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advanced search enginesSearch engines are internet encyclopedias that allow us to find and filter out relevant information. With any given search engine, it takes some skill to find exactly what you are looking for. You must understand how the search engine works and how your search queries are interpreted.

More advanced search engines will meet you halfway, by providing forms for advanced searches, better interpreting your queries, suggesting keywords, or finding unusual context.

In this article I introduce five search engines with such advanced features.

General Search

Whenever you are looking for written information, the general search engines will do the trick. The advanced search gives access to additional features that easily let you refine your search query.

Google

advanced search engines

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Why?

  • keeps setting new standards.
  • comprehensive, yet easy to use interface.
  • excellent search term suggestions.

Further reading:

Alternative: Yahoo! because it uses a different search engine algorithm and may give less biased results, as discussed in a previous article 6 Ways To Reduce Irrelevant Results On Google Search 6 Ways To Reduce Irrelevant Results On Google Search Read More .

Reverse Image Search

While most general search engines can search for images based on file names or tags, more advanced search engines can read the image and make its content searchable.

TinEye

advanced search engines

Why?

  • creates an image fingerprint.
  • does reverse image search based on the fingerprint.
  • reveals where and how images are used.

Alternative: RevIMG, which offers more features, for example selecting an area of the image to be searched. Unfortunately, the database is limited.

Similar Image Search

Similar image search doesn’t recognize exact copies of a given image, but similar features, such as color, texture, or structures within the image.

[NO LONGER WORKS] GazoPa

all advanced search engines

Why?

  • extracts general image characteristics, such as color and shape.
  • searches similar images based on their general characteristics.
  • works with uploaded images and image URLs.

Alternative: Google Similar Images, although it only works with images that have already been indexed.

Further reading:

Invisible Search

Information that is stored in databases is largely invisible to standard search engines because they merely index the contents of websites, following one link after the next. Invisible search engines specialize in hidden data in the so-called Deep Web.

CompletePlanet

search invisible data

Why?

  • access dynamic databases.
  • search within data range.
  • well-documented help section.

Alternative: Saikat documented 9 more search engines in his article 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web Read More .

Semantic Search

Semantic search is concerned with the exact meaning of a search term, its definition and the search context. Search engines based on semantic search algorithms are thus better at eliminating irrelevant results.

all advanced search engines

Why?

  • choose intended meaning for ambiguous terms.
  • save a myriad of personal settings.
  • search other search engines from DuckDuckGo using its !bang feature.

Further reading:

Alternative: hakia because it offers a more compact interface and it lists search results by category.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are countless specialty search engines out there. We have profiled many more of them on MakeUseOf:

What advanced search engine do you recommend?

Image credits: Danard Vincente

  1. Anonymous
    June 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Great list! Although I'm wondering why you don't have any realtime search engines listed. If you decide to do another list you should take a look at Buzzdock. I use it with Google and I think is pretty good.

  2. Dimitar Nikolov
    June 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the neat article, didn't know about TinEye's reverse image search. Useful stuff :)

  3. Aibek
    June 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

    We have covered Pipl several times in the past:

    -
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5...
    -
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/f...
    - http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/c...

    Aibek

  4. S Ketharaman
    June 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Neither the current article nor the other one listing 10 invisible web search engines includes PIPL, an excellent people search engine. When I recently put pipl to test, I was stunned by the results. Please see http://bit.ly/8XfIiJ for details. To paraphrase Capt. Kirk of Star Trek, pipl boldly went where no other search engine has gone before.

  5. s_ketharaman
    June 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Neither the current article nor the other one listing 10 invisible web search engines includes PIPL, an excellent people search engine. When I recently put pipl to test, I was stunned by the results. Please see http://bit.ly/8XfIiJ for details. To paraphrase Capt. Kirk of Star Trek, pipl boldly went where no other search engine has gone before.

  6. Oron Joffe
    June 26, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Or True Knowledge (http://www.trueknowledge.com)? Both are great for finding the exact answers to factual questions. True Knowledge also has a brilliant FF add-on which adds the answer above your search engine's results.

  7. Gwen Harris
    June 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Always interesting to see what gets picked as the best. This list does have variety, but "most advanced" is a stretch given the variety of search engines and technologies available today. Advanced in what way?

    Duck Duck Go is certainly worth trying - it can help in identifying concepts in a query and major resources.

    Another in the semantic category is Kngine.com - good for concept analysis.

    Complete Planet? No. This was an interesting idea and somewhat useful tool several years ago for identifying databases that might have information on a topic. But look at the dates when databases were last harvested - 2004 and earlier - and many links are dead.

    A much better set of engines for searching deeply is provided by Deep Web Technologies - http://www.deepwebtech.com/ .

  8. Gwen Harris
    June 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Always interesting to see what gets picked as the best. This list does have variety, but "most advanced" is a stretch given the variety of search engines and technologies available today. Advanced in what way?

    Duck Duck Go is certainly worth trying - it can help in identifying concepts in a query and major resources.

    Another in the semantic category is Kngine.com - good for concept analysis.

    Complete Planet? No. This was an interesting idea and somewhat useful tool several years ago for identifying databases that might have information on a topic. But look at the dates when databases were last harvested - 2004 and earlier - and many links are dead.

    A much better set of engines for searching deeply is provided by Deep Web Technologies - http://www.deepwebtech.com/ .

  9. R4i SDHC
    June 25, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Gazopa looks AMAZING!

  10. PerfectSearch
    June 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    The list is good but your intro is rather misleading. Search engines are portals to information, not actual sources of information. As such, they can't be considered encyclopedias. Then you say advanced search engines enable you to "filter out" relevant information. What they really do is the opposite. They let you filter out *irrelevant* information, so that getting to relevant info is easier.

  11. sachxn
    June 24, 2010 at 4:52 am

    except google all are new to me thanks.....

  12. gabbagabbahey
    June 24, 2010 at 3:54 am

    No Wolfram Alpha? It was the most impressive thing I'd seen on the web in years. Never understood why it isn't more well known. http://www.wolframalpha.com

  13. gabbagabbahey
    June 24, 2010 at 1:54 am

    No Wolfram Alpha? It was the most impressive thing I'd seen on the web in years. Never understood why it isn't more well known. http://www.wolframalpha.com

    • Tina
      June 24, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      Is it a search engine? It's more of a calculator processing information beyond numbers. It's unique and very useful, but I would categorize it as "smart and interactive dictionary", since it draws its knowledge from the web.

    • Oron Joffe
      June 25, 2010 at 11:13 pm

      Or True Knowledge (http://www.trueknowledge.com)? Both are great for finding the exact answers to factual questions. True Knowledge also has a brilliant FF add-on which adds the answer above your search engine's results.

  14. Mrcloseencounters
    June 24, 2010 at 3:26 am

    After using TinEye for over a year .. I got rid of it.
    (It was on my toolbar)

    I can't say 'exactly' how many times I used it but it had to be over a thousand .. Not One Hit .. Ever!

    Just a waste of toolbar space.

    MC

  15. Mrcloseencounters
    June 24, 2010 at 1:26 am

    After using TinEye for over a year .. I got rid of it.
    (It was on my toolbar)

    I can't say 'exactly' how many times I used it but it had to be over a thousand .. Not One Hit .. Ever!

    Just a waste of toolbar space.

    MC

  16. Fresh_dug
    June 24, 2010 at 12:14 am

    "find and filter out relevant information..." Don't I want to keep the relevant information and filter out the irrelevant information?

    • Tina
      June 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Good point. ;) I guess you can (mis)understand this any way you want.

  17. Jim Spignardo
    June 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Really, no mention of Bing? I think you are a bit biased. Bing has quickly become the most full featured engine on the market. All you have to do is watch Google copying their ideas, something that cannot be said in a typical Microsoft scenario. Kudos to the Bing team, whoever you are.

    • Jon Bennett
      June 24, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      Someone doesn't mention your favorite search engine and that makes them biased??

      • Jim Spignardo
        June 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm

        No not at all the title isn't "Our Favorite Search Engines" it's called the "Most Advanced"...Google makes the list but Bing doesn't? That's bias, plain and simple.

        • Izkata
          August 27, 2010 at 3:43 am

          That would be because Bing isn't very advanced. It's just the old MSN search rebranded, with one or two extra features.

    • Uroš Zori?
      September 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      You mean copying their ideas like.. Bing Maps?

  18. Phoebe_b
    June 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Great list! What about vertical search engines? They can (potentially) understand context-specific queries that horizontal engines cannot.

    For example, at Jinni http://www.jinni.com we've developed a semantic search engine for movies and shows that gives results for entertainment-specific queries like "funny and thought-provoking" or "witty criminal heroes."

  19. Phoebe_b
    June 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Great list! What about vertical search engines? They can (potentially) understand context-specific queries that horizontal engines cannot.

    For example, at Jinni http://www.jinni.com we've developed a semantic search engine for movies and shows that gives results for entertainment-specific queries like "funny and thought-provoking" or "witty criminal heroes."

    • Tina
      June 24, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion Pheobe.

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