There are a number of alternative search engines on the web which are not as well known as Google, Yahoo or the heavily marketed BING. Many of these search sites serve a niche market so they never gain mainstream popularity. A few of the newer search sites are incorporating results form social media sites, and for good reason. Information on these sites is becoming more and more essential because of the like-real time stream new results.
About a year ago, Damien compiled a list of some lesser known niche search engines; this post is adding in a few more to that list.
Social Media Search
Topsy searches Twitter for links that are relevant to your search. Topsy ranks results based on how well they match your search terms, and the influence of the people talking about them.
CrowdEye scans through tweets, retweets, links and more on Twitter to find your results. The outcome of your search is a graph showing the popularity of the search term for up to three days, other tags, links, tweets, and popular hashtags relating to you search. This seems like a lot of information to have in front of you all at once, but it is laid out very well and is easy to pick out what you want.
Collecta weeds through Flickr, comments on blog posts, Twitter, Jaiku, Identica and articles on sites and blogs for results that match your search query. Like you may imagine, Twitter results tend to be the an overwhelming number of the results due to the volume of tweets. In the sidebar to the left, you can filter out the Twitter updates and see the photos, comments and articles.
Icerocket exclusively searches blogs, news feeds and social media sites; it is also one of the only search site that said it included Myspace.
Scoopler pulls info from Twitter along with other sources like Youtube, blogs, Flickr, twitpic etc. to give you the latest articles, pictures and video.
OneRiot analyzes the links people share on social sharing sites like Digg and Twitter then indexes the content for your viewing. The result is the freshest possible content from around the social web in near realtime.
IRS Document Search
The IRS.gov wizard sifts through roughly 4,000,000 pages on the IRS tax document site. This kind of search will save you immense amounts of time whether you know accountant-speak or not.
Trackle is not like most search sites, it has a multitude of preset search categories to choose from such as: travel, celebrity gossip, stocks, classified ads, health, crime and many more. When a category is selected, you can enter in up to three keywords to search. Once there are results that meet your criteria, you will be notified by SMS (text message), daily email, instant email or you can just check the site at your leisure. This is a lot like Google alerts, but easier for most purposes and searches more than just Google.
The way iBoogie works is similar to other meta search engines. It queries multiple search sites to pull up a wider variety of results from the search terms you enter. Where iBoogie differs, is how it sorts the results into categories in the left sidebar. By dividing up the results like this, it helps you narrow down your search even more. Sure you can do this on most other search sites, but this saves you a step or two.
MetaCrawler uses “metasearch technology” to get results from the web’s major search engines. Because multiple search engines are queried, you get a greater variety of results than a single search engine typically gives. Like most, the results are a combination of sponsored and non-commercial sites. Sponsored results are always clearly identified with a “Sponsored”
Out of all the search sites on this list, GoodSearch is the only one that will make you feel like a better person for using it. Goodsearch donates half of its revenue from your search to the schools and charities you ask them to. When you type in a word or phrase to search for, the search is performed by Yahoo!. The difference is, GoodSearch donates a portion of the money advertisers pay to have ads and sponsored links displayed. Also on the site they offer coupons to many online retailers. So if you do a lot of purchasing online, might as well help a worthy cause at the same time.
What sites do you use to get information from?
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