List of Major Web Search Engines, Directories and Metacrawlers

Search engine logos

An internet search engine is a searchable online database of internet resources. A web search engine has several components:

  • Search engine software
  • Spider software
  • An index (database)
  • A relevancy algorithm (rules for ranking)

Search results from a search engine are presented in a list of results and are often called search engine hits. The information in the search results may consist of web pages, images, videos, news, and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained by human editors, search engines operate algorithmically or are a mixture of algorithmic and human input.

Search engines are also known as:  web search engines, internet search engines, search websites, search directories, etc.

Search engines are useful to private investigators because they provide a quick and easy way to retrieve information on a wide variety of topics. Sometimes, missing persons search case can be resolved using nothing more than a search engine and a telephone.  Remember to use a variety of search engines as each search engine indexes different websites and has different rules for ranking and sorting their results.

List of Popular Search Engines

Following is a list of some of the more popular search engines and directories on the internet.

All The Web – AlltheWeb (now owned by Yahoo!) used to combine one of the largest and freshest indices with the most powerful search features that allow anyone to find anything faster than with any other search engine.  AlltheWeb’s index (provided by Yahoo!) includes billions of web pages, as well as tens of millions of PDF and MS Word® files. Yahoo! frequently scans the entire web to ensure that our content is fresh and to eliminate broken links.

AltaVista – AltaVista is a web search engine owned by Yahoo!.  AltaVista used to be one of the most popular search engines but its popularity declined with the rise of Google’s search engine. Yahoo  announced that it plans to discontinue the site.

America Online (AOL) – Search less and discover more with AOL Search®. Our product delivers comprehensive web results enhanced by Google™ along with quick, easy access to relevant videos, pictures, local maps, news, stock quotes and more. – is a leading search engine on the Web. Millions of people turn to to get what they are looking for online everyday.  Founded as Ask Jeeves in 1996 and renamed in February 2005, is recognized for innovation in search technology and search interface design.

Bing – Bing is a search engine from Microsoft that finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions.  Bing has emerged as a legitimate contender for search engine traffic.  Instead of the usual plain white page background, Bing displays an interesting photo on their background.

Google – The number one search engine, Google dominates the search market, with around 90% of the worlds search engine traffic.  Google’s search utility and ease of use have made it one of the world’s best known search engines and brands almost entirely through word of mouth from satisfied users.

Dogpile – Dogpile searches multiple search engines at once.

GenieKnows – narrowed the field of organic search results by developing niche-specific portals tailored for distinct searching communities, and also empowers a broad distribution network for advertisers by conveying meaningful, revenue-generating search results.

IX Quick – Ixquick is a metasearch engine: when you search Ixquick, you are searching many popular search engines at the same time. Combined, these engines cover more of the Internet than any one search engine covers.

Lycos – Lycos, established in 1995, is one of the oldest and most widely known Internet brands in the world, evolving from one of the original search engines on the web, into a comprehensive network of sites that foster online communities. The Lycos Network provides web search and navigation, homepage building and web hosting services, web-based e-mail, online games and cutting-edge video platforms. Lycos’s award-winning products and services include tools for blogging, web publishing and hosting, video sharing, social networking, games, e-mail, and search.

Mamma – used to provide relevant results from the best search engines on the Internet.

Metacrawler – Now owned by DogPile. MetaCrawler uses innovative metasearch technology to search the Internet’s top search engines, including Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search, Ask Jeeves, About, MIVA, LookSmart and more. With one single click, MetaCrawler searches the best results from the combined pool of the world’s leading search engines — instead of results from only one single search engine.

Northern Light – Northern Light no longer provides search services. They do provide licensed news content to businesses on a private basis.

Reference.Com – is a multi-source encyclopedia search service produced by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC, a leading provider of language reference products and services on the Internet.

Search Com – searches Google,, LookSmart and other leading search engines to bring you the best results. metasearch search engine – The only search you need.

WebCrawler – WebCrawler® brings users the top search results from Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live, Ask and other popular search engines. WebCrawler also provides multimedia results, including images, audio, video, news, and local information. WebCrawler is a registered trademark of InfoSpace, Inc.

Yahoo – Yahoo! Inc. has become the world’s largest global online network of integrated services with more than 500 million users worldwide. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with a presence in more than 20 markets and regions around the globe.

Searching for Someone? We recommend Intelius People Search, the leading provider of People Search and Background Check reports. Intelius has an extensive selection of people search reports, background checks, criminal records, court records, real estate and financial reports.


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