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Revealed: the web's best search engines

Our search-engine shootout reveals all

Is Google still the number one search engine?

Most web searchers are happy using Google – and with good reason. Google is an excellent tool that came top in several of our test categories and was by far the best overall. But for the sake of curiosity and variety, try other search tools from time to time. You might prefer them.

Even the sites that performed poorly in certain tests have noteworthy features. Ask.com was mediocre at text queries, but it deserves praise for its usability and strong image searches. Yahoo, meanwhile, fared well in most categories, notably text searches. But it was weaker at finding images and video.

And you shouldn't forget the dozens of speciality websites devoted to searching for images, news, blogs and other specific items. These boutique engines can be a good choice for some subjects. 192.com and Yell.com, for instance, are great for people searches – 192 will help you track down ancestors as well as living relatives.

TubeSurf.com, a metasearch engine that simultaneously scans Google, MySpace, Yahoo and YouTube for videos, is a quick way to look up multiple sites. In many categories, however, the big engines were just as effective as the specialists.

Maybe you've heard that search engines all spit out the same list of hits. There's some truth to this claim. When you look for a major breaking story on several news sites you can expect similar results. But in our tests, the items returned varied considerably from engine to engine, particularly when it came to image, video and blog queries.

Quick links:

Web search: Is Google still the number 1 search engine?

Web search: Image and blog searches

Web search: Competition and innovation

Web search: Relativity

Web search: Human insight

Web search: Google's secret ingredient

Web search: The future of search

Web search: Top search tips


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