Alternatives to Searching with Google

Google is the king of Internet search engines, but it isn't your only search option. Alternative search engines, which broaden your search options, include sites like Cuil, GoodSearch, Searchme, and Viewzi.

More than half of all Internet search results come from Google. It casts the widest net by indexing billions of Web pages and offering thousands of results for a simple search. Explore alternative search engines, which offer cool features like raising money for charities based on your usage; 3-D results pages; and slick ways to view search results.

Cuil

Pronounced like "cool," cuil is, according to the site, an Old Irish term meaning "knowledge." The algorithm that powers the Cuil search engine doesn't rely on any popularity statistics, but instead ranks results based on content and relevance. From its Web site: "When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page's coherency."

The beauty of Cuil is its results page, which makes it easier and more fun to Web surf. In addition to the standard search results, you get a list of different categories of searches, along with clickable search recommendations based on the results returned in your search. For example, if you search for digital TV transition, you get not only a list of relevant Web pages, but in the Explore by Category section on the right, you get lists of other search terms in categories like History Of Television, Film And Video Technology, and United States Communications Regulation.

GoodSearch

Yahoo! has its own search engine that's in constant competition with Google. GoodSearch is a charitable extension of the Yahoo! search engine. At GoodSearch, you can choose one of over 75,000 nonprofit organizations, and every time you use GoodSearch to comb the Internet, that organization receives a penny.

A penny may not seem like a lot, but when you consider the millions of searches every day, it can quickly add up.

SearchMe

SearchMe is a relatively new search engine, so its results might not be as far-reaching as other search sites. But those results appear in an awesome three-dimensional format that shows you a screenshot of the Web pages that it found. You can riffle through these screenshots to find just the page you want.

Click the arrow below those results to turn the bottom half of the screen into Google-like text results. Click one of those text results (not the link itself, but in the area around it), and the image results in the top half of the screen immediately flip to a screen shot of that Web page. Search engines like this could make the Back button all but obsolete.

SearchMe also has a Twitter feature that lets you add a search to your Twitter stream.

Viewzi

Viewzi isn't really a search engine; it's a metasearch engine. Like other metasearch engines (such as Dogpile and Excite), Viewzi simultaneously searches and returns results from other search engines. What sets Viewzi apart is its array of results interfaces that allow you to control where you search, what types of things you search for, and how those results are returned.

Here are a few of the slicker views you can choose from:

  • Video X3: Returns video results from Joost, YouTube, and Viddler in three rows of images.
  • 4 Sources: Searches Google, Yahoo!, Ask.com, and MSN and returns screen shots of the resulting pages in color-coded stacks showing which search engines returned which pages.
  • Books by Amazon: A great way to browse Amazon.com's virtual shelves. The results show books' cover art, price, author, average rating, price, favorable and critical reviews, and publishing information and include a link to purchase the book.
  • Recipes: Searches Epicurious, SimplyRecipes, 101 Cookbooks, and MyRecipes. The results show the recipe name, where it was found, and a nice photo of the finished dish.
  • Photo Tag Cloud: Simply the best way to search Flickr tags, this three-dimensional view lets you click anywhere to add new search terms to broaden or narrow your search.