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SearchOn the information superhighway, we are at the helm of piloting a browser through the lanes and alleys of the web. To be a good driver, you need to be a master at the wheel. Would it be an apt metaphor to describe Google Search as that wheel which steers us from one lode of information to the next? With the power of advanced search operators Master the Google Operands: Search Really Fast Master the Google Operands: Search Really Fast Read More at our command, we can navigate the strands of the web with a bit of Boolean logic Become Better At Finding Stuff With Search Engines: Boolean Search Logic Explained Become Better At Finding Stuff With Search Engines: Boolean Search Logic Explained It only takes Google's thousands of servers half a second to query approximately 50 billion indexed pages, it takes you significantly longer to scan only the first page of search results. On top of that,... Read More . We probably know all the Google search tricks Are You SURE You Know How to Use Google? Are You SURE You Know How to Use Google? Most of you are probably thinking "you bet!" or "what’s there to KNOW?" right about now. I believe you. The truth is, if you know how to enter a query and hit enter, you know... Read More , but there are still things that Google can’t tell us at first glance. Google’s a Hercules, but we shouldn’t be shortsighted not to spot the midgets.

Yes, if you really want to go into those little hidden lanes of the web you need to keep a roster of alternative search engines close by. Here’s a roll call of some search engines which can grab for you what even Google can’t.

Attrakt

Curate your favorite links and search through them.

Alternative search engine

Attrakt works on two levels – it helps you search the web and collect your favorite links in one centralized location. Attrakt then gives you the ability to search through your collected links. You can think of Attrakt as your own customized search engine for curated content. The Italian company calls it a customizable search engine with a social layer. It is an extension of the way we use our bookmarks. Attrakt takes the idea forward by allowing you to make “Boxes” to house your curated links and then searching through them. Attrakt is still trying to reach a critical mass of users that will allow it to expand its index, but till then it is a nice concept which we could do with on Google.

CompletePlanet

A search engine for the Deep Web.

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Alternative search engine

We have talked about the Invisible Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web Read More before. Though, some of the search engines mentioned in the hyperlinked article have fallen by the wayside, the CompletePlanet has stuck it through. It remains a very good resource for searching databases Google hasn’t been able to index so far. As you can make out from the screenshot, CompletePlanet queries highly specific and topical databases (i.e. Dynamic Searchable Databases). Information from these “Deep Web” databases can only be retrieved by a direct query. This is where CompletePlanet comes in. The site says – approximately 70,000+ of the estimated total 200,000 Deep Web sites and about 11,000 of the estimated total 45,000 “surface” Web search sites are presently listed on CompletePlanet.

Quixey

Describe your need and get the app you want.

Alternative search engine

Quixey is one of those search tools you need desperately by your side. Why; because Quixey is a search engine for apps. I did a detailed review of Quixey Quixey Helps You "Functionally" Search For The Right Apps Based On What You Want To Do Quixey Helps You "Functionally" Search For The Right Apps Based On What You Want To Do Quixey describes itself as a functional search engine for apps across any platform and for any use. Quixey is in beta right now. But the well designed and user-friendly website has hit the ground running... Read More and the title of that article describes it perfectly — Quixey helps you “functionally” search for the right apps based on what you want to do. Google does allow you to search for apps in the usual way and also with the help of its specific search tools More Free Google Search Tools You Might Not Be Using So Much More Free Google Search Tools You Might Not Be Using So Much Each filter and operator on Google Search is designed to be a crosshair on a scope mounted on that ‘canon’. You need to use them appropriately for the relevant search result. So, I am advancing... Read More . Quixey is backed by Eric Schmidt (Google’s chairman), so you know that it has a serious chance of being a success. The semantic app search engine mines app information from review sites, blogs, social media sites, and additional sources. The function based search allows you to describe your need for a particular app, and it goes to work.

Shodan

A hackers dream or a cybersecurity tool?

Alternative search engine

Shodan is a search engine that’s not for everyone. It took me some time to get my head around the highly specialized nature of this search tool. It is a search engine that hunts for computers and peripheral devices connected to computers. As more and more devices get connected to the Internet 24×7, a search tool like Shodan can pinpoint their geographic location. What’s scary (as this CNN article describes it) is that it can play a Jekyll and Hyde role in detecting vulnerabilities in these devices. Unsecured devices can prove to be a backdoor for hackers. On the positive side, it is a valuable ally of cybersecurity experts. The search engine’s prowess also underlines why we must set strong passwords for all our devices.

FindZebra

The search engine for rare diseases. The term “zebra” is a medical-speak for a surprising diagnosis.

Alternative search engine

FindZebra is a specialized search engine for diagnosing rare ailments with the help of information mined from medical articles on rare and genetic diseases. The search engine has so far indexed data sourced in 31,000 documents covering rare and genetic diseases from 10 reputable sources. The interface is intuitive and minimal and from the looks of it, should be equally responsive on mobiles and tablets. When it comes to rare diseases, Google might fail in giving updated accurate results, but FindZebra could be more direct with it.

Find The Best

A search engine which tells you what to buy.

Alternative search engine

Google gives us a lot of data to sift through, but it is not a decision making tool when it comes to comparing two or more sets of information and choosing the best among them. Try out Find The Best for making your purchase decisions easier with the ready-made data the search tool throws up. Find The Best has collated retail data on all sorts of products and organized them under nine broad product categories. When you search for a product, the results page gives you visual results supported with filters. You can narrow down your buying decisions by comparing the results across different brands and products.

Ohmygodlol

A search engine for some laughs.

Alternative search engine

After searching for serious illnesses, it’s time to lighten the mood. Ohmygodlol seems the right fit. The “serious” search engine actually searches for funny pictures on the web. I know Google can also do it with the right combination of keywords, but Ohmygodlol seems kind of easier than mixing and mashing those keywords. Though, behind the scenes it is just a custom Google search. Type a single one in, and the search engine returns funny images from across the web.

Wacko Search

Find out with a search!

Alternative search engine

We continue and end in a lighter mood. Wacko Search as the name says returns completely zany and completely false results. Give it a question and see why ducks get a bad name. Don’t forget to read the About page of the site for some interesting behind the scenes information on the search engine and the wacky duck. The result pages are genuine enough, except they are totally unrelated to the original query. Google doesn’t do this (thankfully)!

It’s not only the force of habit which makes us stick to Google and the regulars. Maybe, you can use neat search tricks and loads of patience to find all the information which these alternative search engines dig up with trusty Google; but then why not keep these specialized search tools bookmarked for the times when Google falls short. And fall short it can. Give its algorithm a break, and try out these eight search engines instead. I won’t need a search engine to trawl through your comments because they will be right below – your views, opinions, and also your personal picks for the best alternative search engines out there. Pause Google.

Image Credit: Internet Search Engine via Shutterstock

  1. Heather
    September 3, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Will there be an update for this article? I'm asking, because some quite capable search engines came up after Snowdens revelations.

    My recently discovered favorite is called Unbubble.eu which is quite popular in Europe. It serves very different search results and somehow feels like discovering the hidden gems of the web instead of only the leading sites, as compared to Google/Bing/Yahoo.

  2. Bob
    February 17, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Oh, well. I was excited to check out CompletePlanet. But right there on the home page, it says CompletePlanet is closed. BrightPlanet which built and ran CompletePlanet decided to kill it and just focus on their commercial business of deep web monitoring.

    • Saikat
      February 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      These things are bound to happen because of the transitory nature of the web. This post is 2 yrs old now :)

      I will be able to help you if you tell me the specific nature of your search. There are alternative search engines and the space has evolved in the last two years.

    • Bob
      February 17, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      I didn't realize until after the fact that I was commenting on a two year old article. :-(

      Wasn't looking for anything, just got excited about finding a new and interesting search engine.

    • Saikat
      February 18, 2015 at 2:27 am

      Ah! A few technologies are trying to change the whole paradigm. I am looking forward to SciNet which looks very promising. Though, Google is far ahead of the game and it has the deep pockets to cancel out the competition, one never knows.

  3. Wish
    October 16, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Hi Saikat,

    I am adwords account manager looking for google alt, I have tech support company looking to promote on other serach engines. please give me any good suggestion which can work On usa Region well. thanks in advance..

  4. Piotr
    October 1, 2013 at 10:56 am

    What about http://www.ecosia.org - it's the search engine that plants trees!

  5. sedoon
    September 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    and http://www.ebookstube.com is for books

  6. claude lache
    July 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Enjoy findzebra because it facilitates notes making.

  7. Randomo
    July 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Do you use Google to find them XD

    • Saikat B
      July 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Ha..ha..good one. To answer your query, Google is never far away :)

  8. Jeremy G
    July 17, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I reckon the attraction of Attrakt is its nationality and the likelihood of it cooperating with demands from the USA to provide surfing info. Mind, who knows what the EU is collating, or indeed if their spy agencies even share info. Yes. I do believe I will share my data into this sh'mozzle.

    • Saikat B
      July 18, 2013 at 11:45 am

      You can bet that every country has a NSA-like program. Digital surveillance is part and parcel of the intelligence game now.

  9. Daniel
    July 17, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    You missed WolframAlpha

    • Saikat B
      July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Yes, it was a deliberate because Wolfram Alpha is pretty well known and we have covered it here with quite a few articles.

  10. Priya Vasan
    July 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Yandex is awesome too......... The Russian search engine

    • Saikat B
      July 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

      I deliberately avoided region-specific search engines. Maybe, they deserve another article on their own.

      • Brian
        July 21, 2013 at 7:45 am

        Actually Yandex .com is a GREAT alternative. It is based in Russia but the search results aren't region specific and are great- I think it serves better results than Google. It also has a pretty good free email service. And the NSA can't tap it, and according to browser tools there aren't 3rd party companies trying to track me like with US based search engines.

  11. Lola C
    July 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Hacker tool or creepy portal for psychos online?

    • Saikat B
      July 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Could be both. It is a strange search tool isn't it?

  12. Vivek R
    July 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I nominate Duckduckgo for not storing our privacy details which I believe Google can't do.

  13. JIm
    July 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I love Bing!

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