Search engines offer general search capabilities for information of interest on the Internet. Many of these services use "spiders" or "robots" that visit web sites regularly. The result is a long list of Web sites placed in a database, which users search by typing in a keyword or phrase.
Many of the search sites use the same search engine. Inktomi was first licensed in May 1996, as the core of Wired Digital's HotBot search engine. Since then, Inktomi has signed deals to license its technology far and wide for sites such as Snap Online, GoTo.com, MSN Search and Yahoo. Currently all of these sites that use Inktomi as a backend return idenctical results for a keyword search.
Subject directories are categories or groupings of web sites. Sites that are submitted are reviewed and then assigned to the appropriate category by the editor.
Dmoz: Open Directory Project (NewHoo)
Education Virtual Library
Some sites provide evaluation and act as filters by reviewing and rating Internet information. In theory, these databases are smaller, but of higher quality.
Lycos TOP 5%
Unlike search engines, metacrawlers don't crawl the web themselves to build listings. Instead, they allow searches to be sent to several search engines all at once. The results are then blended together onto one page.
Go2Net / MetaCrawler
One of the oldest meta search services, MetaCrawler began in July 1995 at the University of Washington. MetaCrawler was purchased by go2net, an online content provider, in Feb. 97. The commercial backing has helped improve the responsiveness of the service.
An alternative to typical metacrawlers, Inference lists results grouped by subject, rather than by search engine or in one giant list. For example, a search for "Uma Thurman" groups results into "Uma Thurman" and "Pulp Fiction," among other categories. It taps into Alta Vista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, WebCrawler and Yahoo. The service began in May 1995, moving to its present domain in Oct. 1996.
Sends a search to a customizable list of search engines, directories and specialty search sites.
Another one of the older metasearch services, around since May 1995 and formerly based at Colorado State University.
Allows you to search the standard search engine choices or a huge number of specialty sites, all from the same place.
Sends search requests to seven major search engines.
GOV.SEARCH: US Government information
Acses: lowest price book
Amazon: books, music and videos
Bigfoot: phone numbers and postal addresses
WebMD: medical information
Tripquest: maps and directions
A portal is a fancy term for sites that gather most of the resources that Web surfers want in one place, and are designed to be the first destination on the Web surfer's journey, the home page, the first page your browser loads when you double-click on the Netscape or Internet Explorer icon. Portal sites provide many different types of information including: access to a web directory, search engine, customizable news, sports, weather, stocks, yellow and white pages, driving directions, horoscopes, contact managers, shopping--you name it. Portals are adding new features all the time to stay ahead of the game. And, as soon as one portal offers something--such as Lycos' free Web page service Tripod--others follow right on their heels.