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Little search engines that could

Four alternatives to Google for finding answers online.

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All hail Google, the undisputed king of search. It’s hard to imagine other sites toppling the online giant – and few have the hubris to try.

Jimmy Wales, the mind behind Wikipedia, announced in late March that he was pulling the plug on Wikia Search, his attempt at a user-generated search engine. The project couldn’t attract enough users and money.

But Google isn’t perfect. While some call it simple, quick, and effective, others describe the site as incomplete, dull, and a lowest common denominator.

Here are four search alternatives to cut through the Web and find what you’re looking for.

Viewzi: Search with a cherry on top. If Google is the vanilla ice cream of search engines, Viewzi is the row of colorful toppings. The site relies on Google’s computers to serve up good responses, but then sprinkles in some graphical flavor to sweeten the whole package. Viewzi offers more than a dozen ways to sift through search results – from timelines and screen shots to cross references and (our favorite) photo tag cloud.

Mahalo: Human-powered search. Mahalo is half Web directory, half über-search engine. Its team pulls together information, videos, and links on thousands of topics. If they haven’t gotten to your query yet, then Mahalo delivers search results from Google, Yahoo, Ask, and five other major sites. You’ll find the answer one way or another.


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