12 Most Strangely Specific Search Engines
Google is great, but sometimes we need to narrow the field even more. I keep the following 12 search engines handy whenever I am working on a project.
1. Creative Commons
Creative Commons has a page set up for all types of searches; audio, image, and video. This is an easy way to find those great sources that creators have shared with us. Remember to give proper attribution if you use them.
2. Writer’s Knowledge Base
Unique search engine from Elizabeth Craig and Mike Flemming. Craig was already curating the best resources for writers via her Twitter account. This search engines captures all those links and makes them searchable.
Ninjawords is a dictionary lookup that is faster than any other around. You can even build lists of words you can share. The website keeps a history of all the words you have found.
What is a writer without a handy Thesaurus? Keep this bookmarked as a resource to use while you write. It will help you avoid repetition and lead you to some better descriptors.
Blekko allows you to make a custom search engine by feeding it your own sources. It offers further customization using their /(slash) system. It is still very confusing to me, but it is very powerful.
6. Tin Eye
Have you ever found an image online and wondered where it originated from? Tin Eye is a reverse image look up tool. It can also be used to find people who have stolen copyrighted images from your website.
7. Social Mention
Social Mention crawls through the web to bring up blog posts, status updates, and other places where people have talked about you or your website. It is one of the best listening tools available for free.
This search engine takes a URL and shows you all the related Twitter updates it finds. It also works with usernames or hashtags — great for finding tweets that would be easy to miss because they do not directly mention your brand.
9. The Wayback Machine
Well, nothing posted to the internet is ever lost. The Wayback Machine will allow you to see some websites as they appeared long ago. Here is what Google looked like in 1998.
This service is in closed Beta, but they still allow you to do free searches on hashtags. It will let you know the activity related to a hashtag in the past 24 hours; top tweeters, recent tweets, and potential reach.
11. Chilling Effects
The largest database of real DMCA notices received by others with all personal information redacted. It is an educational website on cease and desist letters supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Find images of your favorite art pieces online with this simple search engine — search by artist, title, or museum.
Here is an extra tip for you today. You can make any of these search engines work with the address bars of Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Each has its own way of adding default search engines. Here are the instructions for the most popular browsers:
Chrome — Instructions for adding a new search engine
Firefox — Through the Mycroft Project you can add any search engine
Firefox Add On — This will make the process easier if you don’t like code
Internet Explorer — Add ons for the IE search bar
Do you ever have trouble finding information from Google? Which one of the 12 search engines above will be the most useful for you and why?
Featured image courtesy of Don Hoey licensed via Creative Commons.