10 Innovative & Interesting Search Engines

Earlier this year, I had written a post on how the search paradigm is changing while majority of the search users remain on the classic way of searching on traditional search engines. Now that the web search is also about searching for for images, people, multimedia content, maps, address, directories (and not just HTML pages), the search engine user interfaces need some changes as well – and in fact, they are changing!

Innovative Search Engines

The following are some of those innovative search engines that provide intuitive user interfaces and alternative SERPs presentation methods. None of them actually have any significant market share but you never know how things change in the future.

#1 SearchMe

Search Me provides one of the most interesting user interfaces to render the SERPs as a set of flip pages. You can browse through the pages very fast and click the one that looks like the one you want. The advantage here is that you get to see the content (especially useful for image search and the sites that you are familiar with). The result set, though looks like a screen shot, has the search strings highlighted on it. Moreover, you can hover on the highlighted page to get the classic search page data (URL, title and excerpt). The result set shown is rendered via flash for a very intuitive search experience. Looks like SearchMe has cached several screen shots of static pages while it dynamically renders pages that change periodically.

searchme

Search me also offers category specific (blogs, images, video, music, news) search like most popular search engines do but it offers many more categories than the usual ones.

#2 Scoopler

Scoopler claims to be a real-time search engine. What does it mean? It simply means that the aggregation and indexing of the web pages happens as and when they are available (or changed). Scoopler does this by indexing live updates from social media, social networks etc. While traditional search engines crawl at a predefined time or frequency, scoopler indexes it as and when it gets alerted. This approach may be useful for aggregating social media/network updates but I am not sure how effective it will be to index traditional website/blog contents.

#3 Search-Cube

Search-Cube provides yet another visually appealing search result set in the form of a cube of pages. The cube can be flipped, rotated or page-skipped using keyboard arrow keys or mouse. Rendering is flash based and using thumbshots. I did not quite like the usability of it but the SERP cube looks awesome. The quality of the search results are not that good as well compared to the other second-tier search engines.

search-cube

#4 LeapFish

I had talked about LeapFish sometime ago. Leapfish provides an AJAX based search interface that simultaneously searches Google, Yahoo and MSN and renders the most appropriate consolidated result set from all those search engines. In addition, it categorizes the output very nicely as web page results, images, news, answers, videos etc.

#5 ViewZi

ViewZi relies on Google search for the data but renders the result set into rows and columns of screenshots and title/description. It is pretty easy to navigate and due to the compact tabular display, it can show more results (18 or 20) per page which I found pretty convenient.

It is possible to integrate ViewZi Site Search with your WordPress blog to enhance your default search features.

#6 Cuil

I liked Cuil for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is damn fast and the number of indexed pages is huge though I am not sure if it’s sourced from one of the leading search engines. Secondly, along with the search results it lists some related categories on the right sidebar plus some of the related search words as tabs on top. Another interesting aspect is the pagination at the bottom that is frozen where as most other search engines, you have to scroll down to find the next pages link. In terms of relevancy, I thought the results were pretty good just like leapfish.

#7 DuckDuckGo

You may need to take a little bit time to understand how DuckDuckGo organizes its search results but it looks like they had some great ideas behind its implementation. For example, when you search for names (e.g. ajith), it organizes the results first on the basis of all people with that name and then it gives you the possibility to browse actual web page results for that search literal. If the searched name belongs to a famous personality, it organizes the SERPs based on the official site, social media profiles etc. The search results are more exploration oriented in nature and it may take a while before you actually hit the page that you want but all that you need to do is to keep clicking. The search is fast but I got bored with it somehow.

DuckDuckGo also provides options to search further on social networks, certain branded stores, wikipedia, news sites etc other than the default search.

#8 Dogpile

I believe that DogPile is not exactly a fun search engine but a serious contender to tier one search engines. There is nothing really fancy about dogpile but it brings out the most relevant search results by pinging indexed pages from Google, Yahoo, Live and Ask. It also provides directory searches but what I liked the most is the ‘Are you looking for?’ feature where it lists related and most relevant search options.

#9 ChaCha

ChaCha is more of an ‘answering engine’ than a search engine. Basically the ideas is to interactively browse the ‘who?’, ‘what?’, ‘when?’, ‘where?’, ‘why?’, ‘how?’ categories and drill down further to arrive at your answers. You can also do a web search but it’s particularly handy in the answering mode.

The ChaCha search site’s initial load time is high due to the graphics intensive homepage. It lists the live questions (like most recent searches) which is a very good feature especially when you browse current topics.

#10 KartOO

KartOO calls itself an ‘Interface Mapping Metasearch Engine’ whatever that means. Though I did not particularly like its neon looks, the number of options it has to customize the result set looks is amazing. It can be just text SERPs to graph like output (and several other options in between). The search is relatively slow and so is the loading of the flash based display. However, the graph option is pretty handy because it shows the outbound and inbound links of related sites in a very useful way. I have not experimented with KartOO too much yet but would like to explore it more.

Over to you

Which one of the above search engines did you find appealing? Have you come across any such interesting search engines??

Happy Searching!

Comments

  1. Raju :

    Awesome!! plain awesome… Honestly, I didn’t know more than half of the services listed out here. I would need an hour atleast to explore each of them in detail. Thanks for the list :)
    Btw, I had written a post on “person-search engines” long time back, thought it will be useful to share here

    http://techpp.com/2008/10/31/looking-for-you-on-the-net/

  2. Sushil :

    Good list here – I have to admit didnt know of most of these till I saw this list as well :-) .

  3. Wow that’s a nice list. I have tried only SearchME. Will try other too

    Madhur Kapoor´s last blog post… Get Quick Access to your Favourite Folders with Direct Folders

  4. Erez :

    What about Qwiji? the flip through search search? try it ! http://www.qwiji.com/

  5. Search me really awesome..It’s totally different innovative idea..

    Thanks for sharing these Ajith.

    TechZoomIn´s last blog post… How to Generate Quality Articles for Your Blog

  6. Really interesting post. Did not know much about many of these search engines. Will try them out tomorrow. BTW I did not have great experience with chacha when I tried them. Might be they have improved.

    binaryday´s last blog post… 4 types of pagerank tools

  7. Cool list, i like dogpile

    Anish K.S´s last blog post… Kangana Ranaut & Janardhan Baba With Salman Khan on 10 Ka Dum

  8. awesome post….I never heard of any one of the above until before you wrote here..THANKS…now i will be regularly using them

    IndianCashMaker´s last blog post… How does Blogging Make Money?

  9. Nihar :

    Ajith, great list, I also admit with others that i don’t know some of the search engines above.

    The search engines with visual looks of results might eat lot of bandwidth. Am i right?

    Will check each of them in leisure.

    Nihar´s last blog post… Get Free Maxim Magazine Subscription 2009 For 1 Year for Canada and USA

  10. Where did you find all of these man, I haven’t even heard the names of most of them. Am living a cave, now its confirmed.

    :)

    Arun Basil Lal´s last blog post… Best of WordPress Resources Tweeted on @MillionClues

  11. Honestly, who needs anything except Google? Some fields has multiple players at the top, because the top player is not as strong as their competitors.

    When it comes to search engines, there is simply no competition. GOOGLE all the way. !

    Ramesh Natarajan´s last blog post… Google Chrome OS – Beginning of End of Microsoft?

  12. moserw :

    I’ve personally seen and used a few of them, but never been impressed with anything other than Google. The reasons being not the interface and the GUI but the search results themselves. In terms of that Google is just unbeatable and in a search engine that’s what people are primarily looking for, accurate and correct results. The results Google comes up with, the other search engines do not even show up. I tried Yahoo and others for a while but found them omitting sites that Google showed. Even MS’s new Bing is way too behind.

    Coming to Google improving their interface, well why fix something that’s not broken and also Google makes most money from the ads on its search engine so I guess they will not be messing with that anytime soon.

    moserw´s last blog post… Banana Bournvita Milkshake Recipe!

  13. It’s really good to target all these search engines, but I believe that all of them have different algorithm in determining ranking. You rank well for one, but you might not be ranking well for another. Also, I think current no search engine can beats Google search engine, even the current Bing search engine from Microsoft.

    Anyway, it’s good to know and try. :D

    Regards,
    Lee

    Make Money Online´s last blog post… The Truths They Don’t Tell You About Making Thousands of Dollars Online

  14. Awesome List! I never knew so many search engines existed until i saw this post of yours

    Keep coming up with such great stuff Ajith

    Cheers
    Sandeep

    Curious Little Person´s last blog post… Make Money Online Series Part 3 – Get Paid to Blog

  15. From the above I guess I used only Cuil Once… got to try the rest. Else I normally uses only Google :-?

    Kurt Avish´s last blog post… Mayara Tavares Bum Interests Obama and Sarcozy! Oula!

  16. Ajith, Nice compilation. I din’t knew about many of the of the search engines listed over here. Thanks for the useful info.

    I have recently come across one new & innovative search engine called SnappyFingers. It’s basically a question and answer search engine. Though it is still in beta, it worked well for me few times compared to traditional search engines.

    Prasanna´s last blog post… Get instant access to 2780 Live TV Channels directly from your Firefox browser

  17. thanks, for the great search engine post, how you find them?

    teratips´s last blog post… Why we Use the Office 2010?

  18. @Raju, Some of the UX concepts are really good though I expect search engines to be a lot faster in the coming days. Thanks for the post link.

    @Sushil, @Madhur, thanks :)

    @Erez, quiji looks interesting as well. Its usability could be improved. By default, I probably expect web search.

    @Lax, yep, search me’s way of flipping through screenshots look amazing.

    @SK, ChaCha was never my first preference, but they have an interesting concept so I put it in the list here :)

    @Anish, I liked DogPile as well :)

    @Tushar, not sure if some of them can be used regularly as the strength of the indexed pages is not that great in some cases.

    @Nihar, Some of them kill you in terms of bandwidth while most others are okay.

    @Arun, a couple of them wrote to me mails in the past to review their search engines… I just kept adding the names to the list and to make it 10 I actually searched and found a few :lol:

    @Ramesh, true – it’s Google all the way though I was one of the last to start using Google :) I used alltheweb until about three years back before switching to google. They use to give best matches for my queries while Google used to give a lot of pages but many of them obsolete. This was the case earlier but I now depend big time on Google. On the flip side, depending on one SE can be bad at times :)

    @Rajiv, definitely Google rules the globe! You are right about bing, I see that they don’t have even half of what Google has indexed.

    @Lee, they are just for your usage if it helps – not for you blog to rank high there in :) If you go about doing SEO for all of them you get nowhere.

    @Sandeep, there are many more of them. There are certain sites that list countrywise search engines. There are 1000s of them.

    @Kurt, Google is what most of us use as well :)

    @Pras, I will try out SnappyFingers in detail. Thanks for the info :)

    @teratips, a few were informed by their own creators and a few I searched and found out :P

    Thank you all for your comments!

  19. Fabulous search engine list, that you have mentioned. i dint hear about this before. Thank you.

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