How to find information from Internet - Part I Meta Search Engines

Search engine is the most important tool for finding information from Internet. All of us use it in varying degrees. Usually, we search for information using one or two search engines (e.g. AltaVista, Google) or directories (e.g. Yahoo). But these search tools have their limitations:

  • None of them cover all pages on the Web.
  • There is a long lead time (often weeks) to index new pages.
  • They generally cover the Web only, excluding other important information sources on the Internet.
  • They usually index only "static" Web pages, excluding the large body of information stored in databases on Web sites and retrieved on demand.
  • They employ limited "intelligence" in their search - mostly relying on occurrence or non-occurrence of search word.

However, even within its limitations - search engines can provide far more useful information provided you invest some time and effort in understanding how they work and learn tips on getting the most out of them. The problem is few people take the time to read and understand the directions. Consequently, some Internet users wind up with thousands of irrelevant matches simply because they don't know how to conduct an accurate search.

While we shall discuss how to refine your searches and extract more from search engines in future issues - here is one technique to quickly get more from your search - by using meta search engine.

Meta search engines query multiple search engines on the Web simultaneously and compile the results for you. Most meta search engines allow you to search web-pages, files, music, images etc.

So, instead of going through each search engine - use meta search and get results from multiple search engines at one place.

Some of the better known Meta Search Engines are:

It searches a broad varieties of information like: Web Search Engines: About, Ah-ha, Ask Jeeves, Dogpile Web Catalog, ePilot, FindWhat, Kanoodle, LookSmart, Open Directory, Overture, SearchHippo, Sprinks and Yahoo! Images: Same as Web Search Engine Audio/MP3: Astraweb, Audio Galaxy and MP3Board Files: Yaga News: Dogpile Web Catalog Multimedia: VastVideo

Metacrawler: Very powerful meta search engine Mamma: Called Mother of all search engines ! : Online forms for most major and minor search engines from CNET Jayde Online Directory : Surfwax: Helps focus searches and provides real-time page summaries ProFusion : Metor : SearchBug :

Go ahead and use them and feel free to share your experience with us.

Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 3, Issue 8 June 13' 2002

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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