5 Off-the-Wall Search Engines You’ve Never Heard of
It’s no secret that Google dominates the search engine game. Not only does it have the largest database of information, but it consistently delivers the results whether you’re looking for a service, product, resourceful information, or if you’re just bored and want something interesting to read. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t better search engine options when it comes to searching for something in a particular niche or you just want a laugh. Let’s take a look at some of the more fun and useful ones that we’ve stumbled upon recently!
Forum discussions can be a good source of entertainment and information and are somehow more fun than simply reading up on a topic on Wikipedia. Reddit has emerged as the go-to forum resource on the internet but there is still a lot to be discovered in the niche ones. Board Reader provides searches with forum discussion threads according to the search term entered. If I search for ‘Superman comics’ I’m presented with around 8,000 different discussions from various places on the web dealing with the topic.
Google might be the best source for images, but if you’re looking for something you can legally use without infringing copyright laws, Google Images isn’t a safe option. As website designers, we are always on the lookout for image resources that we can refer our clients to when they’re selecting images. They are a number of image search engines that have royalty-free images on file, however many of them require payment. Others are free, but the quality of the images is not so good. One of our favourites is Split Shire, which has a modest search function but delivers in terms of quality. Definitely worth checking out!
Wolfram Alpha is somewhere in between Wikipedia and Google. While it doesn’t give you nearly as much information as the aforementioned, it provides you with a neat summary of what you’ve searched for and likely covers the info you wanted anyway. Sometimes reading through an entire Wikipedia page is just too much work – in these cases, Wolfram Alpha is the way to go. Obviously this isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a plumber or electrician, but when it comes to an informational resource, it’s pretty handy. See the example below:
Google has actually borrowed ideas from Wolfram Alpha and has started to display snapshot-like information in its result pages.
The Wayback Machine
You might not necessarily classify this as a search engine, but it’s a pretty useful resource so we think it’s more than qualified to make the list. The Wayback Machine is an archive that allows you to see what appeared at certain domains in years past and has over 350 billion pages available. It’s a great way of tracking the progress of how far websites and design standards have come, even in just a few years. Check out how Google looked back in 1998:
The Calvin & Hobbes Search Engine
For fans of the long-running comic series – rejoice. That’s right, there’s a search engine out there that allows you to search for any Calvin & Hobbes strip ever published. You just pop in a keyword – say ‘computers’ for example – and the search engine presents you with every strip in which the term is mentioned, complete with a nice summary and date it was published. The first listing will bring you to the following comic:
Creator Michael Yingling started this out as a ‘weekend project’ by using various resources including a website that has every one of the strips and a well-put together database.
While this might be extremely niche and quite a bit different from the other entries here, we just had to include it. Hours of fun to be had!
There plenty more search engines out there that are preferable to Google depending on what you’re searching for. The internet is full of great resources! If we’ve missed any, we invite you to share them in the comments section below.