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Meta Searching: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by: Derek Taylor

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First, a definition. Meta Search - A search tool that queries several search engines and/or web directories simultaneously and returning the results in a single merged list without the duplicate links.
Confused? Let me give you an example. Let's say there is a meta search engine you have recently found that searchs two engines, say Google and Yahoo. It searches both of these search engines and then returns the combined results to you, without any duplicates (results that appear on both engines). Sounds neat , huh? Well, there are pros and cons with meta searching that the user should be aware of in order to make his searching as productive as possible.


THE PROS

Meta searching is fast, and saves considerable time for the user since you may query several engines and directories simultaneously rather than typing in a single query in every search engine that you wish to get results. Webmasters will find meta searching extremely valuable in checking their site's page listings, backlinks, keyword ranking, etc. Any other profession that is research-oriented would also find meta searching a must-have.


THE CONS

Most, not all, meta searchers do not allow site submissions. This is because most do not maintain their own database of page listings. They simply get results from other search engines. Because most meta searchers query anywhere from 4 to 12 engines and directories simultaneously, and not all of them will allow Boolean searching, many meta searchers therefore will not allow Boolean searching. (Boolean seaching is the use of operators such as AND, OR, quotation marks, and plus/minus symbols.)


THE META SEARCH ENGINES

Meta search engines come in a variety of forms. The standard meta searcher simply queries several engines and returns the results on a single page. Others return results from each engine queried separately, either dividing them on a single page or opening multiple
browser windows, each containing the results from a different engine. And another type, generally known as all-in-one search, also allows you to query many different engines, but just one engine at a time.


STANDARD META SEARCHERS: OLD SCHOOL

These are some "oldies but goodies." These engines have been around for years and are quite popular.

http://www.dogpile.com - DogPile
http://www.mammma.com - Mamma
http://www.metacrawler.com - MetaCrawler
http://www.metasearch.com - MetaSearch
http://www.metaeureka.com - MetaEureka
http://www.multimeta.com - MultiMeta
http://www.search.com - Search.com
http://www.supercrawler.com - SuperCrawler
http://www.webcrawler.com - WebCrawler
http://www.vivissimo.com - Vivissimo
http://www.zapmeta.com - ZapMeta


STANDARD META SEARCHERS: NEW SCHOOL

Below you will find some excellent examples of newer meta search engines. Many include nifty features for advanced searching.

http://www.clusty.com - Clusty
http://www.ez2find.com - ez2find
http://www.huntitout.com - Hunt It Out
http://www.iboogie.com - IBoogie
http://www.intelibuzz.com - Intelibuzz
http://www.ithaki.net - Ithaki
http://www.ixquick.com - IxQuick
http://www.killerinfo.com - KillerInfo
http://www.myprowler.com - MyProwler
http://www.turbo10.com - Turbo10
http://www.webclust.com - WebClust
http://www.windseek.com - WindSeek


ALL-IN-ONE SEARCH PAGES

Below you will find some excellent examples of what I call all-in-one search pages.

http://www.allsearches.net - AllSearches
http://www.multi-search-engine.com - Multi-Search-Engine
http://www.queryster.com - Queryster>
http://www.search22.com - Search22
http://www.searchalot.com - Searchalot
http://www.searchezee.com - SearchEzee
http://www.portprophecy.com - Port Prophecy

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About the author:

Derek Taylor is the owner and web designer of Port Prophecy (http://www.portprophecy.com), an all-in-one meta search site that allows the user to choose from hundreds of search engines and directories to query. Mr. Taylor also is a frequent contributor to many forums and bulletin boards on the Internet and donates time editing for human-edited directories. This article you have read may be reprinted by anyone as long as credit is given to the author.

 
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