Specialised search engines bring you more
Mar 14, 2008, 13:06 GMT
Washington - If your search for information on the Web starts and ends with Google, Yahoo, or MSN, you're missing out. Sure, you can use the big three search engines to find more types of information than ever before, but there are still some specialised search engines that do better with less. If searching the Internet is part of your daily routine, consider putting the following tools in your toolbox - and your bookmark list.
Now that Google has an 'images' link on its main search page, few venture beyond that when looking for specific types of pictures on the Web. That's a shame, though, because the vast majority of multimedia files available on the Web are stored on sites to which Google has limited or no access.
Sites such as Flickr, Smugmug, and PhotoSite have thousands of members that store images online. You could go to each of those sites to search for images. A better way, though, is to reach for FaganFinder's (http://www.faganfinder.com/img) image searching tool.
With FaganFinder, you can use one search field to search several dozen sites that contain rich image repositories. FaganFinder acts as a kind of front end to the image searching tool of your choice.
Type a search term, select the site you'd like to explore, and click Search. FaganFinder passes your search term to the site you've chosen, and you're presented the results. While you cannot search multiple image repositories at once with FaganFinder, the site is a very handy way to access the major stashes of images on the Web through one interface.
PicSearch (http://www.picsearch.com) claims to be better than your average image searching tool, thanks to its indexing algorithms, which the company says provide better results for search terms. While that claim is tough to verify, it's clear that PicSearch's results are nicely displayed and come from a wide variety of sources.
The Web is alive with the sound of music - or just with sounds. The trouble lies in finding what you want. No major search engine is going to help you to find lots copyrighted music to download without paying for it, but there's plenty of free music available online if you know where to look.
Start by looking at Songza (http://www.songza.com). This unique search tool finds an amazing number of music from both major artists and unknowns. Included among search results are sometimes rare or bootlegged songs that have somehow found their way somewhere onto the Web. Type 'Neil Young' in the search field, for instance, and you'll find versions of the popular musician's songs that you've likely never heard before.
Songza not only finds recordings from musicians that you know but also makes suggestions, based upon your searches, about which music you might. You can also click the 'top played' tab to see what other users have been listening to. Songza provides a fascinating and enjoyable way to experience music on the Web.
The Web is slowly but surely becoming a replacement for the television. Witness the number of videos that adorn the pages of everything from news sites to Internet forums. Wouldn't it be great if there were a way to locate a specific video when you wanted to?
That's the question that Suranga Chandratillake asked in 2004, and the result is Blinkx (http://www.blinkx.com), which bills itself as the world's largest and most advanced video search engine.
Whether you come away from Blinkx agreeing with that assessment, one thing's for sure: you can use the Blinkx to find a lot of videos, very quickly. Blinkx is attractively laid out and, like Google and other search engines that now offer video searching, makes it easy simply to type a search term and find some videos with one click.
But Blinkx goes beyond Google and the rest by allowing you to narrow your video searches by category. Tabs for World News, Entertainment, Business, Sports, and more mean that you have more tools at your disposal to find the type of video you want - rather than having to wade through dozens that are inappropriate. You can spend a lot of time at Blinkx watching videos from around the world, so be warned.
Blogs are everywhere these days - and that's part of the problem for anyone who might actually want to find some that are worth reading. While you can use Google and the other major search engines to locate blogs, you won't get results that filter out the special from the mundane.
That's where the Technorati (http://technorati.com) can help. Technorati catalogues only blogs, and it ranks its listings according to how often they're referenced by other sources, including other blogs.
So the list of results you get from a search term is likely to turn up the blogs that many people find the most interesting. The Blog Search Engine (http://www.blogsearchengine.com) has the same mission, although is uses results from Google as a basis for its picks.