So your Google searches just return slash-fiction, you find Bing far from beautiful, and Yahoo is, well, Yahoo. Where do you turn to find all that mega-specific information you needed for that witty blog post? Have no fear: we’re here to help. Below is a list of 10 of the most obscure, specific, niche search engines available on the internet:
Do you have an urge to see what The Guardian looked like in 2006? Or yearn to experience Yahoo as it was 16 years ago? Do you have a lot of free time on your hands? Then The Way Back Machine is for you. Essentially a collection of screen grabs since the dawn of time (or at least the internet), you can go back and catch-all those memes you missed the first time round. So nostalgic it hurts.
If you’re all about customization, Blekko is the place to be. On one level, it’s a regular search engine. On another, it’s a user-designed tech-gasm. Add your own sources; make use of their (slightly confusing) slashtag system to create an engine that is all about you. Impressed? We were.
Now take a wild guess as to what this search engine could possibly do. If you said ‘look up all artists and their work’, you’re both right and an idiot for answering a rhetorical question. Basically, the most-comprehensive artist database on the web, a search will return images, articles and – best of all – listings for galleries all over the world housing specific paintings.
Are you an objectively awful person? Do you still have icanhascheezburger bookmarked in your antique copy of IE 6? Check out ohmygodlol, a search engine devoted to dredging up ‘funny’ pics from all over the internet. Upside down cats, horses pulling faces, badly-spelled slogans, it’s all here and it’s all horrible. For those who cannot let an old meme die.
A novel twist on the tired ‘search engines finding what you were looking for’ formula; Wacko Search deliberately sets out to supply you with the wrong answers. How delightfully quirky! You might be thinking, if you’re a desiccated, soulless husk of a human being.
Finally, we emerge from the disease-ridden bowels of internet ‘humor’ to find something really useful. Chilling Effects tracks the attempts by angry, uptight people to silence internet free-speech, allowing you to search a particular subject-area and follow links to various resources. Also of interest is their regular ‘weather report’ measuring the barometer of online censorship. Chilling indeed.
The ‘front door to the deep web’, Complete Planet allows you to search over 70,000 databases not indexed by ordinary search engines. Great for finding absurdly specific topical information you might not otherwise be able to access.
So it’s Halloween and once again, you’ve failed to prepare anything. Luckily, Horror Find is here to help you find, well, take a wild guess. A not-very-vast database of all things creepy, kooky and spooky; featuring a design that looked cool once, in 1998, Horror Find is the last word in tacky.
Now this is an ingenious idea: Million Short removes the first million search engine results, leaving you with the rarely indexed, the neglected, and the downright weird. At least, that’s the idea. When we tried, searching for ‘Red Dwarf’ the first result was the official fan site: whether that’s a testament to Million Short’s uselessness or Red Dwarf’s ever-declining popularity we can only guess.
An attempt to create a logical search engine dedicated to finding answers, Wolfram Alpha still has a long way to go. While typing in ‘what is the meaning of life the universe and everything’ gets you the single result ‘42’ (good), typing in almost anything else just confuses the hell out of it (bad). Couple this with advertising even our adblocker can’t dispose of and the whole set up begins to seem just a tad less impressive. Nice homepage though.
Featured photo credit: Finding your way in a challenging environment via Shutterstock