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10 Unique Search Engines That Serve Very Unique Purposes

10 Unique Search Engines That Serve Very Unique Purposes

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:

The Way Back Machine

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.

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Blekko

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.

Artcyclopedia

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.

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Oh My God LOL!!!

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.

Wacko Search

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.

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Chilling Effects

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.

Complete Planet

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.

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Horror Find

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.

Million Short

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.

Wolfram Alpha

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

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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