Just google it. You know when something is big, cultural and practical, when it becomes a verb. No doubt you said “just Google it”. Research is one area that affects our lives in dramatic ways that we hardly think about anymore; Like how easy it is to search and find almost anything.
As much as I love Google, it really isn’t a great search engine. Sorry Google. They get the job done, but often times you don’t get exactly what you want. Now, if you want to get all technical, you can add what’s known as Boolean search – using terms, words, and symbols to further restrict or limit your search. Many people simply don’t want to take the time to figure these things out. I can’t say I blame them.
Your next best step? Look for specialized tools or search engines that can help you find what you’re looking for without scrolling through page after page wondering if you’ll get what you want. I have three resources to share that will help you level up your searches.
First, let me introduce you to Tara Kalishin, also known as ResearchBuzz on Twitter. I’ve been creating what you call “search tools” for a few years, well, since 1996 or so. I wrote the first guide, if not the first guide to search: Netscape’s Official Guide to Internet Research, and over the years more books are about search engines, so she knows a thing or two on the subject. I’ve been following her on Twitter for probably seven or eight years getting tips and techniques whenever possible.
Here are two of my favorite tools from its site, Search Gizmos (many of which let you do Boolean searches for you with just one click). Many of its tools are built in addition to Google’s search functionality, so to speak:
Smushy search It allows you to take your normal thematic search term and, using another app (which I called), will find related words and help refine your search automatically. Again, type Boolean Advanced Search by simply filling in a few fields. elegant.
Gossip machine is a tool to find news days for people, places and things. “Pageviews for a year are used to show potential ‘news days’ in that year for any topic that has a Wikipedia page.”
You can find other specialized search tools on their site: Search Gizmos.
Wolfram Alpha – A search engine on steroids
I wrote about it Wolfram Alpha before, but if you need a highly detailed and highly detailed search engine, this is your tool. It takes a bit of digging into the different categories they have links to, but you’ll quickly see that they’re known for math and help you complete calculations and, in addition to what you can see in the screenshot above, a lot more.
Privacy-focused search engines
swissquos – You have to like that name, in my opinion. Switzerland prides itself on protecting the privacy of its citizens and its reputation in the banking field is well known throughout the world. One can expect them to build a privacy-focused search engine and have a little fun with the name, too.
And of course you may have heard about it Duck duck go (What’s with all the creature names?) As a privacy-focused search engine, I use it often.
If you need more options to go beyond the big G, you can also check out this post by a search engine focused website called Search Engine Journal. They posted a list: 20 great search engines you can use instead of Google.