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What is Dogpile?

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What is Dogpile?

Dogpile is a meta search engine, meaning that it gets results from multiple search engines and directories and then presents them combined to the user. Dogpile currently gets its results from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and more.

According to Dogpile, their metasearch technology “can search 50% more of the Web than any single search engine”, as evaulated by an independent search engine expert who verified their methodology and validated that their metasearch technology can retrieve 50% or more additional results.

Home Page

Users will see Arfie on the front page. The home page is relatively clean and uncluttered, with a good choice of colors. The search bar is squarely in the middle of the home page, with textual tab choices right on top of that. Below Arfie, there are links to the Toolbar, Joke of the Day, SearchSpy, a way to view either family-friendly or unfiltered real-time Web searches, Maps, Weather, and an option to add Dogpile Search to your site.

There’s also Favorite Fetches, with what looks to be the top six most searched for queries at any one time, although this list didn’t seem to be completely accurate (dog flu is a most searched for query?). You might find Arfie’s Most Wanted to be a better indicator of what was being searched for by the most people.

Searching with Dogpile

A test search brought back results with combined results from the various search engines and directories that Dogpile pulls from, but there is another column to the right with the question “Are You Looking For…” that had much better search queries and subsequently better results.

Users will notice buttons at the top of their search results, including “Best of All Search Engines“, “Google”, “Yahoo Search“, “MSN Search“, etc. Click on any of those buttons and search results will now highlight items that are specifically from that search engine in a column to the right.

Why would users want results from several different search engines?

Search engines will return dramatically different results for the same search query.

Image Search

Dogpile’s Image Search brought back good results, including better search query suggestions.

Audio and Video Search

Audio Search test searches receive results from Yahoo Search, SingingFish, and more. Most of these audio results have a quick thirty-second preview, but quite a few of them were available full-length. The Video Search is also powered by Yahoo Search, SingingFish, and more, and was similar to the Audio Search in previews and full-length results.

News Search

News Search is sortable by relevance and date, with search results returned from sources as varied as Fox News, ABC News, and Topix. The Yellow and White Pages searches are standard, with fields to search by business name, individual name, etc. Throughout all these various searches (except for the Yellow and White Pages), the ubiquitous “Are You Looking For” feature is always there, steering users to better-worded search queries.

Meta Search Features

Dogpile’s Comparison Engines demo is a friendly introduction to how metasearch engines work, with a real-time Venn diagram to demonstrate how three different search engines (Google, Yahoo, and MSN), retrieve results, and how few of them actually do overlap.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search gives users the option to narrow your searches by exact word phrases, language filters, date, domain filters, or adult filters. There is also have the option to set search preferences, with the ability to customize default search settings.

Dogpile: A Useful Search Engine

The ability to search several big search engines and directories at the same time is not only a time-saver, but it’s useful to compare results. One of the best features of Dogpile is the search suggestions, because the Suggestions can be quite a lot better than what the average searcher can come up with.

Note: Search engines change frequently. The information in this article is current at the time of this writing; this article will be updated as more information or features about meta search engine Dogpile are released.

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Search the Web with Gigablast

Use Gigablast to Search the Web

Note: The code that powers Gigablast’s search engine results was released as open source in 2013; Gigablast still powers its own search but functions as more of a platform for other projects.

What is Gigablast?

Gigablast is a Web search engine with over 2 billion pages in its index. Gigablast offers fast service, relevant search query results, and a couple of pretty cool extra search features that are well worth your time.

Gigablast Home Page

You’ll find that the Gigablast home page is clean and uncluttered, always my personal preference. In addition to the main search bar, you have available to you Directory and Travel Search. I’ll get to those in a minute, but for right now, let’s focus on the straight Web Search.

Gigablast Search

Searching with Gigablast is easy; just type in a query and go. My search for Halloween costume not only retrieved plenty of relevant results, but I also got spelling suggestions (“did you mean halloween costumes”), Giga Bits, Reference Pages, and Related Pages.

Gigablast Giga Bits

Gigablast’s Giga Bits are “related topics dynamically generated on a per query basis.” Basically, Gigablast is offering you search suggestions based on what your search query is, and for the most part, my Giga Bits were highly relevant and helped me think of more search concepts I could use to narrow down my search.

Gigablast Reference Pages

You might see Reference Pages on some of your search results pages; these are “sets of expert web sites which contain lists of links relevant to the query.” Not all of the Reference Pages will be very reference-like; but for the most part this is a useful feature.

Gigablast Related Pages

Gigablast Related Pages are “related web sites which may not even include the query terms.” Okay, this is a very, very interesting feature that I really got into.

More about this feature from a Gigablast press release:

“Related Pages are highly relevant search results which do not necessarily contain the searcher’s query terms. A lot of these related pages are never even returned by other search engines for that reason.,” said Matt Wells, CEO & founder of Gigablast.”

Gigablast Search Result Features

The more time I spent with Gigablast, the more I was impressed. For instance, at the bottom of every search result, you’ll see five unique items that most other search engines don’t include: archived copy, stripped, older copies, indexed date, and modified date. Here’s the scoop on these features:

  • Archived Copy: This is a direct link to Gigablast’s cached copy of the Web page.
  • Stripped: Image-free copy of the page.
  • Older Copies: Hard-coded link to Internet Archive’s copy of that site’s information.
  • Indexed Date: Date that Gigablast’s spiders last crawled that page.
  • Modified Date: Date that page was actually modified by site owner.

This profile of Gigablast is continued on page two.

This Gigablast profile is continued from page one.

Gigablast also offers you the opportunities to try your search on the Open Directory, Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, and Teoma. In addition, you can choose to have your Gigablast Family Filter on, or off (the radio buttons are at the bottom of the search results pages).

Gigablast Advanced Search

You can do a lot of advanced searching with Gigablast Advanced Search, including word exclusion, phrase searching, restrict to certain URL’s, site clustering to be turned on or off, results per page, etc.

You can also check out the unique Gigablast Search Syntax that will take over where Gigablast Advanced Search leaves off.

Gigablast Search Options-Web, Directory, Blogs, Travel, Gov

As I’ve already mentioned, you have a few search options with Gigablast; the Web, obviously, but then you have a few more. Gigablast’s Directory is a good resource, a solid directory and it seems to be comprised of some pretty good reference sites, primarily.

Gigablast Travel Search allows you to search Gigablast’s entire index for just information related to travel; this could be anything from information about a specific destination to flight resources. I had fun searching for information about my home town, Portland, Oregon, and especially appreciated the extra Giga Bits my search turned up.

Why Should I Use Gigablast?

A couple of things that I especially like about Gigablast:

  • Gigablast is easy to use. There’s not a lot of fancy features; it’s focus is on straightforward and simple search.
  • Gigablast returns good results. I really like the Giga Bits search suggestions/search concepts deal as well.
  • Gigablast search options. The Gigablast blog, travel, and government searches, while not perfect, are definitely full of potential and returned some pretty good results.
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Web Search Made Simple

How to Search The Web Faster, Easier, and More Efficiently

If you’ve ever been frustrated with your Web search results, today is your lucky day. Keep reading for a few simple methods that will make your Web searchefforts faster, easier, and more efficient.

1

Use more than one search engine

Couple looking at laptop computer in modern kitchen
Chris Ryan/OJO Images/Getty Images

Every search engine is different, and will give you different results. If you can’t find what you’re looking for quickly with the first search engine that you try, there’s plenty more out there that can give you more information.

Search Engines:

2

Know your search engine inside and out

It’s easy to skim the surface of your favorite search engine and only use the most prominent features; however, most search engines have a wide variety of advanced search options, tools, and services that are only available to those dedicated searchers that take the time to search ’em out. All of these options are for your benefit – and can help make your searches more productive.

Get to Know Your Search Engine:

3

Get to know common search terms

Knowing the basics of common Web search terms can help you make your Web search time a bit more productive – and thankfully, they’re really not that difficult to learn.

Common Search Terms:

4

Go off the beaten path

You can certainly find a ton of useful information with your friendly neighborhood search engine, but there’s lots of material out there that they don’t cover. That’s where the Invisible Web comes in.

Using the Invisible Web:

5

Frame your query differently

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again – but try again just a little bit differently. For instance, if you’re not getting anything good for “pogo stick championships”, try “winners pogo”, or “pogo stick first place”, etc.

Web Search: A Different View:

6

Spelling and grammar

Most search engines these days, if you misspell a word, will politely ask you “Did you mean….” and correct your spelling for you. Definitely take advantage of this feature – however, you can also get some pretty interesting results by deliberately misspelling the term that you might be searching for.

It’s Okay to Misspell?

7

Metasearch

free people search tools on the web

One search engine is great, but a dozen search engines – at one time – is even better.

Metasearch Engines

  • Search.com: Search.com retrieves results from Google, Ask Jeeves, LookSmart, AltaVista, MSN Search, and more.
  • Mamma Metasearch: Mamma.com is a good, solid meta search engine that provides fast and relevant results and excellent advanced search options.
  • Metasearch with Clusty: Learn about Clusty, a meta search engine with lots of interesting features, including a blogosphere meta search option, customization tabs, and of course, clustering.
  • Dogpile: Dogpile, a meta search engine, is a great way to compare and compile results from many different search engines and directories at the same time.
8

Global search

History of the Web

Don’t limit your Web search to just your home country – go international.

Global Web Search

9

Find some help

There are PLENTY of places on the Web where you can find expert help in a variety of subjects.

How to Find an Expert

  • Question and Answer Search Engines: If you’re looking for a specific topic with a relatively narrow focus, question and answer search engines might just be what you’re looking for. These search engines aggregate the vast resources of the Web into strictly defined categories; in other words, they make it extremely easy to find something.
  • Ask an Expert: Sometimes we forget in this age of Internet research that we can actually ask an expert for help. There are plenty of places both on and off the Web that you can tap into to find expert help for any kind of research topic that you can think of.
10

Use what other people have already done

Use caution on social media

One of my favorite things about Web search right now is the ability to harvest other people’s Web searches all over the Web with the power of social bookmarking and social networking.

What are Other People Searching For?

  • Social Bookmarking Sites: These are sites that allow users to post their favorite sites, using tags (or keywords) to categorize and organize them; then other users can take these bookmarks and add them to their own collection or share them.
  • What is Social Networking?: You might have heard the term “social networking” in your travels on the Web. What does this mean?
  • How to Use del.icio.us: del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager. It allows you to easily add sites you like to your personal collection of links.
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How to Utilize AOL Search

How to Search with AOL Search

What is AOL Search?

AOL Search has evolved from a feature that only full-fledged AOL subscribers could use, to an all access search engine. AOL’s main web search results are powered by Google.

AOL Search Home Page

AOL’s home search page is bare and uncluttered, with the search bar parked squarely in the middle of the page. You’ve got a few options available to you right from the beginning, with text linked tabs on top of the search bar (web, pictures, video, audio, news, local, and shopping).

There’s a nifty “did you know” widget below the search bar that shows up with a new snippet of AOL Search information every time you refresh your browser (“did you know saved searches keeps your history for 30 days so you don’t have to remember?”).

Plus, there’s the green Saved Searches button that – guess what – saves your searches for up to 30 days, kind of a nice feature. Your most recent searches will show up in a drop-down menu (click on the rewind button) from the main search query box.

Searching with AOL Search

As stated earlier, AOL Search results are powered, or “enhanced”, by Google.

What I most appreciate about AOL Search is the ease-of-use features that they’ve bundled into their search application.

To the right of my search results were clustered web results (another way to put this would be clustered suggestions) for more candle-related searches, such as pillar candles, highly scented candles, soy candles, aromatherapy candles, etc.

Sponsored results (these are paid ads) were front and center, with my web results right below that. Sponsored links also have a little dollar sign right next to them, so that there’s absolutely no mistaking that these are indeed paid ads. Web results, on the other hand, had little magnifying glasses next to them; a nice way to differentiate the two for people who might have any doubt in their mind what they are looking at.

AOL Search Preview

Every time you wave your mouse over a link, you get a little scissors picture inviting you to “clip this link and save”, which pops it into both your recent searches highlighted on the far left column of the search results page and your saved searches. When you go into your saved searches, you have the option of sorting through them by date or “what you typed” (what keywords you used in your search query). All searches are saved for thirty days.

AOL Search Tabs

In addition to the clustered search “suggestions” for more web searching to the far left,you can also search in AOL Search’s various categories. I clicked on “pictures” for scented candles and was transported to the image results.

AOL Video Search

Video search for scented candles got zero results, but it was interesting to see that you can choose between clips labeled “AOL Membership Required” or “Launches in AOL Video Player for Web-optimized viewing.” Audio results are clearly marked in regards to author, play quality, duration, etc., but it would have been nice to see some file types here as well.

AOL Shopping Search

AOL Shopping is simply laid out, with categories ranging from Apparel to Tools.

You can also search through BrandsDeals and Coupons, and a wide variety of shopping blogs.

Advanced Searching with AOL Search

You have a few advanced search options with AOL Search, including the choice to include all words, exact phrases, just one word or more included, kick out certain words, language, file format, etc.

I noticed that AOL Search did not respond when I used the “site:search query” string, but it worked just fine when I did the “link:search query” string.

Most of what you’ll need to do advanced-wise with AOL Search can be accomplished with the Advanced Search page.

Special AOL Search Features – Smartbox

As you’re typing in your query, sometimes you’ll see a Smartbox Suggestion right underneath the search bar. From the Smartbox information page:

“AOL is continually inventing new ways to take the challenge out of finding what you’re looking for online. AOL created Smartbox to simplify the search and navigation process and shorten the time needed to get where you want to go. Through our Patent Pending technology, we are able to provide search suggestions as you’re typing your search query.”

Basically, these “smart searches” are shortcuts to what AOL Search thinks that you might actually be looking for

AOL Search Snapshots

Another feature I appreciated was AOL Snapshots, which are instant answers for more than four million common queries.

Why Should I Use AOL Search?

Here are a few reasons that I think you should use AOL Search:

  • Ease of use. AOL’s got this one down to a science.
  • Relevant results organized in an accessible way. Sponsored results and web results clearly marked, clustered search suggestions – it all adds up to a nicely organized search results page.
  • Cool features. AOL’s clip and save widget, the Snapshots addition, and SmartBox Answers are all reasons why I can recommend AOL Search.

However, probably the number one reason would be that AOL Search makes searching the Web extremely user-friendly. This is a great tool for anyone who’s just getting their feet wet with Web search.

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Ten Alternative Search Engines

Looking for a new search engine? There are literally hundreds of really great niche search engines on the Internet that focus on specific topics: images, jobs, blogs, etc. You can find all sorts of great stuff using these alternative search engines that you might not be able to find on the more well-known search engines; plus, many of these niche search engines have really interesting features that are fun to play with. Here are my picks for the top ten alternative/niche search engines out there on the Web.

1

Blinkx

Blinkx TV is a search engine that helps you find audio, video, and podcasts using not only keywords and phrases, but also content in the actual clips that you’re looking for. For example, if you wanted to find Kermit the Frog’s “It’s Not Easy Being Green”, you could type in “having to spend each day the color of the leaves”, and Blinkx would be able to fetch what you’re looking for using not only your content, but the concept behind your content – the spoken word (or in this case, the lyrics).

2

IMDB

The Internet Movie Database is the biggest movie database on the Web. Featuring top movies, movie news, movie reviews, movie trailers, movie showtimes, DVD movie reviews,celebrity profiles,etc., the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) truly is a mammoth depository of movie information.

3

AuctionMapper

AuctionMapper is an extremely cool search engine that focuses only on eBay listings. Sure, eBay has it’s own site search; but AuctionMapper takes that site search and goes a few steps further. There’s all sorts of geeky (yet useful) fun to be had with AuctionMapper; the whole site is full of maps, animated fun things that fly around, and Star Trekky sounds. AuctionMapper is just a really well-done search engine that is not only fun to play with, but also actually useful.

4

USA.gov

USA.gov, formerly known as FirstGov.gov, is an absolutely mammoth search engine/portal that gives the searcher direct access to searchable information from the United States government, state governments, and local governments.

5

Healthline

Healthline.com is a medical information search engine. Healthline is solely dedicated to finding medical information online, and it offers medically filtered results developed by trained medical personnel. It’s really an excellent tool for finding all kinds of medical information.

6

BrainBoost

BrainBoost is an automated question-answering search engine. Here’s how it works: you type in a question, any question, and instead of merely matching your search query in page text and titles like other search engines, BrainBoost actually goes the next logical step and sorts through the search results for you, then extracts the answer to your question.

7

National Geographic’s Map Search Engine

National Geographic’s Map Machine is a gigantic collection of all the National Geographic maps in a searchable online database. There is so much to the Map Machine that it’s best to look at it piece by piece. Start with the Map Machine categories to get a big picture view of all that National Geographic map search has to offer. There’s a lot here, and it’s all searchable: world maps, satellite maps of Mars, Globe Explorer aerial imagery, and much, much more.

8

Technorati

Technorati is a real-time search engine dedicated to the blogosphere. It only searches through blogs to find exactly what you’re looking for. At the time of this writing, Technorati was tracking over 22 million sites and over a billion links, a mind-boggling amount.

9

Clusty

Clusty is a meta search engine, meaning it combines results from a variety of different sources. However, Clusty adds a bit of extra search engine goodness in the mix by giving you clustered results. Basically, Clusty uses clusters to help your search become better, helping you cast your net wider, and sometimes coming up with search queries that you might not have thought of without the clustering feature.

10

Dogpile

Dogpile is a meta search engine, meaning that it gets results from multiple search engines and directories and then presents them combined to the user. Dogpile currently gets its results from Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, Ask , About, MIVA, LookSmart, and more.

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