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Don't Let Search Engine Loyalty Stop You

By Jonathan Broadus
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2004

Recommends the addition of subject-specific search engines to the Internet user's tools. Most Internet users have their favorite search engine to which they're faithfully devoted. This isn't a bad thing in itself, but it can become one when search engine loyalty prevents you from an easy find. Search engines are a tool, and each is usually designed for either a generic or specific purpose. When you're searching for general information, it's a good idea to go to your favorite site, the one you know all the little tricks to get the answers you want. But if you're searching for information in a specific field, don't discount the value of going to a very specific search engine for the task.

When I'm programming, for instance, I'm likely to go to Codehound ( to search for just the right line of code to perform the task I want to do. Codehound's one and only purpose is to index sites related to programming, so it cuts out a lot of the miscellaneous "How did that get there?" results. For medical information, I typically start searching on WebMD ( It's not that the sites you want aren't on the generic search engines, necessarily. It's that the limitation of the results to a specific category often means you can find it faster with fewer irrelevant results to sort through.

Don't know of a specific search engine for your topic? There's a few places to look. First, ask other people who need similar info where they search. Second, try going to your favorite engine and putting in a phrase such as " search engine". If you wanted psychology info, you would try "psychology search engine" as the phrase, for instance. It might turn up a search engine specifically for that subject.

Finding the best search engine for a specific job can make a lot of difference in your web search success.

About the Author
An active Visual Basic programmer since 1996, Jonathan Broadus currently works as a computer programmer/technician for HIS Communications. An avid internet user since 1991-1992, he can still vaguely recall the ancient days of Gopher and Mosaic. In his free time, he likes to write both poetry and prose.


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