Just about everyone has used a Google or Yahoo! search engine if they have been on the Internet. Certainly you can find what you need with them. But search engines that focus on a very specific topic can be really helpful too. If you are looking for a particular video, an old friend from high school, or the perfect handbag, a niche search engine can help. They can make life even better if you can use them in a pinch, like when you need to understand the wording on your grandfather’s will.
All of these searches will help you discover something new, whether it’s a new author you’ve never read or what size shoe you wear in Europe.
- Gnod. Search for books, music, movies and people with this search engine. The beauty is that it remembers your interests and focuses the search results on those things you are more likely to enjoy. Save time and enjoy the results of your search with this fun tool.
- Icerocket. This search engine was designed to take the advertising out of blog searches and definitely does that. It also offers video and MySpace searches too.
- Online Conversion. Need to adapt a recipe, find out what size shoes you need when ordering from Italy, or figure out if it’s too early to call Aunt Edna in London? This online conversion site will help you find anything you need.
- Rollyo. You can choose your own niche with this search engine. Select a search from several different categories such as reference, parenting, or the news and receive customized results to help you discover what you need to know.
- Snopes.com. If your mom loves to send you those warning emails about rats and soda cans, then you can find out the truth about them using this search site. Each rumor, myth, or legend is explained and given a rating of true, false, partially true, or undetermined. Finally, you can put that persistent urban legend to rest!
- SearchBug. This search engine looks up people, businesses, reverse phone numbers, and more. You can also check the validity of email addresses, phone numbers, zip codes, IP addresses, social security numbers and more.
- Tablefy. Finally…you can compare apples to oranges! Or find out the similarities and differences between the top Internet browsers, popular beverages, sports players, and more. This is a great resource for anyone working on a school project.
- Soople. Search for information from a number of specialized categories such as music, movies, video, stocks, other languages, and much more. You can even discover who is linking to your website.
- Web 2.0 Search Engine. Find tools to make your life easier with this search engine. Whether you want to manage your to-do or grocery list or want to enhance your blog, you can enter your project and receive links to tons of Web 2.0 tools.
- WikiSlice. This search engine is specifically for searching Wikipedia. Suppose you want to find everything about tennis in Wikipedia. You will receive a link to the main article about tennis as well as links to other articles that mention tennis.
- Spock. This people search not only finds people without search pricetags attached, it will even bring up photos if they are available. Search by name, email, location, or tag to find someone you know.
Buying online is easy, but buying exactly what you want, at the lowest price, or locally can be a challenge. These searches will help make online shopping almost the same as doing it in person.
- Like.com. This search engine has taken online shopping to a whole new level. If you’ve ever waded through pages upon pages of shoes trying to find exactly what you knew you wanted, then you will love shopping here. The visual search allows you to choose details, color, pattern, or shape to find exactly what you want.
- Pronto. Shop with the lowest price in mind at this search engine for bargain shoppers. Get your results arranged by price (high to low or low to high), rating, or relevance.
- Local.com. If you want to find a restaurant, place of business, or a service and you want to keep it local, use this search engine. You can browse by category or search by your zip code or city and state.
- retrevo. "Matching people and electronics," this search engine will help you find any electronic you want. Not only can you find out where to buy stuff, you can also find articles, forums, blogs, and more. If you need that missing owner’s manual for your TV, you can find it here.
- Slifter. If you are looking for a specific product and want to buy it locally, you’ll like this search engine. Enter your item and receive a listing of your local stores that carry that item. You can compare prices, too. If you want to take this service with you, set up Slifter to work on your mobile device.
- The Find. Putting all the other shopping search engines together, this one will search through hip boutiques, large department stores, and local shops. You can find a bargain or buy the top of the line with this comprehensive online shopping tool.
Making Sense of It All
Life can be confusing enough without someone throwing in words or phrases you don’t know. Use these searches to cut through the chaos and be in the know.
- MetaGlossery.com. Find the definition to anything on this powerful search engine. Enter a term, phrase, or acronym and get results with links that you can email or copy to your clipboard.
- Everybody’s Legal Glossary. Whether you need help decoding the paperwork on your house closing or want to understand that threatening note from your neighbor complaining about your barking pooch, you can find the definition of any legal term on this site.
- Dictionary of English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions. You may know it’s raining cats and dogs outside, but do you understand what it means if someone wears belt and suspenders? Find out what people are talking about with their funny turns of phrases with this fun idiom search tool.
- WestNet IT Glossary. Whether you are trying to figure out what’s going on with your computer or just wanting to understand that hot guy from the IT department, find out what IT technical terms mean with this resource.
- Travel Industry Dictionary. Search or browse this site to discover travel terms. If you are planning your vacation or trying to understand what your tour group will be doing during tomorrow’s excursion, find out here.
- NetLingo. Find out what your daughter said in that text she just sent you or discover what a "poke" is on Facebook with this fun search tool. If you don’t have a specific term you want to search, you can always browse alphabetically or by categories.
On the Go
These search engines are all designed specifically for mobile devices. Whether they help you find your way or save you on your bill, these will keep you mobile.
- Boing. Designed for mobile devices, this search engine provides results with "mobile friendly load times and limited screen size formatting" so that you can get the best of the Internet on your wireless device. Save time and money with this great search engine.
- Cha Cha. If you are out and about and need to know the answer to any question, then call or text Cha Cha and you will receive a text with the answer. Need directions, forgot what time the movie starts, or just want to win that trivia game? Cha Cha has your answer.
- Berggisearch. Powered by Hakia, download this application to your cell phone to get an efficient search that brings results recommended by librarians, not advertisements.
News and Academic Searches
These search engines focus on news or academic results. From up-to-the-minute headlines to complete online texts, these sites will help you out.
- Google Scholar. This new Google search finds only scholarly literature. If you are trying to find the latest research or information on any topic ranging from diabetes to Oscar Wilde to tornadoes and don’t want to wade through the mess that can come up with other searches, this one will take your straight to the source.
- bookmach. If you are tired of all the spam that shows up when you are looking for news or searching blogs, then bookmach.com is the place for you. With over 3300 sources, you will only find the best when you use this search engine. You can save your searches to customize the home page so that your favorite topics are always there.
- Congoo. This search engine is a "real-time news, networking, and information portal." Get the latest news right on their home page or use the search engine to look up whatever news topic in which you are interested.
- Open Library. This search engine will find any book ever published. If you want to read one of those books online, you are in luck. Over 234,000 have full text available.
- Wikio. Search for the latest news here. Whether you want to search in video, blogs, or traditional text for your news or would like to explore a topic, you are sure to find the latest updates here.
Audio and Video
With so many photos, music, and video on the Internet, it can be difficult to find precisely what you need. These searches will narrow down the field and even help you find the perfect movie for tonight.
- Pixsy. This search engine is for photos and videos only. It works wonderfully if you are trying to find a photo of a potential hotel for your vacation, a movie trailer, or the latest photo of George Clooney.
- Blinkx. Enter your keyword and choose whether you want your video results in a traditional format or in a wall format. If you choose wall, you can see an entire page of results. Hovering over any one will move it to the right and begin playing.
- FindSounds. If you are looking for a new message alert for your text messages or want to have a Scooby Doo clip on your blog, you can find the sound you want here. The search is free, but if you want to upgrade to be able to organize and and edit, you will need to pay a subscription fee.
- Last.fm. Search for music on this site, then find other artists based on your music preferences. If you are a music lover, you won’t want to miss this site.
- Girafa. While the purpose of this site is to sell you on adding thumbnails to your website, it works wonderfully as a search engine that shows you what each resulting web site looks like. That way you can determine if the site looks interesting before you even have to click on it.
- SeeqPod. Search for videos, audio, presentations, or Flash with this search engine. You can choose your type of search from audio, video, text, or all three.
- What to Rent! Tired of standing in front of that imposing wall of DVDs at your local rental store? This site will help you decide which movies to rent. The first time you visit, you will need to select a user name and complete a short quiz. Next time you can go straight to movie recommendations.
- SkreemR. If you are looking for an MP3 file, here’s the place to go. Find music, podcasts, speeches, and more with this search engine. Only the best files show up at the top of your results list.
- Dailymotion. Search videos from real people on a variety of topics such as news, travel, or hobbies. Of course, there are those videos that are just plain silly, too.
The Search Engine is the Niche
With so many search engines out there, there are sure to be some that are so remarkable in their own right that they are the niche. The following search engines will change the way you view Internet searches. You may find a new favorite among these.
- Kartoo. Enter your keyword and you will receive a visual map of all the different topics that may pertain to your keyword. Hover your mouse over each and you will see an enlarged view of the first website on your left with a short description of the site. This search engine takes searching to a whole new level.
- Boxxet. Search for what interests you and you will get results from the "best of" news, blogs, videos, photos, and more. This site brings together the "unique combination of computer automation and community passion" to give you a totally new way of searching.
- Quintura. Enter your search terms and watch a cloud of related terms appear at the left while a list of links comes up on the right. Hover over one of the words or phrases in the cloud to get a whole new list of links. This search engine eliminates having to click through several spots to find what you want.
- Gimpsy. Gimpsy asks you to fill in your action word(s) to use this search engine. If you tell Gimpsy you want to travel, you will receive several different options from buying tickets to finding a travel agent.
- Ms. Dewey. If typical search engines are too impersonal for you, then give Ms. Dewey a try. Sexy, fun, and silly, Ms. Dewey will help you find what you want to know. Just be careful of that flying rubber band when you take too long.
- Ujiko. Reminiscent of a video game, this search engine gives you "expertise points" each time you use it. Ten points takes you to a new level. At each level, you receive new tools to enhance your searching experience.
- mnemomap. Enter a search term (this works best with just one word) and receive a graphic mapping out all possible directions the word could go as well as a list of links from the traditional web search, an image database, digg, del.icio.us, or YouTube.
- Trexy. Using the metaphor of trails, this search engine promises that you will never have to search twice again. By forming trails or following trails others have forged, you can eliminate unnecessary searching by getting straight to what you want. Happy Hiking!
- whonu. Try this search that takes the work out of narrowing down your topic. Type in a keyword and watch as several subcategories appear below. Selecting a subcategory brings more subcategories until you arrive at precisely what you want to find. From there, you can choose to search for text, video, images, news, blogs, and more.
- Yoople! Combining the searching power of Yahoo!, Google, and people, this search engine brings you results, then asks you to click and drag the results in an order you prefer. As more and more people rate certain links higher, then the results should bring a better search to everyone.