Cool Search Engines To Remember

Tina Sieber 04-06-2008

After summarizing how to use Google Master the Google Operands: Search Really Fast Read More to yield the best search results, it’s time to have a look at what is out there besides Google. Although Google tries hard to take over the world, or at least the internet, it’s still far from being a monopolist. Yes, there are many more search engines out there, and here’s a small* collection of unusual and fun search engines you should know about.


(1) Alternative Algorithm & Interface

Mooter organizes each search in clusters of relevant categories, so that you can further dive into specific topics to find specific results. Of course you can see all the results anytime. Nice concept, but seems like the service has not been updated since 2005.

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch03Mahalo claims to be the world’s first human-powered search engine. Organized, comprehensive, spam (but not ad) free. I like it for the sidebar on the right, which contains a lot of information relevant to the search term, such as fast facts and quotes. The rest of the results are pre-sorted into Top 7 links, news, basics and other relevant topics. It looks neat and it’s very thorough and clear. Mahalo (Hawaiian for “thank you”).

From all the search engines I have seen, searchme definitely is the most unique and impressive one. Instead of showing a list of links with short excerpts of the text on the site, it displays a whole page preview for each result and the user can scroll through the pages in a 3D animated interface. The search terms are highlighted within the preview and on top there are a list of possible categories to click for more specific results. A site heavy on system resources, but absolutely beautiful and useful!

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch02

(2) Compare & Combine

WebCrawler searches the web’s top four search engines simultaneously. They are Google, Yahoo!Search, LiveSearch, and Ask. Unfortunately, you only see a mashup of the different results, and if you find the results of say Yahoo annoying, you can’t exclude them.


MalaMata is a customizable search engine, so you can tell it which of up to four different search engines it should query. The results are displayed all at once in four separate sub-windows, but you can focus on and switch between them easily.

Very simple, but potentially very useful search engine that lets you query various pages, for example regional Google versions, recipes or shopping sites, simply by entering a letter key (shortcut) behind the search field. All shortcuts are listed for easy reference. The full list contains over 70 search engines and user suggestions are possible and welcome.

Futuristic yet simple interface. From the interactive menu above the search field you can select a category and eventually define a specific search engine, although I wonder why the video search doesn’t offer YouTube as an option. The music category is very cool. It redirects you to a new page where you can browse music by major categories like genre, year, nation, mood, and more. From there you can go into various sub-categories. The music comes via Radio. Back to the main page, there is a text menu on top of the page with several categories like Mail, Music and SocialNetwork which open a list of links when you click on them. Quite a nice selection of shortcuts.

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch05


From this category, Sputtr is my design über favorite. I love the interface, it’s very well done, and I will definitely use Sputtr on a regular basis in the future. It’s a fully customizable search homepage – your search, your way. So how it works is that you enter your search term in the search field. So far, so regular. To query a specific search engine, instead of hitting enter, click the respective symbol in the list. That’s very cool. And to add even more search engines, customize the page and choose from a comprehensive list. If you find your favorite search engine is missing, simply submit it. Drag&Drop allows you to rearrange icons and in case you don’t like one of them, you are free to remove it altogether. To save your layout, you have to create an account, and I recommend it!

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch04

(3) File, Site & Topic Specific Search

A PDF or eBook search engine. It does what it says. Simple and straight forward.

ICONlook [No Longer Available]
An icon search engine. If results are plenty, it makes sense to filter by size. Again, simple and straight forward. Nice interface, too.


I wasn’t quite sure where to put this search engine. At a first glance the interface isn’t very appealing, but it’s functional and that’s what counts. So this is a search engine for files with the option to search specific, suggested pages. The music search for example allows you to query Skreemr and goear among others.

A sound search engine for AIFF, AU, MP3, and WAVE files matching different options such as mono or stereo, minimum resolution, minimum sample rate and maximum file size.

Listen77 & Songza
Both are search engines exclusively for music in the form of mp3’s. Songs cannot be downloaded easily, instead there’s an on-site player which works nicely for both, although Songza is much more pretty. However, despite over a million songs in the database for Listen77 and an undoubtedly popular Songza, both rarely returned more than 50 songs, even for well established artists. Great concepts, but require serious attention, especially filling the music collection.

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch06Deligio should be your first stop when looking for software. Here you’ll be able to discover and share applications for all major operating systems, as indicated by respective symbols next to each search result. Users can rate results and submit software not yet indexed. Clean, simple, useful, it’s as easy as that.


Matching people and electronics. What a neat idea, where’s my PDA, can I print it? No seriously, this search engine is intended for finding product reviews, manuals or more general recommendations. Say you’re looking for a new camera, the result page will list all available models and you can narrow the search down by defining a price range, brands or specific features, and then look at the individual models that remain. I will definitely look at this one when I’m in need of a new digital device, maybe a PDA, finally.

Tag Galaxy
Tag Galaxy basically works like Mooter, organizing results in categories, but its 3D planet interface is much more beautiful and the search engine is dedicated to Flickr images. The site is a 2008 diploma thesis project of Steven Wood from the Georg-Simon-Ohm University of Applied Sciences in Nuremburg, Germany.

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch01

Powerset [No Longer Available]
Your search engine for Wikipedia articles.

Word & Biiible
If you ever again have a serious religous discussion, these ones may come in handy. Search the complete text of the Qur’an, New Testament, Tanakh, and Upanishads with Word or just the Bible with Biiible. The latter also features a Verse of the Day. Unusual? Yes! Useful? Maybe. Maybe not.

How to get rid of… [Broken URL Removed]
This could as well go into the fun section, but it’s serious and not as silly as it may sound. The source for results is Yahoo! Answers. It really only works for the terms in the A-Z list. Searching How-To-Get-Rid-Of.Info for bug, stain, or hilary clinton didn’t yield a single result.

A search engine community to search only handpicked URLs, rather than the whole world wide web. Every user can add links, create a new, custom Topicle, and rate existing ones. Popular Topicles include Online Shopping, IPhone Applications, and Digital Camera Reviews. The site does not require a signup.

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch07

(4) Eco Friendly Search

Greenback Search
Saving the environment one search at a time, powered by Yahoo. But how does it work? Greenback Search uses its revenues to purchase carbon offsets from I support the notion, but I remain a skeptic.

You search. They grow trees. They promise to grow 2 trees for every 1,000 searches made. As I look at it 4906 trees have been planted, which equals the recycling of over 5 million Lbs of CO2. I suppose that’s an estimate of saved carbon for the lifetime of the roughly 5000 trees. So it’s not much per year I guess. Meaning you have to use it more! This site is powered by Yahoo as well.

Friends Green
This search engine will save the rainforest. So far 607,000 sq ft have been saved. Again it’s Yahoo technology behind the search results.

And finally, the infamous Blackle, claiming to use less energy, by using black instead of white background. But it only works effectively on CRT monitors, the energy saved with LCDs is minimal. At least this one is based on Google.

(5) Fun

The Feckin’ Search Engine of Ireland.

Google search with a unique logo. I’m sure you’ve seen it before. With this one you can also change the font style.

The Shoe Search Engine. For all your Manolo Blahnik needs, and just in time for the Sex & the City movie.

Where’s the Milk
As farmers in Germany dispose their milk on their fields to put pressure on the industry and customers, this search engine hits a nerve.

Cool Search Engines To Remember coolsearch08

And here we are, The End. Ideas? Suggestions? Comments?

*Oh yes, seriously! Compared to what is out there, this list is small! ;)

Explore more about: Google, Web Search, Yahoo.

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  1. Lukevos
    October 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm it's really cool if you like google

  2. itsme
    August 17, 2009 at 9:06 am

    u really want info about what u searched for on Sputtr !! :D:D :D

  3. iddaa
    May 8, 2009 at 4:12 am

    This was a great post, the PDF search engine is especially useful for me since I am a primary care MD, I used it to find all kinds of patient education information (i.e. info about diseases and conditions) I can give out. Also searchme is tres cool.

  4. John
    January 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Here's another one for the list with an unusual interface -

  5. annebd
    November 22, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Here's another one from - a find engine and content directory in one.

  6. Search1x
    August 28, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Nice list, some search engines seem to be down now though (ie mooter).

    I have also compiled a search engine list that I think will be useful for people categorised by the type of search (image, video etc).

    Its at for those of you interested.

  7. Lucas
    August 18, 2008 at 5:44 am

    There are around 16 different versions of “black google” online. The best one I’ve found is [Broken Link Removed] . Cleanblack is the only version that allows you to change the text colors of the google search results. Try it yourself by going to [Broken Link Removed]

  8. Andrew Schamess
    June 17, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    This was a great post, the PDF search engine is especially useful for me since I am a primary care MD, I used it to find all kinds of patient education information (i.e. info about diseases and conditions) I can give out. Also searchme is tres cool.

  9. gordon
    June 17, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Thanks a lot for your great findings! Quite a few of them were new to me. Specially searchme (I guess you need a resonably fast machine to really enjoy it though). I just came across another interesting all in one search, called lookpicking. It's implemented as a plugin for firefox that gets different search engines from a server and lets you choose them from an autocomplete-style menu while you type. Pretty cool as far as I have tried it.

  10. Jess
    June 7, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Instead of Blackle, I'm actually using

    Also theres this other all in one search where you can create your own search engine tabs, pretty cool

  11. Brainiac
    June 5, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Maaan, Another uber great make use of article from Tina. Loved it!

  12. franz
    June 5, 2008 at 5:13 am

    one for the list
    small niche, nich (inter)face innovation

    • Tina
      June 5, 2008 at 6:16 am

      That's a great one, too. Thanks franz!

  13. Sameep
    June 5, 2008 at 1:44 am

    hey.. great post.. cheers!!