Expanding Search Engine Technology and Efficiency

As the amount of information available online increases and people become more reliant upon the Internet for information, technology companies are developing new features for search engines that can process an incomprehensible amount of data into organized, user-friendly results.  New search features are constantly developed to deliver targeted results and ultimately make Internet research as efficient as possible.  The past few years have marked some of the greatest advances in search engine offerings since Yahoo! debuted in 1994 and Google and Microsoft Live took off in 1998. Categorized Results

Newer search engine technologies are changing the way information is delivered; these sites extract relevant data from various Internet sources to provide more targeted results for each query.

  • Wolfram Alpha uses its databases to provide a report reminiscent of an encyclopedia entry.
  • Google Squared searches the entire Web to create spreadsheet style results.
  • Carrot2 and Cuil organize data from a broad query into narrower categories or subtopics.

While some of these applications are still in beta, there is great potential for significantly improving Internet research efficiency.

Meta Searches

According to research studies by Dogpile and Jux2, the majority of top search results are unique amongst the major search providers.  To consolidate the best of the best, "meta search engines" compile the best results from popular search engines to determine the most relevant results and eliminate any duplicates.  Despite the different search mechanism, these meta searches have similar interfaces, filters and preference settings as traditional search engines.  Try Dogpile (which cross-compares Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask) or Jux2 (with results taken from Google, Yahoo! and MSN).

Alternatives to Google

In June 2009, Microsoft introduced Bing as a replacement for its previous Live Search engine.  The Wall Street Journal detailed the benefits and improvements an Internet user will enjoy with Bing:

  • An "engaging, attractive" style with a new interactive photo on the homepage daily.
  • A results page with an "Explore Pane" that suggests related search terms and results.
  • A "hover" feature to summarize web links when the cursor is over the search result, thereby preventing clicks to unhelpful pages.
  • Streamlined organization of Image Search results.
  • In-page product reviews and the Bing Cashback rewards program for online shopping.
  • Airfare forecasting and analysis of hotel prices with Bing Travel.

Exalead offers a search interface similar to Google, with text and image search options.  Advanced searches and preference settings allow you to better customize searches, and thumbnails appear in the results to preview the web pages.  It also allows you to create an account and customize your homepage with shortcuts to sites you visit frequently.

Search Efficiency Add-ons

Read our previous blog entry about Hyperwords for yet another resource that offers time-saving search features.