Comparing Search Engines:

Exploring the World Wide Web

Combined Subject and Keyword Searchers

Yahoo features a hierarchically organized subject tree of information resources which have registered. It offers limited search options, but is often a useful starting place because of its large database of authoritative sources. Information about states and countries (under Regional) is particularly useful in schools. Restrict your search to one of the subcategories to avoid retrieving business-related entries.

The Internet Sleuth is less well-known, but it offers a wide variety of specialized searches by category.

Webcrawler is lightning fast and returns a weighted list of links. It analyzes the full text of documents, allowing the searcher to locate keywords which may have been buried deep within a document's text. Read its Search Tips.

Lycos is named after a quick and agile ground spider. It searches document titles, headings, links, and keywords, and returns the first 50 words of each page it indexes for your search. Its search engine is more configurable than Webcrawler. Choose Sites by Subject to browse by topic.

Web Robots

Web "robots" depend on software which automatically searches the World Wide Web for new material.

Excite currently contains searches of one and a half million webpages, UseNet news articles and classified ads as well as links to current news, weather, etc. It presents results with a detailed summary to allow you a quicker selection of appropriate sites for information.

Alta Vista is "arguably the most comprehensive index of documents on the web." Use Boolean operators on the Advanced Search screen.

Multithreaded Search Engines

Multithreaded search engines are slower, but give you more search options and compare results from more than one search engine. They are likely to return more specific information with more precision than the robots.

SavvySearch allows you to specify the sources and types of information you want to retrieve.

Metacrawler is highly configurable, similar to Savvy Search, and verifies and collates the results.

See also the June and July, 1996, issues of PC Magazine for extensive reviews of search engines:
Researching With the Web
Finding Your Needles in the Web's Haystack

Select a complex topic (one with several search terms) and search for information about it in each of the above search engines. Compare the results. Now, what's your favorite search engine?

Go back to Searching the 'Net