- just under 70% had used Google
- 25% had used Yahoo
- just over 5% had used a variety of other search engines (MSN, AOL, AOL UK, and Windows Live)
Search engine alternatives
Dogpile : I recommend giving Dogpile a try - it's a quite a bit slower at start up but returns all the results from all the main search engines. (Google, Windows Live, Yahoo! Search and Ask.com).
What this means is that if Google is being silly about a site (which it does periodically) and not showing it then you'll probably find it if you use Dogpile. I find it the best one for finding sites which are proving elusive. There is also a UK version of Dogpile.
From a personal perspective, the big bonus of Dogpile is that it tells you where your own website is showing up in different search engines. For example it shows this blog as being found on Google, Windows Live, Yahoo! Search but not in Ask.com
It appears to me to be uncluttered by the sort of 'advertisement' entries which appear to becoming more and more prevalent in Google. It also highlights those entries whose only claim to fame is that it can be found on "Ads on Google". I find I tend to get a much 'cleaner' search on Dogpile. It also shows popular searches of the moment on its front page.
I know it's an unfortunate name, the story about how it came about is equally silly!
Metacrawler is a new one I've only just found (by putting 'best search engine' into dogpile!) I like this one because it places this blog above that new upstart website for all the people who mark exams! ;)
Like Dogpile it indicates which search engines a site can be found on.
What's also interesting for me is that it also identifies the search engines which have indexed particular blog posts on this blog. I now know the reason why certain posts get such heavy traffic!
Clusty: Another good one is Clusty - mainly because it creates sensible groupings of links. This post by Vivismo explains how Clusty came about and how it works. I am still amazed at what it does. It's a revelation if you're used to conventional search engines.
This one is very good if you're trying to find a site which sounds or has the same name as something else.
Give me back my Google is an excellent site written by Oliver Humpage for getting rid of all those nuisance entries from all the major selling and comparison sites and affiliate links. They have the site clout to muscle their way to the top of the front page - but they can also really confuse your search results in a major way.
Give me back my Google basically takes your search query and then adds in an algorithm (with the syntax "-inurl:(site1|site2|site3...)" ) which excludes responses from the likes of kelkoo, bizrate, dealtime etc etc. Basically if a site is purely a comparison site, with no extra useful information, it gets removed from results. It leaves in all the pure paid for and obvious adverts.
I keep this one permanently on browser menu for those times when Google gives me the screaming abdabs!
Ask.com This is not one I usually use much. Partly because it has too few results per page relative to adverts and partly because it's impossible to get out of the UK site. However it is good at suggesting related searches.
Are there any more out there?
I'm always interested to hear of different search engines which have emerged. Do leave a comment if you know of a good one and please say why you have found it to be a good alternative to other search engines.
[Note: Producing the sketch at the top of this post was not without problems. In fact it was quite similar to the sort of visual noise you sometimes get when doing a search. You can read about the problems of drawing buildings in the dark from inside a cafe in my post this week on Urban Sketchers - St Paul's Cathedral at night]