Despite what Google would like us to think, there really isn’t a definitive engine. None of the search engines catalogs all of the web sites. So it makes sense to know about a few of them and to know how they work together.
Many of the search engines share databases, which is part of the reason results may look similar in different search engines. Bruce Clay has a wonderful chart that diagrams the relationships of the major search engines (http://www.bruceclay.com/searchenginerelationshipchart.htm). The chart is especially helpful if you have a web site that you want the search engines to find. Tap into the big feeder search engines and you’ll reach the others.
The top search engines include:
Google – http://www.google.com
Yahoo – http://www.yahoo.com
MSN – http://search.msn.com
Ask – http://www.ask.com
See the popularity of various major search engines at SearchEngineWatch (http://searchenginewatch.com/reports/article.php/2156451).
Specialty search engines include:
Yahooligans http://www.yahooligans.com – still my favorite for kids
NexTag http://www.nextag.com – for comparison shopping
Business.com http://www.business.com – for business sites
Melissa Data http://www.melissadata.com/Lookups – a couple of good info databases
Beyond Google http://www.llrx.com/features/supersearch.pdf – a presentation that includes lots of scientific and academic search tools
I hope that helps!
If you’re located in the Twin Cities, you are welcome to join us (ASIST & others) tomorrow evening for a great talk on information policy. You can get more info online (http://www.asis.org/Chapters/mnasis/index.html) or just let me know if you want more details.