If you're a financial news junkie, you read a lot about Google's much-anticipated IPO last month. And if you're like me, you got awfully sick of the words "Dutch auction," "quiet period" and "controversial Playboy interview." In fact, all that news coverage gave me a strong case of "Google fatigue" and sent me looking for other search engines that might be just as good.
Before there was Google, there was Yahoo!, which used to be the de facto search engine on the web. After years of building itself into a web portal—and licensing technology from Google—Yahoo! has returned its focus to searching and is now a good alternative to Google. But what I really like about Yahoo! is that its homepage tells me the top news headlines, how many new messages I have in my email account, gives me access to shopping and a search engine—all in one glance. I'd have to visit four separate Google sites to get all of that information.
Dogpile is one of the newest search engines to hit the 'net, and I wouldn't be surprised if it got some real traction. It searches seven different search engines (including Google and Yahoo!) for web pages, images, audio, video, news and shopping related to your search terms. It also has tabs for searching yellow and white page listings. Dogpile also lists your last three searches on a side navigation bar for quick reference and backtracking.
If you're a fan of the internet or the National Basketball Association, chances are you're familiar with Mark Cuban. Cuban made a fortune during the internet boom through the sale of Broadcast.com to Yahoo! and has since been the eccentric owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. His latest project is a search engine called Ice Rocket, which mimics Google's homepage minimalism and returns good results. The gimmick here is that each result has a thumbnail image of the site next to it so you can literally see if the result matches what you're looking for.
No more questions
Ask Jeeves (aka Ask.com)
When Ask Jeeves first started, users didn't simply type in a keyword and get results—they were supposed to ask the search engine questions. So rather than just keying in "financial planning books," you were supposed to ask "Where can I find financial planning books?" The point was to refine the search so users got exactly what they're looking for. Ask Jeeves has since added keyword searching to this method and some new functions to its site. One of the best additions is a search engine bar that remains at the top of the page as you click on results. This allows you to quickly redirect your search if the results you're looking for don't come through. Ask Jeeves also allows you to search by several subcategories, including weather, maps, white pages and stocks.