Top Ten Search Engines

Most of us don’t want 420 search engines, especially those folks who are Internet beginners. Most people want a single search engine that delivers three key features:

  1. Relevant results  (results you are actually interested in)
  2. Uncluttered, easy to read interface
  3. Helpful options to broaden or tighten a search

With this criteria, 10 Reader Favorite Search Engines come to mind. These 10 search sites should meet 99% of the searching needs of a regular everyday user.

Below is a changing list of user favorites, compiled from reader email suggestions. The sites below are in random order, and are updated regularly to reflect changes and user suggestions.

1. Ask (aka ‘Ask Jeeves’)

The Ask/AJ/Ask Jeeves search engine is a longtime name in the World Wide Web. The super-clean interface rivals the other major search engines, and the search options are as good as Google or Bing or DuckDuckGo. The results groupings are what really make Ask.com stand out. The presentation is arguably cleaner and easier to read than Google or Yahoo! or Bing, and the results groups seem to be more relevant. Decide for yourself if you agree… give Ask.com a whirl, and compare it to the other search engines you like.

2. Cuil (pronounced ‘cool’)

This search engine was founded by ex-Google staff. It is spartan, like Google and DuckDuckGo. But there are differences beyond the black background. Cuil uses a column format like a newspaper, and it offers both tabbled and columned groups to help your searching. The results are not ranked in the same currents events/popularity sequence that Google is known for. But Cuil.com can really be helpful in choosing research directions when you are just discovering a topic for the first time.

3. Duck Duck Go

At first, DuckDuckGo.com looks like Google. But there are many subtleties that make this spartan search engine different. DuckDuckGo has some slick features, like ‘zero-click’ information (all your answers are found on the first results page). DuckDuckgo offers disambiguation prompts (helps to clarify what question you are really asking). And the ad spam is much less than Google. Give DuckDuckGo.com a try… you might really like this clean and simple search engine.

4. Clusty (aka ‘Yippy’)

Clusty is a Deep Web engine that searches other search engines for you. Unlike the regular Web, which is indexed by robot spider programs, Deep Web pages are usually harder to locate by conventional search. That’s where Clusty becomes very useful. If you are searching for obscure hobby interest blogs, obscure government information, tough-to-find obscure news, academic research and otherwise-obscure content, then Clusty is your tool.

5. Webopedia

Webopedia is one of the most useful websites on the World Wide Web. Webopedia is an encyclopedic resource dedicated to searching techno terminology and computer definitions. Teach yourself what ‘domain name system’ is, or teach yourself what ‘DDRAM’ means on your computer. Webopedia is absolutely a perfect resource for non-technical people to make more sense of the computers around them.

Visit Webopedia here

6. Yahoo!

Yahoo! is several things: it is a search engine, a news aggregator, a shopping center, an emailbox, a travel directory, a horoscope and games center, and more. This ‘web portal’ breadth of choice makes this a very helpful site for Internet beginners. Searching the Web should also be about discovery and exploration, and Yahoo! delivers that in wholesale quantities.

7. Bing

Bing is Microsoft’s attempt at unseating Google. Bing used to be MSN search until it was updated in summer of 2009. Touted as a ‘decision engine’, Bing tries to support your researching by offering suggestions in the leftmost column, while also giving you various search options across the top of the screen. Things like ‘wiki’ suggestions, ‘visual search’, and ‘related searches’ might be very useful to you. Bing is not dethroning Google in the near future, no. But Bing is definitely worth trying.

8. Mahalo

Mahalo is the one ‘human-powered’ search site in this list, employing a committee of editors to manually sift and vet thousands of pieces of content.  This means that you’ll get fewer Mahalo hit results than you will get at Bing or Google. But it also means that most Mahalo results have a higher quality of content and relevance (as best as human editors can judge).

Mahalo also offers regular web searching in addition to asking questions.  Depending on which of the two search boxes you use at Mahalo, you will either get direct content topic hits or suggested answers to your question.

Try Mahalo.  You might like it enough to even become a editor there.

9. Google

Google is the undisputed king of ‘spartan searching’. While it doesn’t offer all the shopping center features of Yahoo!, Google is fast, relevant, and the largest single catalogue of Web pages available today. Make sure you try the Google ‘images’, ‘maps’ and ‘news’ features… they are outstanding services for locating photos, geographic directions, and news headlines.

10. The Internet Archieve

The Internet Archive is a favorite destination for longtime Web lovers. The Archive has been taking snapshots of the entire World Wide Web for years now, allowing you and me to travel back in time to see what a web page looked like in 1999, or what the news was like around Hurricane Katrina in 2005. You won’t visit the Archive daily, like you would Google or Yahoo or Bing, but when you do have need to travel back in time, use this search site.

Search Engine Statistics – What Market Share?

According to 2010 July 31 figures from Hitwise (Top Search Engines by Volume).

Top Search Engines for 2010

2010 Google Yahoo! Bing Ask AOL Search Total
2010-07-31 71.43% 14.43% 9.86% 2.32% 1.19% 99.23%
2010-06-26 71.65% 14.37% 9.85% 2.19% 1.15% 99.21%
2010-05-22 72.00% 14.58% 9.20% 2.18% 1.06% 99.02%
2010-05-08 71.56% 14.79% 9.31% 2.27% 1.07% 99.00%
2010-03-06 71.07% 14.46% 9.55% 3.01% 0.98% 99.07%
2010-02-06 71.35% 14.60% 9.56% 2.55% 1.06% 99.12%
2010-01-02 72.25% 14.83% 8.91% 2.53% 0.77% 99.29%

Top Search Engines for 2009

2009 Google Yahoo! Bing Ask Total
2009 12 72.52% 14.99% 8.81% 2.52% 98.84%
2009 09 70.46% 16.73% 9.28% 2.50% 98.97%
2009 08 70.24% 16.96% 9.44% 2.37% 99.01%
2009 07 72.07% 17.00% 7.31% 2.58% 98.96%
2009 06 74.04% 16.19% 4.99% 3.15% 98.37%
2009 05 73.66% 15.55% 5.64% 3.81% 98.66%
2009 04 72.68% 16.29% 5.67% 3.96% 98.60%
2009 03 72.13% 16.56% 5.50% 4.02% 98.21%
2009 02 72.11% 17.52% 5.55% 3.47% 98.65%

2009-07-29 – Microsoft, Yahoo! Change Search Landscape

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and REDMOND, Wash. – 29 July, 2009 – Yahoo! and Microsoft announced an agreement that will improve the Web search experience for users and advertisers, and deliver sustained innovation to the industry. In simple terms, Microsoft will now power Yahoo! search while Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.

Top Search Engines for 2008

2008 Google Yahoo! MSN/Live Ask
2008 12 72.07% 17.79% 4.10% * 3.15%
2008 11 71.97% 17.70% 4.10% * 3.35%
2008 10 71.86% 17.74% 4.16% * 3.53%
2008 09 71.16% 18.06% 4.22% * 3.63%
2008 08 71.01% 18.26% 5.32% 3.45%
2008 07 70.07% 18.65% 5.36% 3.53%
2008 06 69.17% 19.62% 5.46% 4.17%
2008 05 68.29% 19.95% 5.89% 4.23%
2008 04 67.90% 20.28% 6.26% 4.17%
2008 03 67.25% 20.29% 6.65% 4.09%
2008 02 66.44% 20.59% 6.95% 4.16%
2008 01 65.98% 20.94% 6.90% 4.21%

* Does not include Live.com data

Top Search Engines for 2007

2007 Google Yahoo! MSN/Live Ask
2007 12 65.98% 20.88% 7.04% 4.14%
2007 11 65.10% 21.21% 7.09% 4.63%
2007 10 64.49% 21.65% 7.42% 4.76%
2007 09 63.55% 22.55% 7.83% 4.32%

Top Search Engines for 2006

2006 Google Yahoo! MSN/Live Ask
2006 10 60.94% 22.34% 10.72% 4.34%

Source: Hitwise Press Releases

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