There’s one problem with having a major search engine so popular that people often use it as a synonym for “search”: People barely know about alternatives. When you think about it, there’s more than one kind of user on the web, definitely with more than one kind of purpose. Why should one general-purpose engine be the only one everybody uses?
There are various different types of users on the web, with different features important to each one. Even if your needs are pretty basic, using a different search engine just gives you a refreshing view of the web sometimes instead of the same old hits. Here, we’ll list some of the most interesting search engine niches out there:
Creative types or the curious explorer might be intrigued by https://www.bananaslug.com/. Powered by Microsoft Bing, it takes your normal search query and adds a random word to it. The random word pool comes from jargon files, word lists, glossaries, and other themed groups. Sometimes it hits a dud, but most of the time it will bend an ordinary search into a fascinating discovery of a link between your search term and something you never thought of, like a Tarot card or a color or a fictional archetype. Worth a try!
We all know what a lot of people search for on the web, especially when they’re not working! https://hot.com knows it too, so you won’t find lots of irrelevant search results here when you just have one thing in mind. It indexes adult entertainment and dating sites and other items of mature content, to the exclusion of anything else. This is quite useful for setting the context for those arcane niche interests that you think nobody else has.
You’ve probably heard that big Internet companies harvest and use your data in intrusive ways. As the informational libertine saying goes, “If the service is free, you are the product.” If you’re tired of being a chip on the table for ad networks, give https://duckduckgo.com a try. It’s a privacy-protecting search engine that aggregates other search engines for you into anonymous, cookie-free results. Now what you search for and how you use the web are nobody’s business but your own.
The name has nothing to do with cats, but stands for “catalog.” It’s a search engine which aggregates 10K libraries from around the world, finding research materials for student needs. https://www.worldcat.org/ works for books, periodicals, archives, and even digital media like CDs and DVDs. You can also punch in your location to get a location-based search, finding materials in the closest library to you.
Are you tired of commercial web results clogging up your results page when you need to research a subject that just happens to lend itself to competitive keywords? ISeek indexes non-commercial sources only – universities, governments, nonprofit agencies, and other public resources. In this way, you’re guaranteed to get only informed results from sources of expertise. This is a great research tool that cuts the commercial spam out of the way, for when you need that answer fast.
One of the great grandfather sites of the “Web 2.0” movement at the turn of the century, Technorati focuses on indexing blogs. It furthermore serves up the results ranked by popularity according to user polls, which cuts out the lower-quality results. Whenever you want to find out what the blogosphere is buzzing about and don’t care for larger news organizations to weigh in, this is the search engine for you.
HotBot is a security-focused search engine, but of a different kind. It screens out sites which may be a risky click – spam, malware, redirects, scripting attacks, and shady practices in general. HotBot is powered by Inktomi, one of the oldest search technologies on the web, which then delivers results certified and verified. If you’re running an older gadget and not too secure about its ability to withstand a modern-day ransomware attack, this is the search engine you can trust.