Search engines are web tools that follow an algorithm or a mixture of algorithm and human input to index websites on the world wide web. Search engines index websites in their huge database and whenever a user searches a query, most relevant websites are displayed. The information that is provided is generally termed as SERP – Search Engine Result Pages. These pages include important information about websites relevant to the query or search. Most search engines include Title, Description, website/page address and a link to the website. However, some search engines like Microsoft’s Bing (www.bing.com) provide advanced information such as, an excerpt or summary of a website when user points mouse over a website listing. The history of search engines goes back to the days when computer wasn’t used so heavily. Although the oldest search engine was Archie created in 1990 by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal, but the oldest search engine publicly available was Aliweb (www.aliweb.com) in 1993. So, here is the list of top ten search engines which is compiled after reading thousands of reviews and ratings on websites, forums and other resources on internet.
Google Search Engine
Google search engine is one of the most powerful search engines of all times. Established on September 4th 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University, the initial public offering took place on August 19th 2004. Three fine reasons why Google is the best search engine since years – (a) Great algorithm and most relevant search results. (b) Continued growth through developments, acquisitions and partnerships with other companies. (c) Positive employee relations – Google has been identified multiple times as Fortune Magazine’s #1 best place to work. These three reasons together made Google the most powerful brand in the world. Another great Google feature is that it is the fastest search engine to index new websites based on its algorithms.
Yahoo Search Engine
Yahoo search engine shares the pride of being one of the oldest search engines. Yahoo! was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 and was incorporated on March 1, 1995. Since then, it gained a lot of popularity among internet users through out the world. In early 2000, Yahoo was considered the best of all search engines and stood number 1 for years. Yahoo! is best known for its unique services like web portal, search engine (Yahoo! Search), Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, advertising, online mapping (Yahoo! Maps), office productivity, video sharing (Yahoo! Video), and social media websites and services.
Bing Search Engine
Formerly known as Microsoft Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN search, Bing search engine is the new and improved form of Microsoft’s search technology. With its release on June 1st 2009, Bing gained momentum and proved its presence on the world wide web. Within the first week of its launch, Bing proved a great market share. Bing is already gaining a lot of popularity among webmasters and search engine users. Bing is still in the Beta phase and Microsoft is constantly working to improve the search engine’s functionality. Bing already shares a significant amount of search engine user’s database within 2 months of its launch.
AOL Search Engine
AOL search engine was first introduced in year 1995 when AOL bought WebCrawler search engine. Later in 1996, AOL announced to sell WebCrawler to Excite and in 1997 AOL launched its own search engine which was named as NetFind. AOL search has a long history of joining deals and rejecting deals with various other search engines and finally in December 2005 AOL and Google got into a deal and since then AOL is enhanced by Google search results. AOL is widely used in United States as compared to other countries. Although not huge as compared to Google and Yahoo! but still, AOL shares a huge database of search engine users.
Ask Search Engine
Formerly known as Askjeeves, Ask search engine is one of the oldie search engines, started in 1996 by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen in Berkeley, California. Originally launched as a question/answer search engine where users could ask questions and get relevant answers. The current Ask.com still supports this, with added support for math, dictionary, and conversion questions. Bing and Ask share one feature – on Ask search results pages, the “Binoculars” let searchers capture a sneak peak of the page they could visit with a mouse-over activating screenshot pop-up and on Bing search results pages, the searchers can simply mouse-over the search results and read a summary of a page they could visit. Ask still has a good amount of searchers database and thus, ranked high in the search engines category.
Altavista Search Engine
Altavista search engine used to be an extremely popular search engine in its times but with the rise of Google, its glory has waned. AltaVista was created by researchers at Digital Equipment Corporation’s Western Research Laboratory who were trying to provide services to make finding files on the public network easier. AltaVista was publicly launched as an internet search engine on 15 December 1995 at altavista.digital.com. In February 2003, Altavista was purchased by Overture Services, Inc. and later in July 2003, Yahoo purchased Overture. Altavista became a Yahoo! owned service since then.
All The Web Search Engine
AllTheWeb search engine was formerly known as the Fast or Fast Search. However, the search engine was purchased by search provider Overture (see below) in late April 2003, then later become Yahoo’s property when Yahoo bought Overture. It no longer has a connection with FAST. Alltheweb was launched in Mid 1999 and was primarily used to showcase FAST’s enterprise search engine. By 2002, AllTheWeb crawler had indexed over 2 billion pages. In late 2003, it became a Yahoo! property when Yahoo bought Overture Services, Inc. AllTheWeb was primarily known for its faster indexing, fresher database, search clustering and a completely customizable look.
Gigablast Search Engine
Much smaller in size but rapidly growing search engine established in year 2000. Matt Wells the founder of Gigablast search engine is the sole proprietor of Gigablast, which means, one man managing the whole search engine. Gigablast is well known for its continuous updating and refreshing of the index in real-time, what other top search engines call “paid inclusion”. You can get your website indexed pretty fast, even if it is brand new. Other search engines apply algorithms and do not rank new websites too well. Not the case with Gigablast, it can get by with ten times – even a hundred times – less hardware than other engines and achieve the same performance.
Lycos Search Engine
Lycos search engine is one of the oldest search engines of all times. Lycos began as a search engine research project by Dr. Michael Loren Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University in 1994. In 1999, it became the most visited online destination in the world, with a global presence in more than 40 countries. Lycos was sold to a Spanish company Terra Networks in May 2000. Lycos is owned by Terra Lycos, a company formed with Lycos and Terra Networks merged in October 2000. Terra Lycos also owns the HotBot search engine. Lycos began to refocus its strategy in 2005, moving away from a search-centric portal towards a community destination for broadband entertainment content.
Excite Search Engine
Excite search engine was founded as Architext in 1994 by Graham Spencer, Joe Kraus, Mark Van Haren, Ryan McIntyre, Ben Lutch and Martin Reinfried, who were all students at Stanford University. Excite is one of the oldest search engines around and was at one stage considered among the best. The focus gradually shifted, from a pure search engine to a portal site offering e-mail, shopping etc. Web search became just another one of many attractions offered at Excite. This shift in focus was compounded with the 2001 acquisition of Excite by InfoSpace. Excite still has a huge database of users searching through the online portal and just like other search engines, users can search for web pages, images, news, audio and videos.