Home Top 100 Alternative Search Engines, February 2007

Top 100 Alternative Search Engines, February 2007

Written by Charles S. Knight, SEO and
edited by Richard MacManus. The original version of the Top
100 Alternative Search Engines List
appeared here on Read/WriteWeb on January 29,
2007. Every month, we’ll be updating the list and selecting a “Search Engine of the
Month”. At the end of the year, we’ll also select an Alternative Search Engine of the

In February’s edition of the Top 100 Alternative Search Engines list, there are 32 new
search engines (and of course 32 dropped out to accommodate them). You’ll find the
updated list, in HTML and Excel formats, at the bottom of this article. A lot can happen
in a month in the ever-changing world of Search, so accompanying the list is my
commentary on the changes during February.

Criteria for inclusion in Top 100

Firstly, let’s explain how we developed the list. When we say “The Top 100 Alternative
Search Engines,” we are referring to alternatives to Google. Many readers wrote in to ask
what the criteria was for inclusion on the List, such as: is it the percentage of market
share, or some other statistical measure? It is not. The criteria is twofold: 

1) the Search Engine should exhibit superiority to Google – not as a whole, but
in just one particular area. People have been talking about Wikipedia’s search engine
Wikiasari or even digg as potential “Google killers”. That’s fine, but we are not arguing
that any one of the 100 list members is a “Google killer”. Rather, that they should be
matched against the appropriate corresponding part of Google. For example, TheFind is a shopping search engine and therefore
should be compared to Google’s shopping search engine, Froogle. blinkx, a video search engine, should be matched against
Google’s video search feature, and so forth. (See article
for a fuller explanation of these categories.) 

2) Secondly, what ultimately gets a particular search engine into the Top 100 (as
opposed to the hundreds and hundreds of “also rans”) is my evaluation. It is a
subjective, personal judgment from an SEO – not an independent, statistical measure. I
liken it to a movie critic, who must be ready to defend his/her ratings, but the reader
is by no means obligated to agree with them after having seen the movie. 

Finally, there is no ranking within the Top 100, which is why it is displayed
alphabetically from A-Z. However, starting this month, one of the 100 will be picked and
featured as the “Search Engine of the Month.”

Search Engine of the Month

It’s time then to announce the first “Search Engine of the Month” for 2007. This award
means that the Site will be the first of the Top 10 for 2007 – a permanent honor – and
one of only 10 eligible for the #1 position at the end of the year. 

May I have the envelope
please…and the winner is…GoshMe! In my opinion,
GoshMe is nothing short of amazing. When you go to Google and type in, for example,
“coffee,” you get 197,000,000 results. When you go to one of the Metasearch engines on
the List (Dogpile, mamma, gnosh, PlanetSearch, et al) you still get millions of web
Pages, but they are collated from a number of different search engines. GoshMe searches
across a variety of specialized search engines and databases, and for the above “coffee”
example it returned about 1,200 search engine options – each one of which might have 197,000,000 results! GoshMe results are categorized and have the option to be
filtered further. 

GoshMe is not a metasearch engine, but I like to think of it as a Meta-Meta-Search
Engine – an entire magnitude of searching above what searchers are used to. If you are
prompted to register for the Beta version, go right ahead – it’s no big deal. Try a few
searches to get the feel of the results. Then, click on the About Us link for a three page summary of
how GoshMe works. Here is the brief version:

“Once the user sends us his/her query, we will check all Search Engines possibilities
for him/her, and present it in the most comprehensive way, providing a list of all Search
Engines and Databases appropriate to his/her query, ranked by relevance, divided by
categories and sub-categories, and with a brief description about each Search

Note that CrossEngine, formerly mrSAPO, also searches across a wide variety of search engines individually – but I prefer the usability
and the reach of GoshMe. 

Finally, for the serious students of Search reading this article, scroll all the way
down the About Us page and get a copy of the GoshMe white paper (21 .pdf pages) to really
get to know what it’s all about.

Goshme, our Search Engine of the Month

Tightened definition of ‘search engine’

Now back to the rest of the Top 100. Without a doubt, the most persistent comment
about the original Top 100 list was that too many of the choices were not bona fide
search engines. And while my definition of a search engine may be slightly looser than
some, it was in hindsight a bit too loose. Of the 32 sites that were dropped, many were
in response to that feedback: e.g. del.icio.us, digg, digg labs swarm, Feeds 2.0,
last.fm, and Rollyo. The Updated list comes much closer to meeting the goal of 100 true
web search engines; but I’ll watch the feedback just in case!

Also some engines, like Singing Fish (which was bought by AOL), just don’t exist any
more. And there are name changes – mrSAPO (www.mrsapo.com) is now known as CrossEngine – and one accidental omission,
Dogpile, which has been restored (thank goodness, because there are a LOT of Dogpile fans out there!).

32 new entrants to the list

On the flip side, many of the 32 names that are new to the list presented features
that are clever or fantastic, which merited their inclusion, and the Top 100 cannot be
expanded. When a new search engine is added, one must be deleted – it’s survival of the
fittest, I’m afraid. 

Here’s an example: last month Ms. Dewey was in
the Top 100 due to its unique User Interface, which demonstrated so well how far we have
progressed from Google’s white screen. This month, there is a new entrant, ASK VOX, which also has a talking female interface
(screenshot below). I wanted both of them to stay, so another one had to be dropped.

Ask Vox, one of the new entrants to the list

New or growing categories: Mobile, Alerts, post-stealth mode search engines

Last month’s list had no Mobile search engines, but after my second article on R/WW,
55 Piece Mobile Search Tool Kit
, it was clear that the Top 100 needed some Mobile
search engines. So Ask Mobile, Yahoo! Mobile, and Windows Live Mobile were added to this
version of the List. Look for greater competition within this category over the rest of
the year (and ongoing!).

Another new category is “the search engine that keeps on searching.” These engines
should be compared to Google Alerts. For example, I have a Google Alert for “Alternative
Search Engines”, which daily sends any matching results to my Inbox, saving me the
trouble of performing a search of my own every day. Now we have some alternatives to
Google in this area – please check out Allth.at, Swamii and Searchbots.

Of the search engines that are not “live” yet – such as Dipsie, Mobot, Megaglobe, or
Powerset – Hakia was one that went live recently and
so was ready to be listed. Each month we will no doubt add more “stealth mode” search
engines to the List, as they enter their Beta testing phase.

What’s New and Impressive?

Several new search engines just plain impressed me, and I wanted you to see them. You
should explore Find Forward, a new metasearch
engine; and Pipl, a “search for people” site. 

I also tossed in a couple that I would like you to explore with us: WASAlive and Twerq.
Tell us what you think of these.

Plus check out these ‘fun’ search engines: 

  • Searchbots, mentioned above, is almost
  • Gruuve is a “groovy” music recommendation
  • Fybersearch is the “parent” site for some
    interesting variations (be sure to click around);
  • I also tossed in a kids search engine, Quintura for
    , for those readers with children (there are several other similar kids search


Since many search engines are still evolving, it is certainly possible for an “also
ran” to move up into the List. Sproose is a good
example of a search engine that is constantly adding new features.

And it’s important to note that 68 of the original 100 search engines are still firmly
in the top 100, either because they have continued to improve (see Zuula), or because they have yet to be challenged
(amongst the “Answers” search engines, only ChaCha
uses paid guides, not volunteers or “community members”). This block of 68 search engines
forms a sort of “core” representation of the new breed of alternative search engines.

The Top 100 Alternative Search Engine List for February 2007

This list is also available in Excel

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