Prev | Next | Contents

Meta search engines

Meta search engines send off requests to several other search engines, the idea being to collate the results in a way that lends significance to the top few suggestions. As such, there is more variation in how they collate results and offer follow up options.

Such sites tend not to offer advanced search options (because that would complicate forwarding the request), and they often only show one page of results (because tracking the next page options would be difficult) They would argue that only the results returned by many engines should count. This is true for some searches, not for others.

Meta search engines are appearing at a greater rate than "proper" search engines, so the following is just a sample.

No advanced search page, but then the whole site is intended as an advance search engine.
Help is at
URLs should be submitted via email (see the help page)

Ask Jeeves suggests you enter your question in English. This is not only turned into searches at the major engines (the standard metacrawler functionality), but is also re-phrased as alternative or related questions which you can then search on.

Quite a nice idea for those who aren't sure what to ask for.

Help at
No Advanced search, although there is "custom" search for registered users "Get listed" at

Offers Smarter, faster or custom searches. You can register with C4 to bookmark your favourite searches. Results show little graphics of the search engine they came from. Quite pretty, but it'll delay your first search ever-so-slightly.

I couldn't see an advanced search option.
Help is at
There is no "add URL" option.

One of the more popular meta search engines. You can choose to search other resources above and beyond the web, e.g. FTP, Quotes, Business news etc.

No advanced search or help.
Add URL at, but this is in fact
an advert for a submission engine.

This site seems to be more of an advert for other things (see the comment above on the "submit" option). That said, they collate the results in a rather nice fashion, and seem to give quite a relevant combination of results, with only those results coming from Excite alone showing the usual "why was that listed?" behaviour

In particular they seem to avoid listing 20 pages at the same site, which is a refreshing change.

Bizarrely this has a "best viewed in Verdana font" logo (ahem).

No help
No Advanced search.
No Add URL

A portal that offers a fairly standard meta search engine. A "Search options" link takes you to foot of results pages where you can choose which search engines to use, although and are always listed first, presumably because it picks up credit from these pay-for-click sites for doing so.

No Help.
No Advanced search.
No Add URL.
No good (IMHO)

This appears to be a portal with a tagged-on meta search engine.

You have the option to disable a pop-up window when you first visit (via a cookie). Not a good start for a search engine in my opinion.

It gets worse... this site didn't work with Netscape 4.7 when I tried it. Probably due to an unterminated <TABLE> tag (this often trips up Netscape).

More features and description at
No Advanced search
No Add URL

Less of a meta engine, more of a front end to your engine of choice. Enter your search term and select the search engine you want to use. This can be useful, for example, to get 50 results from Altavista instead of the usual 10.

No Add URL
FAQ at
No Advanced search.

Tidy and fast meta search that also offers UseNet and FTP search as well searches in other languages. Intelligently, the choice of search engines varies as the language selected is changed (e.g. Acoon and Euroseek are included when German is selected)

Power search described at
Add ixquick to your site at
About at

This site has a number of nice features. It adds stars to indicate the quality of the results, lists the engines it used at the ranking found (top 10 results only), and it claims to be more intelligent in it's use of the major search engines. So, for example, it will allow requests with logical operators and wildcards to be submitted, translating these into the appropriate requests for each engine. Particularly welcome is the support for wil*cards. It is available in a large variety of languages.

It also seems to have been authored by someone with a sense of humour (see the about page for example). Not that we let that influence us at all. Oh no.

No help page.
No advanced search.
No Add URL.

Colourful site. Although it claims to search the search engines, the results seem biased to those from Goto (where pay-for-click applies), although no mention is made of this. Results page offers "most popular" (from DirectHit) and "directory" (ODP) searches, and quite a few other tie-ins are offered.

This would appear to also be
Power search is at
Search Tips are at

Metacrawler submits queries to other search engines and collates the results, listing pages found at multiple sites first. As such it averages out the best and worst of searches. One nice feature is that it spots pages with different case sensitivity as being the same page.

The power search actually has a fair degree of flexibility (for example you can choose which other search engine you want to use).

About at
No Add URL
No Help

Meta search that includes a number of pay-per-click engines in its results (although you can choose the mix yourself). This site seems to be related to the guide-based site, and looks to be
offering a number of portal-like services based round the meta search engine.

Help is at
Add URL (to 20 engines) at
Register for email searched at

A clean and simple search engine that serves up results from around 10 major engines. The site has a very slight German bias (you can search the German Yahoo as one of your 10 engines), and there is a German version of the site at, suggesting I suppose, that it is German owned,
not that you can tell otherwise.

Help is at
No advanced search

A search engine that searches a variety of news sources. A powerful way of keeping up to date with current affairs. Various forms of this resource can be added to your own pages. or

Help is at
Their story is at
No advanced search
No add URL

Meta-search site that lets you choose your engine(s), and how many pages of results you want. The results seem to be the individual pages stuck together, complete with original banner ads. So you can use this to get 20 pages of results from Altavista in one go at the cost of having to wade through 20 sets of headers. A rather bemusing experience :-)

I couldn't find an advanced search or help page.
Submit (to many search engines) at
You can "snoop" on recent requests at

Another meta-search engine with support for about 2 dozen languages The results page has an option to search more search engines.

No advanced search itself, but offers special pages for advanced searches at AltaVista, HotBot, InfoSeek, Microsoft (MSN), Lycos and Yahoo (which is a reasonable thing for a meta engine to do).

No help page.
Add URL at

A meta-search engine with a directory (probably ODP) attached. Also acts as an ISP and offers free email, and states that Searchalot sites will be ranked first in any searches that are performed.

No advanced search.
Help is at

An interesting site that shows results in frames with tiny icons showing the source of the result. You can choose up to 200 results at a time or possibly more (using the "max" setting). The most intriguing feature on this site is the little green triangles next to the links.

Click on these to see a site summary on the right-hand frame. These summaries seem to be quite intelligently constructed by fetching the page in question, and show statistics, the META description, key points and related links. You really should have a look at this feature.

Advanced search is at
No Help

Very basic meta search engine whose "Search" button is labelled "Surf", probably to match the tsunami name. There's no choice of engines, number of results or anything else. Shows 20 results per page which seem to come from AllTheWeb, Yahoo and Webcrawler.

About at
No Add URL
No Help

Meta search engine that allows you to display up to 100 results (50 is the default). There's no "next" function, but you can order results by search engine or relevancy. or

No advanced search or help page.
Submit URLs at, but to get a priority
listing you must add a reciprocal link to your site.

Two meta-engines for the price of one. True to it's name the noimages site has no images - a truely wonderful idea for a search engine where speed is everything. It's possible to add this search engine to your own site via a HTML code fragment (that they provide).

"Search Thingy". Not so much a meta search engine, as a front end for a selection of search engines. You can select one from the list of around 10 major engines and submit your search to the engine selected. Using the Back button on your browser then allows you to submit the same search to a different engine. [New]

Advanced search at
Preference at

Nice looking meta engine, with a good set of options for configuring how the results are presented, and which can be saved as your preferences. Results can be anything from 10 to "all" (!), but are headed by 4 space-taking sponsored listsing which - in the searches I did - took up half the page. [New]

Power search at
About/Features at

Parent-friendly meta search engine that filters urls, titles and descriptions so that everything you see in your search results is safe for family viewing. It isn't able to check the content of the pages listed though, so it doesn't claim to be 100% child safe.

The advanced search offers a decent mix of features, including the ability to include/exclude results by strings that form part of the URL or site name.

Prev | Next | Contents