What is SurfWax?SurfWax is a meta search engine with tons of great features. The longer I used SurfWax, the more I liked it. SurfWax gives you the option to grab results from multiple search engines at the same time, or you can sign up for free to get more SurfWax features; the Free level allows you to create three SearchSets, "your own personalized sets (lists) of sources that you save and use over and over."
How Do I Search With Surfwax?Searching with SurfWax is simple, almost too simple. You'll want to spend some serious time tinkering around with this metasearch engine to really see what it can do. I'll give you a quick rundown here. Navigate to the main SurfWax page and type in something you'd like to search for.
You'll notice very quickly that your search results look very different than what you might be used to in other metasearch engines. On the left, your search results are arranged in a list of simple text links; you can change this to annotated results by clicking on the link that says "Full Text of Results" at the top of your search results page. Sponsored links (ads) are very clearly separated from the actual results in SurfWax since they're in their own separate section on the right of the search results page.
Every search result shows you to the right exactly where that result came from; for instance, I had results from Yahoo, WiseNut, LookSmart, etc. To the far left of each of your search results, you'll see a little magnifying glass. This is SurfWax's SiteSnaps, a cool feature that allows you to see a quick abstract of the Web page. This is a great way to save some time searching, because you can just scan the abstract to see if that particular Web site will serve your purposes.
One uber-geeky thing about SurfWax - click on Results Stats at the top of your search results page, and you'll see exactly how SurfWax retrieved those results. This is something that I really appreciated, because it gives you a bit of a glimpse into the inner workings of a metasearch engine.
Surfwax Advanced SearchThere are a lot of different ways you can refine your search in SurfWax. For instance, type in a search query into the main search bar, and click on Focus instead of Search. My search query for "castle" gave me a ton of FocusWords, basically a list of search suggestions that can help you refine and broaden your search.
Right on the front page of SurfWax, underneath the main search query bar, you'll see two drop down menus. You can use the Results dropdown menu to figure out how many search results you want displayed, anywhere from 100 to Max (that would be a LOT of results). The SortBy dropdown menu allows you to sort your SurfWax results by relevance (default), alphabetically, or by source (which search engine they came from).
There's also SearchSets, as already mentioned in this article. This basically allows you to create your own personalized search engine - you get to pick the sources that SurfWax retrieves results from (much like Eurekster Swicki).