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Mamma, the Mother of All Metasearch Engines


Mamma Metasearch

What is Mamma Metasearch?

Mamma bills itself as the "mother of all search engines"; and while that's a claim that could be disputed, Mamma puts out a pretty good metasearch engine experience. Mamma retrieves results from approximately a dozen major Internet search engines and directories and has a few nice extra search features that are worth a try.

Mamma Home Page

The Mamma home page is clean and uncluttered, and right above the main search query box are a few different tabbed options: the Web (of course), News, Images, Yellow Pages, and the White Pages.

Mamma Metasearch

Searching with Mamma Metasearch is easy. Just type in a word or phrase and go. Here's my example: I typed in antelope.

First of all, I saw Mamma Classifieds at the very top of the search results page. From the site: "Results in "Mamma Classifieds" are paid placement listings, meaning that every time you click upon one of them, Mamma receives payment from the site owner/advertiser."

Underneath the Classifeds are Sponsored Links, which are very similar in that someone had to pay Mamma in order for those to show up (they're ads). To the right of the main search results, you'll see "Refine Your Search." These are clustered search suggestions that take your original query, in my case "antelope", and give you more search terms that you might not have thought of. For example, I was given Wyoming Hunting, Antelope Canyon, and African Antelope. Not all of the Search Refinements will be relevant to your search but it's a nice feature nonetheless.

Mamma Metasearch Engine Search Results

In order to filter out spammy "extra" results, a common problem in metasearch engines since they're searching for the same thing in different search engines, Mamma has a unique way that they filter and rank their search results. Basically, each duplicate that Mamma finds is weighted as a "vote" for that term. Mamma explains it better:

"Instead of simply eliminating the duplicates as many metasearch engines may do, we use this information to rank our results. Each duplicate search result is considered a 'vote' for that result. Pages with the highest number of votes go at the top of our result set."

In addition, underneath every search result's textual description, you're going to see where that result was retrieved from in square brackets. For example, with one of the search results in my example search, I received the following: Wisenut, Entireweb, Gigablast, Business.com, Yahoo, and Open Directory. What this string of search services is telling me is this: the first source listed is where my result actually was retrieved from, and the rest are duplicates.

You also might see the words "Paid Result" in the string of search services; this means that this result is a Paid Result - again, it's an ad.

Mamma Metasearch Options-Images, News, Yellow Pages, White Pages

Mamma's news search seems to retrieve results from a very limited amount of news sources; the only ones I spotted after numerous searches were MSNBC and the BBC. Mamma's image searches are powered by Picsearch, an image search engine. Mamma's Yellow Page results are powered by Yellow Book, and the White Pages are powered by Infospace. You can also find maps using Mapquest, get driving directions, or use a reverse lookup directory.

Mamma Metasearch Engine Advanced Search

Mamma's Advanced Search offers the power searcher a variety of options. You can select which search services you'd like to be included in your searches (Google is notably excluded), set preferences, etc. A couple things here that I haven't seen in most other Advanced Search offerings were the ability to highlight search terms and limit (or expand) the size of the search result descriptions.

Mamma Metasearch Engine Search Extras

You can check out the Mamma Explorer Bar, which "saves your searches by letting you select results from a Mamma.com results page into the Explorer Bar", or get the Mamma Toolbar, which gives you instant access to Mamma metasearch (only available for Internet Explorer users).

Reasons to Use Mamma Meta Search

I wasn't completely bowled over by Mamma.com, but I do believe that it's a very solid metasearch engine. Results are relevant, and retrieved fairly quickly - which is a common user issue with most metasearch engines. I also appreciated the advanced search options. In short, I would be comfortable recommending Mamma's metasearch engine service to anyone who's looking for a very straightforward, solid, metasearch engine experience.

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