AltSearchEngines, the R/WW Network blog edited by Charles Knight, is The Great Debates. Every Tuesday night at 8pm EST / 5pm PST, ASE hosts a discussion between various alternative search engines. Their first debate was on Continuous Search and featured Swamii, Searchbots, and Allth.at. The second debate was on Meta Search and included CrossEngine, GoshMe, and Srchr.One of the new features on
In the Meta Search debate, the first question was: What is a Meta Search Engine? And why should someone use a Meta search engine, instead of one of the major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, or MSN? Matt from Srchr responded: "think wisdom of crowds: more results from a diverse set of independent sources aggregated in the right way will yield the best answer." GoshMe's Rafael Costa said "meta-searching follows the wise practice of using more then one single source. CrossEngine's Juan Sosa had a slightly different twist, noting that "in specific fields such as Video and Images, people [are] uploading their clips or pictures to different services (not only Youtube or Flickr)" and that "directly querying these different providers is the only way (as of now) to discover unique multimedia content."
It's true that Meta search engines can aggregate more content (horizontally) and also more specialized content sources (vertically - such as video across a range of video platforms like YouTube, Metacafe, etc). But on the other hand, they need to be up to the task of filtering all this extra content - e.g. presenting the results with a suitable UI and having the ability to weed out duplicates. Check out AltSearchEngines for more on this topic.