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Study Guide: Web Search and News Tools

Web Search and News Tools > 6. Finding the Right Tools / Staying Current

6A: Open Web Search Tools

The Web contains an estimated 71 billion pages which are publicly available and over 300 hundred Web search tools available for free. One source, Search Engine Watch, lists the major search engines, with new ones emerging regularly. Some search engines are more popular than others. This pie chart shows which general search engines get used the most. (Data is also from Search Engine Watch.)

pie chart of search engine use
Data from this chart is from: http://searchenginewatch.com/3632382

6B: Hidden (Invisible) Web Search Tools

But none of these search tools captures ALL of the Web.  One study shows that there is little overlap in pages retrieved on various search engines. Another article claims that less than 10% of Web content has been indexed by the largest search engines. Content on the Web is layered as this diagram shows which means that some information is hidden from major search engines. This area is called the hidden or invisible Web.  CompletePlanet, lists over 70,000 searchable databases and specialty search engines that help get at some of this information that is not available through the major search engines and is otherwise hidden.

6C: Search Engine Reviews and Guides

Where can you find reviews of search tools so that you can quickly locate the best ones? Here are some sites that provide that service:

Search Engine Watch: Reviews, Ratings, Tests
Search Engines Showdown: The Users Guide to Web Searching
About.Com: Web Search

Source: The Economist Online Edition, 15 June 2006


Go to this Search Engine Showdown page and click on the "inconsistencies" link (located on the left side of the page under analysis). Browse the search engine inconsistency reports. What are some common problems?

[Links open in new browser window.]

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