Searching beyond Google and Yahoo: nine online search engines compared
| Totally devoted to Google or Yahoo when it comes to search? Too bad. Search engine alternatives such as A9, AltaVista, AOL Search, Ask Jeeves, LookSmart, Lycos, and MSN Search are launching innovative tools and services to catch up with the two Web searching giants. |
By Ben Patterson (May 9, 2005)
| Search is a hot topic, and the latest generation of search engines is finding new ways to scour the Net for images, multimedia, news and--lest we forget--Web pages. Search engines are also helping us find the nearest (and best) pizzerias, directions to Aunt Betty's house, reviews and showtimes for current movies, and the latest forums for every topic under the sun. Want to mine thousands of magazines and journals for your search terms or get someone's most recent mailing address, phone number, or credit history? Online search engines make it easy--too easy, some might say. |
Not only are search engines indexing more kinds of content, they also boast a powerful complement of tools, such as cached versions of Web pages, saved search histories, site ranking information, desktop search utilities, and downloadable toolbars. Several sites feature cutting-edge customization options. The new generation of search engines can turn even the most casual surfer into a savvy Web bloodhound.
We took a fresh look at Google, Yahoo, and seven of their closest competitors, focusing on their interfaces, features, and functionality. While Google and Yahoo still trump their rivals in terms of overall search, we found that almost every player in our competition brought something unique to the table. For example, AOL Search offers real-time search suggestions while you type in your query; Ask Jeeves offers a cool thumbnail preview of Web pages on its search results; and LookSmart has a unique periodical search feature, plus a one-of-a-kind page archiving tool.
Check out the feature comparison chart, then read our nine search engine reviews.
Read the CNET editor's take