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How meta-search engines can make your Web searches faster and more exact. Here is a list of my favorites:
calls itself the mother of all search engines. It simultaneously searches a variety of engines, directories, and deep-content sites.

You can specify 1 of 5 different areas to search: Web, News, Images, Yellow Pages (business addresses and phone numbers), or White Pages (people's addresses and phone numbers).
searches all the best-known search engines, including Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves.
Its compiled results are much easier to use for general searches. For example, a search on "green tea" yielded 19,200,000 results on Google but only 115 on Dogpile.

Dogpile allows you to search Web, Images, Audio, Video, News, Yellow Pages, and White Pages.
can search all the major search engines at once. But it also allows you to use 10 individual search engines if you need to (including AOL).

Beaucoup has an extensive list of content areas to click on and investigate, including Geographical, Society, Media, and People.
searches the major search engines, including Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search, Ask Jeeves, About, MIVA, and LookSmart.

With MetaCrawler, you can search Web, Images, Audio, Video, News, Yellow Pages, and White Pages. It also has "Advanced" options that allow you to search for "all the words" or "the exact phrase." And it allows you to save your preferences on the website (if you have "cookies" activated on your browser). These preferences include number of results per page, adult content on or off, and spelling correction.

Which of these meta-search sites is best? Each has strengths and weaknesses, so test them all. Though you may settle on one as your favorite, there will be times when one of the others may do a better job for you.

The best way to use meta-searches is as a starting point for your research. Mine the results for important ideas and concepts. Then, if you still need more, search those words in your regular search sites (like Google or Yahoo).

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