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Search Engines: The Top Ten on the Web

July 2012


Search engines are a fantastic invention. They filter information, retrieve data, and help us find what we're looking for on an incredibly varied range of subjects. However, not all search engines are created equal. Every search tool out there delivers a different experience, and depending what you're looking for, it might not always be pleasant.

As compiled by About.com readers' input, here are ten search engines you can trust to deliver a quality experience. They are fast, easy to use, and deliver consistently relevant results. You'll see a few familiar faces on here, as well as a few that might be completely new to you. Try all of them to see which one fits your unique needs.

1. USA.gov

USA.gov is the U.S. government's online portal to everything publicly available on the Web. It's an amazingly useful resource, offering instant access to anything from the Library of Congress to the latest employment statistics.

2. Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha bills itself as a "computational engine", which basically means that whatever fact-based query you throw at it, it's most likely going to come up with an answer. Need the calculation for that complicated math problem? How about statistics for every country in the world, conversion tables, or information on a chemical element? This is the place to go.

3. Duck Duck Go

This oddly named search engine has gained quite a bit of popularity because of its policy of not tracking what users are looking for, making it possible to keep your searches as private as possible (see Ten Ways to Protect Yourself Online for more on this important issue). Their search results aren't too shabby either.

4. LinkedIn

You could argue that LinkedIn isn't technically a search engine, and you'd be (mostly) right. However, looking at LinkedIn from another point of view, it most definitely is a niche search tool that delivers peer-reviewed job search results, as well as network groups and professional connections.

5. Bing

Bing is one of the younger search engines on this list, but it's definitely making up for lost time with the impressive power of Microsoft behind it. Bing offers a straightforward search experience with real-time accents; their goal is to answer your search queries with the most relevant, up to date information.

6. Facebook

It is estimated that over 900 million people are registered users of Facebook, the world's largest social networking site. Facebook isn't technically billed as a search engine, but try telling its millions of users that - more people look for information from friends, family, and pages within this community than nearly anywhere else online.

7. YouTube

If you've ever watched a video online, it's a likely bet that you've visited YouTube, the world's largest, most popular video search site. Hundreds of thousands of videos - sports, movie trailers, cats doing things - are uploaded to the site every hour.

8. Twitter

Short bursts of information, millions of times an hour? That's Twitter, a firehose of communication that millions of people use every day to impart information and connect with other people. You can find all sorts of interesting information here or via various Twitter search engines, all of it up to the second with the latest data on anything from college basketball to a presidential election.

9. Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites in the history of the Web - and that's saying something considering the other tools included on this list. Millions of people, mostly female, have created online scrapbooks of their favorite images that are then searchable by other Pinterest users. This popular site is a valuable resource for anyone looking to get creative, inspired, or a little bit of both.

10. Google

Any search engine that has its own vocabulary (ever heard of "just Google it"?) is going to be on the list of the top ten. Google is the world's most popular search engine, and processes millions of searches every single day all over the globe. Whether you're looking to dive into advanced search or you're just getting started, you'll find this search tool most of the useful and versatile online.

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