Google Wonder Wheel (see below)
Whilst Google is obviously the dominant search engine, it’s sometimes useful to complement it’s results with other engines as additional leads and ideas can be revealed that way. Personally I often do this when I’m doing some overview research on a new idea or approach. In practice I’ve found that interesting new suggestions crop up more quickly this way.
Interesting ones you might like to investigate include:
Bing (from Microsoft) – especially nice for images (it has ‘infinite scroll’).
‘While other search engines offer only one type of search at a time, Nibbo will show a preview of multiple search types in an unobstrusive way, and provide information like the number of results that are to be expected for the different engines. The type and order of those previews is completely configurable, as well as the default search settings’
‘The next generation of web search technology won’t be about keyword search. Google already does this well, and any improvement will likely be incremental. Rather, the future lies in providing you what you aren’t finding through keywords–sites you currently find through friends, colleagues, blogs, or simply by chance. We call this “discovery” rather than “search” because the goal is to introduce you to new and interesting information rather than to give you just what you searched for’
‘Real-time search engine. We aggregate and organize content being shared on the internet as it happens, like eye-witness reports of breaking news, photos and videos from big events, and links to the hottest memes of the day’
In a rather different category is Wolfram Alpha. This is a so-called computational knowledge search engine. This works best for queries that involve a date, place or calculation eg the query ‘London to Paris’ generates the distance, flight time, current local times, both populations and a map.
Further options for getting a different feel for results from Google can be found under ‘Show options’ at the top of the search results list. These include:
- Restrict results to discussion forums or reviews
- View just the most recent results
- View a chart of results in time order
- Wonder wheel – visualisation of results much like a mind map (see picture above); clicking on a node generates detailed sub-results
Another alternative that has been around for a while now is Grokker, which offers outline and map views (picture below).
There’s also an interesting article on how the presentation of the results can be an important factor, with Google coming out on top (again), mainly through familiarity and relevance rather than layout and design (study sample size was small though).