answerbus.com||Semantic Search | Natural Language Processing (NLP)|
|Swoogle||http://swoogle.umbc.edu||Semantic Web Search|
|collarity||www.collarity.com||Social Search | Collarity Compass|
|Spy Fu||www.spyfu.com||Spy Search!|
|dumbfind||www.dumbfind.com||Two Box Search|
|Ujiko||www.ujiko.com||User-Rated | Votes|
|yoono||www.yoono.com||User-Rated | Votes|
|pipl||http://pipl.com||Vertical Search People|
|ZabaSearch||www.zabasearch.com||Vertical Search People|
|TheFind.com||www.thefind.com||Vertical Search Shopping|
|retrievr||http://labs.systemone.at /retrievr/||Visual Search|
|Ask Vox||www.askvox.com||Vocal Search|
|AbbyMe||www.abbyme.com||Vocal Search Mobile|
|Ms. Dewey||www.msdewey.com||Vocal Search Unique Interface (UI)|
|Web 2.0||www.web20searchengine.com||Web 2.0 Search|
|Wikio||www.wikio.com||Web 2.0 Search|