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Hobbs: Sometimes, the little engine that could is best for searches

When many people think of search engines, they automatically envision Google.

This makes sense given Google’s magnitude; it’s by far the leader among search engines. But being the leader doesn’t always mean that it is the best for every search. The answer to queries could unlock more from the Internet than what is represented in a Google-only search.

Why should you consider another search engine? Google has a large number of Web sites indexed and cataloged, but it doesn’t have the entire Internet indexed and cataloged. Using other search engines may yield useful Web sites that aren’t available on Google. Diversity is the spice of life.

What should people consider when looking for a different search engine? They should try to find an engine that fits their searching style and needs. It can be easy for people to simply assume that Google is the only game in town and they must adapt to it rather than the search engine adapting to them.

One search engine that has been around for a while is alltheweb.com. It may provide Web sites that aren’t on Google.

Another engine that has been in Google’s shadow for years is Dogpile.com. Dogpile is a metasearch engine, and metasearch engines allow you to search several engines at once. This in turn allows you to cast a wider net.

Leapfish.com is a search engine that provides results from MSN, Google and Yahoo. What really makes Leapfish stand out is that when it refreshes, new results can be added to your list.

One of my favorite Google alternatives is Cuil.com. The search tips that are offered after your results are returned make it easy to refine the topic you are looking for.

What are the options for those who just don’t want to let go of Google? The obvious one is to continue to use Google. For those who want to slowly wean themselves from a Google-only diet, they can use Leapfish.com, which searches Google.

Or they can go to Google lite. Ecosmartsearch.com is another search engine that was created by the people at Google. It is designed to be a greener Web site that allows monitors to be more energy efficient.

Although this article may come across as being anti-Google by some, it isn’t intended as such. If you have read some of my previous articles, then you should know that I consistently urge people to try the various incarnations of Google and its many applications.

To truly get the most out of the vast resources of the Internet, you can’t limit yourself to the popular Web sites. Occasionally, stepping off the beaten path could be just what is needed.

Quincey Hobbs is a team member at the University of Arizona’s Center for Computing and Information Technology and an instructor at Pima Community College. Send questions to quinceyresponds @yahoo.com.

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