Good Metasearch Engines
C4, found at http://www.c4.com/, is one of the better metacrawlers available. C4 and Ixquick represent the two types of results one gets from metasearch engines. The pair complement each other and should be used in tandem.
Ixquick, found at http://www.ixquick.com/, is less well known than it deserves to be.
- C4 searches over 20 individual search engines, but does not readily identify which ones. The search engines used are only listed with the results.
- Quality of results is usually good (ranking formula leads to occasionally questionable results), with a high number of results.
- Allows for both Boolean and natural language searching.
- Response time is on the slower side, even with a fast connection.
- Quotes the search terms or string on the results, rather than providing annotated results.
C/Net Search.com, found at http://www.search.com/, is another of the good, standard metacrawlers.
- Ixquick searches only 14 engines, but they are mostly good ones. Ixquick identifies them all and allows the user to select which search engines to use.
- Quality of results is usually good (ranking formula more reliable than C4) but provides fewer results than C4. Quality (in theory) rather than quantity.
- Boolean searching; natural language searches are turned over only to search engines that can handle natural language searches.
- Response time is fast.
- Often provides annotations of the results, rather than simply quoting from the sites.
- Allows users to search for MP3s, images, and news stories.
Dogpile, found at http://www.dogpile.com/index.gsp, is a good metacrawler for brute force searches.
- It claims to search over 800 search engines, although many of these are specialized, including e-texted reference works, search engines, computer databases, and so on.
- Boolean searching.
- Results vary in quality but are usually at least relevant.
- Search.com has an average response time.
- Sometimes provides annotations of the results.
- Search.com aims to be more than a metacrawler. It offers access to public records, criminal records (for a fee), MP3s, downloads, stock prices, etc. This may indicate a lack of focus on the site's part which should be taken into consideration.
- Dogpile searches over a dozen search engines, most of which are at least decent.
- Results vary in quality but are usually useful, at the least.
- Boolean searching.
- Dogpile has expanded beyond its original metacrawling-only origins. As with Search.com, this may indicate a diffusion of intent, which may be a weakness.