Search Engine Update 2016

Some people have wondered why I wanted to include a page devoted to web search on the Racine de Monville Home Page. It goes back to 1996 when I first started surfing the internet and when I created the site. In those days, search engines were not very sophisticated. You could run a search for a simple term and easily end up with hundreds of thousands of hits, of which tens of thousands would have probably been for pornography or scams.

Another thing happened. The Racine de Monville Home Page was originally hosted on GeoCities, an innovative web hosting service that allowed anyone to create a personal website at no cost. But a lot of those early search engines boycotted GeoCities and refused to include GeoCities content in their search data bases. Granted that a lot of people just posted pictures of their pet cats or simply stopped posting at all after they ran out of anything to say. (GeoCities was subsequently acquired by Yahoo and, in October 26, 2009, all GeoCities content was removed from Yahoo's servers and it was shut down. )

Thus, because of the primitive nature of internet search in the late 1990's, I became interested in search engine optimization (SEO) and, by extension, search engines in general, primarily in order to get this site listed on the various search engines and bring it to the attention of people who were searching the internet for information about the Desert de Retz and Monsieur de Monville.

A lot has changed in the years since I first posted the Search page on this site in 2001.

The main event is that Google has become the primary search engine for billions of people around the world, followed closely by Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing. When this page was first posted, probably a score of search engines were available, each using a different algorithm; since that time, most of them have disappeared, including a few utilizing unique ways to search and present data. Some, such as Northern Light, either transmuted or metastasized into another format. Others, such as Hotbot, Teoma, Metafilter and Alltheweb (first known as FAST) were acquired or assimilated by other search engines. Singingfish, a specialized and extremely useful search engine focusing on music and video, was swallowed up and absorbed into AOL without leaving a trace.

On the other hand, there still appears to be a need for certain specialized search engines. Ixquick, which once ranked sites by a star rating system, has survived, although in 2009 it was renamed Startpage and features anonymous surfing. So has Yippy [formerly known as Clusty, and, before that, Vivisimo], utilizing clustered search results known as "clouds" and attempts to be family-friendly and "include only content that is appropriate for all ages."

Search engines that display thumbnail previews are a useful innovation; Exalead provides very accurate results and thumbnail views of each hit. Snap--which now appears to have disappeared, too--displayed gigantic page previews instead of thumbnails. I've provided a search box below so you can test Exalead.

Natural language search engines where users submit their search in the form of a question were a useful development. Ask Jeeves was the best-known natural-language search engine but, at least in America, it transmuted into Answer Bus is a particularly successful example of this technique and will accept questions written in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese.

In 2008 a new search trend started: search engines that contribute to charitable causes.

At least three of these sites were launched in France: Doona, Hooseek and Ethicle. The first two are defunct; the third is renamed Ecosia,

GoodSearch is an American charitable search engine. According to the website, you can choose from thousands of organizations or add your favorite cause to the list. Fifty percent of the revenue generated from advertisers is shared with the charity, school or nonprofit organization of your choosing.

Ecosia [ex-Ethicle] is unique in that it operates in partnership with a non-profit organization, Planete Urgence, that undertakes and sponsors reforestation projects around the world: for every 100 searches, one tree is planted in countries such as Madagascar, Mali, Benin and Indonesia.

KartOO was a unique meta-search engine that displayed its results in map form. It was co-founded in France by two cousins, Laurent and Nicholas Baleydier and operated from 2001 to early 2010. KartOO had an advanced Adobe Flash GUI, as opposed to a text-based list of results. Search results were presented as a "map", with blob-like masses of varying color connecting each item. On rollover of an individual result a bunch of red lines connected related links.

Perhaps the most spectacular search engine flop was an ill-starred venture called Cuil (cuil is the Irish word for "knowledge") that challenged Google and claimed to be the world's biggest search engine ("Search 127 billion web pages.") Shortly after it launched in 2008 I tested Cuil but found the results disappointing. The site's reputation was not helped by a blistering review published by John C. Dvorak on Cuil finally bit the dust in September 2010. One commentator observed,"Any company wishing to challenge Google has a tough, tough road to travel."

The product of the latest research in search engine technology is called Wolfram Alpha. The announced goal of Wolfram Alpha is, "to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything." Learn more about Wolfram Alpha and experiment with the Wolfram Alpha search box below.

As Google has become more and more powerful and invasive, it was only natural that efforts would be undertaken to diminish Google's power to keep records of who searches for what, a violation of those persons' privacy. One effort to thwart Google's "Big Brother" snooping activities was a search engine called Scroogle. Scroogle was a web service that allowed users to perform Google searches anonymously. It focused heavily on searcher privacy by blocking Google cookies and not saving log files. The service was launched in 2003 by Daniel Brandt. After 2005, the service encountered rapid growth before running into a series of problems starting in 2010. In February 2012, the service was permanently shut down by its creator.

Ixquick, now StartPage also utilizes a proxy to permit users to search the web anonymously. While using the proxy, you are protected at all times by the site's privacy policy. No IP address is recorded, no identifying cookies are used and no search or browsing activity is stored. Use the Ixquick search box below

A newer attempt to create a search engine that insured users' privacy by not collecting browsing data and by eliminating Google-type paid advertising is the oddly-named DuckDuckGo, whose name was inspired by a children's game. DuckDuckGo provides a clean interface together with a no-tracking privacy policy. You can experiment with DuckDuckGo by using the search box below.

The Top 100 Alternative Search Engines, posted in 2007 by Charles Knight, was an extensive overview of the various solutions to search available to internauts before Google became the dominant search engine.

Mr. Knight wrote, "In my travels as a Search Engine Optimizer...I have discovered...a vast multitude of the most innovative and creative search engines you have never seen. So many, in fact, that I have had to limit my list of the very best ones to a mere 100."

Mr. Knight also created and wrote a website called Alt Search Engines, with regular posts and commentary about the world of search engines. But in March of 2010, Mr. Knight closed the site after having reviewed and evaluated over 4,000 different search engines over a period of three years. Mr. Knight is now contributing to The Next Web, devoted to search and search engines. Mr. Knight's favorite alternative search engine is Tag Galaxy, developed in Germany, but this search engine appears limited to image search.

The latest innovation in search engines was called Blekko, launched on November 1, 2010. Its goal was to provide better search results than those offered by Google by offering results culled from a set of 3 billion trusted websites and excluding material from such sites as content farms. The search engine used slashtags, which searched only the sites the user wanted and cut out the spam sites. Blekko was acquired by IBM in March 2015.

As could be expected, the Wikipedia has an extensive list of articles about web search engines, metasearch engines and websites that have a search facility for online databases.

To keep up on new developments in web search, consult Search Engine Watch, which has established a reputation over the years as an excellent source for news and information regarding web search and optimizatin.

Search Engine Dictionary is a complete guide to search engine terminology. It's an alphabetical listing of hundreds of terms and definitions related to search engines. Consult the Search Engine Dictionary on line or download a free copy of the complete book in PDF format.

A search of biblical proportions, an article from the Washington Post, is an overview of the history of web search along with some fascinating speculations about what's next. You'll also learn that the first search engine dates from 1230 and was created by a French cardinal, Hugh of Saint-Cher (ca.1200-1263).

September 2016

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DuckDuckGo is a search engine that protects privacy and has lots of features.

Learn more about DuckDuckGo.

Ixquick offers users a proxy system that makes it the world's most private search engine. Ixquick searches fourteen major search engines and displays results that ranked by relevancy. Ixquick is the only search engine using a star system to rate each result. Its uncluttered interface makes Ixquick is dream to use.

Ixquick's proxy explained.


Test the Wolfram Alpha search engine now! A few things to try: enter any date, enter any town, enter any two stocks, enter any calculation, enter any math formula.

Use Microsoft's Bing search engine to search this site or search the entire internet.

cool.gif AnswerBus is a search engine that makes all the others seem antediluvian by comparison. Instead of entering search terms and trying to remember how to use those Boolean symbols, with AnswerBus you simply write a question in plain English (or in plain French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese).

AnswerBus actually gives you a list of answers, each of which is a hyperlink to the source page. StumbleUpon is a browser add-on for finding and sharing great websites. Unlike directories or search engines, StumbleUpon uses member ratings to form collective human opinions on website quality. This is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Try it! lets you Search many libraries for an item and then locate it in a library near you. Use WorldCat to find books, music, and videos to check out. Find research articles and digital items (like audiobooks) that can be directly viewed or downloaded. Link to "Ask a Librarian" and other services at your library. WorldCat is fabulous! Try it now and check out the new enhancements to WorldCat discovery experience.

Search for an item in libraries near you:

Click this button to access the GoodSearch charitable engine, as described above.

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

With Zuula, it is quick and convenient to get results from all the top search engines. Search engines often return very different results for the same terms. So checking multiple search engines will give you the best results, and Zuula makes it easy. Currently, Zuula offers Web, Image, Video, News, Blog, and Job searches.

Learn more about Zuula metasearch on the Zuula blog.


AlltheWeb (formerly FAST) has the goal of building the world's largest search engine and claims to have "the most sophisticated advanced search features."

AlltheWeb's index (provided by Yahoo!) includes billions of web pages, as well as tens of millions of PDF and MS Word® files.

Plus, AlltheWeb has many advanced features such as a unique skins gallery, where you can select your own AlltheWeb interface or customize your own AlltheWeb skin.

AlltheWeb :: find it all

Arfie, the Dogpile dog, fetches results from the four main seach engines, Google, Yahoo, Bing and Dogpile aggregates the most relevant searches and delivers them to you in a convenient search package. With Dogpile, you get the best from the big dogs.


Yippy, formerly known as Clusty and before that known as Vivisimo] queries one or more web search engines, parses their result pages to extract the documents (titles, URLs, and short descriptions),groups the documents based on this information, not the full web pages, orders the groups and the documents within each group and displays the hierarchical categories.

For example, if you run a search for "Desert de Retz" on Yippy, you will get a series of "clouds" in the left column displaying related subjects, such as "Chambourcy," "Thomas Jefferson," and "Paysage Choisi." It's unique and helpful. Try it!


MetaCrawler, dating back to 1995, is one of the first metasearch engines. MetaCrawler uses innovative metasearch technology to search the Internet's top search engines, including Google, Yahoo! Search, Bing, Ask and more, then retrieves the best search results and organizes them in a uniform format, ranking them by relevance. MetaCrawler has undergone numerous permutations and is now part of Infospace.

Search the Web with MetaCrawler, introduced in 1996, is a "smart" meta-search engine - every time you type in a query Mamma simultaneously searches a variety of engines, directories, and deep content sites--including Tweets on Twitter--formats the words and syntax for each, compiles their results in a virtual database, eliminates duplicates, and displays them in a uniform manner according to relevance. is now owned by Empresario, Inc.


The Open Directory Project, also known as DMOZ, has had as its goal since its inception in 1998 to produce the most comprehensive directory of the web, by relying on a community of volunteer editors. In 2011 the Open Directory's 89,882 editors had cataloged 4,862,942 sites in 1,003,849 categories. The Open Directory's motto: "Humans do it better."

IPL The Internet Public Library (IPL)is compiled and organized at the University of Michigan School of Information. The IPL is browsable by subject category and searchable by keyword. There are numerous special collection of over 20,000 online books. It's just like going to the library, except you access the IPL from your desktop!

Try out Logos, the Multilingual E-Translation Portal.
LOGOS - Multilingual E-Translation Portal
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Flag_fr.gif Exalead est un moteur de recherche Web européen qui met à votre disposition des outils simples et innovants pour chercher de l'information sur Internet.

Flag_fr.gif Les meilleurs moteurs de recherche. Compilé par Search Engine Colossus, ce portail comporte 25 moteurs de recherche spécifiques � la France: Alpavista (Rhône-Alpes), Bretagneworld (Repetoire du web breton), Breizhoo (La Bretagne sur le web), Origan (L'annuaire Provençal) et autres.

This convenient search box will allow you to access the Yahoo! directory.

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This page revised November 4, 2016.