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Search Engines Search Engines List  Overview

The search engines below are all excellent choices to start with when searching for information.


Google has a well-deserved reputation as the top choice for those searching the web. The crawler-based service provides both comprehensive coverage of the web along with great relevancy. It's highly recommended as a first stop in your hunt for whatever you are looking for.

An excellent crawler-based search engine, All The Web provides both comprehensive coverage of the web and outstanding relevancy. If you tried Google and didn't find it, All The Web should probably be next on your list. Indeed, it's a first stop search engine, for some. In addition to web page results, provides the ability to search for news stories, pictures, video clips, MP3s and FTP files.


Launched in 1994, Yahoo is the web's oldest "directory," a place where human editors organize web sites into categories. However, in October 2002, Yahoo made a giant shift to using Google's crawler-based listings for its main results.

MSN Search

Microsoft is known for constantly reworking its software products until they get them right, and MSN Search is a shining example of the company putting that same effort into an online product. In particular, the company has its own team of editors that monitors the most popular searches being performed and then hand-picks sites that are believed to be the most relevant. After performing a search, "Popular Topics" shown below the search box on the results page are also suggestions built largely by editors to guide you into making a more refined search. When appropriate, search results may also feature links to encyclopedia content from Microsoft Encarta or news headlines, at the top of the page.

Strongly Consider

The search engines below are other good choices to consider when searching the web.

AOL Search (internal)

AOL Search provides users with editorial listings that come Google's crawler-based index. Indeed, the same search on Google and AOL Search will come up with very similar matches. So, why would you use AOL Search? Primarily because you are an AOL user. The "internal" version of AOL Search provides links to content only available within the AOL online service. In this way, you can search AOL and the entire web at the same time. The "external" version lacks these links.
Why wouldn't you use AOL Search? If you like Google, many of Google's features such as "cached" pages are not offered by AOL Search.

Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves initially gained fame in 1998 and 1999 as being the "natural language" search engine that let you search by asking questions and responded with what seemed to be the right answer to everything.


HotBot provides easy access to the web's four major crawler-based search engines:, Google, Inktomi and Teoma, all of which are described elsewhere on this page.
Nevertheless, it's a fast, easy way to get different web search "opinions" in one place.


Lycos is one of the oldest search engines on the web, launched in 1994. It ceased crawling the web for its own listings in April 1999 and instead uses crawler-based results provided by AllTheWeb.


Teoma is a crawler-based search engine owned by Ask Jeeves. It has a smaller index of the web than its rival crawler-competitors Google,, Inktomi and AltaVista.

Search Providers

The companies below are really in the business of providing search results to other people, rather than hoping you'll visit their own sites to search. They are listed here primarily to provide further explanation of how they partner with some of the search engines listed above.


Among the major search engines, Inktomi is the second-oldest crawler. It briefly operated as an experimental search engine at UC Berkeley. However, the creators then formed their own company in 1996 with the same name and gained their first customer, HotBot, in the middle of that year. The company then pursued a strategy of "powering" other search engines, rather than running its own branded service for the public.


LookSmart is a human-compiled directory of web sites. The company does operate its own web site, but this really isn't intended for the public to use. Instead, similar to Inktomi, LookSmart provides its results to other search engines that need listings.

Open Directory

The Open Directory uses volunteer editors to catalog the web. Formerly known as NewHoo, it was launched in June 1998. It was acquired by AOL Time Warner-owned Netscape in November 1998, and the company pledged that anyone would be able to use information from the directory through an open license arrangement.


Formerly called GoTo until late 2001, Overture is an extremely popular paid placement search engine that provides ads to many of the search engines listed above.

Other Choices

The sites below are "major" in the sense that they either still receive significant amounts of traffic or they've earned a reputation in the past that still causes some people to consider them to be important. For various reasons explained below, they are not among our top search choices. However, certainly feel free to try them. They could turn out to be top choices for you.


AltaVista is the oldest crawler-based search engine on the web. It opened in December 1995 and for several years was the "Google" of its day, in terms of providing relevant results and having a loyal group of users that loved the service.

Netscape Search

Owned by AOL Time Warner, Netscape Search uses Google for its main listings, just as does AOL's other major search site, AOL Search. So why use Netscape Search rather than Google? Unlike with AOL Search, there's no compelling reason to consider it. The main difference between Netscape Search and Google is that Netscape Search will list some of Netscape's own content at the top of its results. Netscape also has a completely different look and feel than Google. If you like either of these reasons, then try Netscape Search. Otherwise, you're probably better off just searching at Google.


Like Teoma, WiseNut is a crawler-based search engine that attracted attention when it appeared on the scene in 2001. Like Teoma, WiseNut features good relevancy. Unlike Teoma, WiseNut has a large database, making it nearly as comprehensive as Google, AllTheWeb and Inktomi. However, the WiseNut database has consistently been months out of date. The search engine is supposed to be regularly updated sometime in 2003, when WiseNut's owner LookSmart is promising to revamp the engine. LookSmart bought WiseNut in April 2002. If the revamp happens, then WiseNut may deliver on its initial promise.

More Search Engine Lists

Still looking for more search engines? Consider these options:

Other Global Search Engines
Other services that cover the world. They may not be as popular or well-known as the services above, but they may still be helpful

Community-Based Search Engines
Places where volunteers are involved in the listing process

Guides To Search Engines
Lists places that themselves list hundreds of search engines worldwide.

Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved
The Search Engine Report, March 4, 2003


Not a list of search engines but some additional past history about the major players above and former major search engines that have faded in glory or disappeared entirely, over time.

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