January 2019 - this page is in the process of getting updated. Some sections and tools are yet to be added and other ones are still missing details.
While Google is the most popular search engine, it is not the only one. There is no “best” search engine as it depends on what you are looking for. Every search engine has it’s own database of web pages (called an index), method of ranking pages (algorithm), and various features, and it is worth trying others out.
By default, Google includes results that do not exactly match your search terms, so you can select the “Google — verbatim” tool to find more exact matches.
iseek.ai is a small search engine which allows you to narrow down your results by several attributes including topic groupings (similar to Yippy).
You will have a much better time finding what you are looking for if you learn some of the special keywords and symbols that search engines use. The most common is to include "quotation marks" around a phrase, and all major search engines support this. Another common one is to put a minus symbol before a word to exclude it, such as -excluded. Learn more about these (known as search syntax and search operators) for each search engine: Google (not all are listed on their own site, see a more complete list), Bing (and more Bing), Yandex (and more Yandex), Qwant, Exalead, and Gigablast.
These are tools which (mostly) do not have their own database of web pages to search. Instead, they use others’ while providing different features. All those listed here aside from Startpage display results at least in part from Bing.
DuckDuckGo is the most popular of these alternative search engines. Features include instant answers and bangs. See also DuckDuckGo search help. Results are mostly from Bing, but depending on what you search for may come from other sites as well as their own index.
Ecosia is the most popular cause-based search engine. A portion of their revenue is donated to help plant trees. Their results are from Bing.
eTools.ch is arguably the only real meta search engine included here. Meta search engines combine results from multiple other search engines, and were more common before Google dominated the industry.
Startpage’s results come from Google, with the main difference being how they handle your privacy.
Peekier’s results come mainly from Bing. What really makes them different is the large previews of each web page.
Swisscows’s results come from Bing, although they do have their own index if you use their German-language version. While most search engines have an option to filter adult content, Swisscows attempts to always exclude it.
Yippy’s results appear to come mostly from Bing, and their main feature are the topic groupings (similar to iseek.ai) that can help you narrow down the results.
Many search engines now claim to make privacy a central feature. These search engines may also offer less personalization, which is when they use what they know about you to affect the ranking of results. These privacy-focused search engines includes Qwant, Mojeek, DuckDuckGo, eTools.ch, Startpage, Peekier, Swisscows, and Yippy. If privacy concerns you, read the policies of each search engine or read the reviews by Restore Privacy.
In addition to the search engines listed above, another privacy-focused one is Searx. Searx does not have a single website. Instead many people have set up their own copies of Searx, so you can visit the list of Searx instances to find one to use.
Million Short, which shows results from Bing, has a few options to filter the results. They exclude the most popular websites, which helps to surface pages which you may not otherwise come across. Here, it is set to exclude the top 10,000 sites, although you can adjust this from the results page.
Million Short also has an option to exclude e-commerce sites (here labelled “no buy”), which does not always work perfectly but may still be useful.
These search engines do not have an English version, but are useful when looking for information in other languages and regions. Some of the search tools listed in other sections are based in non-English-speaking countries, such as Qwant which is French.
In Iran, Parsijoo is the second most popular search engine after Google.
In Vietnam, Cốc Cốc is the second most popular search engine after Google.
In Bangladesh, almost all searches are run on Google, however Pipilika seems worth trying as well.
In Czechia, Seznam is the second most popular search engine after Google.
Wolfram|Alpha is an incredible tool that stands in a category of its own. It does a great job of understanding what you have typed in, and then organizes its own data and calculates a response. To get an idea of what it can do, see the Wolfram|Alpha tour.
Wolfram|Alpha is used by Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistants. Most virtual assistants cannot be accessed online, however you can use Echosim.io to try out Alexa online. You will need to be logged into an Amazon account.
Wikipedia hardly needs an explanation. You can read all about it on the Wikipedia article. As with anything that you read anywhere, you should verify the information using multiple sources if using it for anything important. Wikiwand is a copy of Wikipedia, but with a nice design that makes it more enjoyable to use.
Encyclopædia Britannica is the most comprehensive traditional encyclopedia. Not all of the content is free to access, however you may be able to get the non-free parts through your local library.
Guinness World Records holds many records, although not all are listed on their website. You will need to create an account in order to view these search results.
SweetSearch uses Google, but limits the results to only about 35,000 sites that have been selected to be useful for educational purposes.
These options use either Google or Bing, filtered to only show results which have been created or updated within the given time frame. You can specify a more precise date range from the results page. Some other search tools on this page also offer date filters.
See also news videos on Video search.
The news sources listed here are among the most significant English-language news organizations.
Reuters and The Associated Press (which can not be searched from this page) are two of the three largest news agencies which provide content for other news organizations. The other is Agence France-Presse, however they do not publish news on their own site.
BBC News and The Guardian (which can not be searched from this page) are based in the United Kingdom. The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post are based in the United States. The Times of India is based in India.
News from about the year 2000 and more recent can be found on Newslookup.com and some of the other news search engines. The tools in this section are free collections of mostly digitized newspapers. Digitization means that newspapers on paper or microform (microfilm or microfiche) are scanned or photographed. The images are then converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR), which is what enables searching by keyword. OCR is not perfect, especially for older newspapers. One useful strategy is to take into account common OCR errors when searching.
Every newspaper archive is a collection of various individual newspapers across various years. Any one newspaper may have some years available through several sites, other years available through a different site, and some years not yet digitized.
Many significant newspaper archives are only available from paid and library services and most newspapers have never been digitized and are only available by visiting a library.
The Internet Archive’s newspapers collection includes a variety of papers from around the world.
Newspapers on Google Books include those from a number of countries countries. You can browse the full list of titles but if you want to search use the first link or this page, as searching does not work properly from the second link.
The Library of Congress tool here includes all Library of Congress newspaper collections aside from Chronicling America. This includes a few from the United States, but also listings of what other non-digitized newspapers are held by the library including ones from around the world.
Despite the name and its focus on New York, Old Fulton New York Post Cards (Fultonhistory.com) includes newspapers from all around the United States, as well as a handful from Canada and a few other countries. This incredible service is the work of a single person. The tool used here is FultonSearch, which offers some advantages over the search engine available on Fultonhistory.com. The results may not be identical, so you may want to try their search as well.
Chronicling America, from the Library of Congress is one of the largest newspaper collections and is also included in Elephind. It covers the years 1789 to 1963, but there are limited newspapers after 1923. Most newspapers are in English but there are some in German, Spanish, and other languages.
SmallTownPapers does not have a method to search all newspapers at once, you will have to find a specific newspaper to then search within it.
Trove, from the National Library of Australia, is also included in Elephind.
There are many more newspapers archived online, that are only available individually or in smaller collections. See List of online newspaper archives on Wikipedia, and Newspaper links from The Ancestor Hunt.
Many large collections of digitized newspapers are only available for a fee (usually a subscription), or through libraries. ProQuest, Gale, and other tools listed under paid and library databases also include news archives. Check your local library to see which services they subscribe to. See also free news archives above for more on how to search.
NewspaperArchive.com includes newspapers from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany and other counties.
The “Google+FF” tool uses Google to find pages on both NewspaperArchive.com and Newspapers.com. If you search directly on those sites without a subscription, you can’t view the results, but using Google this way allows you to see them somewhat and to view their text.
Ancestry, MyHeritage, and Findmypast are all genealogy sites which include newspaper archives. If you are searching for people, you should do the searching from their sites that are more suited to that purpose.
Ancestry runs Newspapers.com, which includes newspapers from a handful of countries including the United States and United Kingdom. The newspapers on Ancestry.com are not all the same ones, so that search is also included above. See their site for a list of included countries. On Ancestry, you can see the search results without subscribing, but you will not be able to open them.
The newspapers on MyHeritage (not included above) include many from the United States (including those from Chronicling America), Australia, the Netherlands, and some others.
Findmypast includes newspapers from the United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany, and other countries. You can only search one country at a time, which is why it is not included above.
Gale (owned by Cengage) is only available at libraries and is not included above. It includes newspapers from at least the United States and United Kingdom.
PaperOfRecord.com (which is not included above), includes newspapers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, and a number of other countries. Your library may have access or you can pay to subscribe.
The British Newspaper Archive (not included above) includes the same newspapers as Findmypast does for the United Kingdom. Your library may have access or you can pay to subscribe.
NewsBank includes newspapers from the United States, and is only available through libraries They also run NewsLibrary.com, which is news from 2003 and later, where you can get articles by buying a subscription or paying per article. NewsBank is included within the results from the EBSCO service listed under paid and library databases.
Accessible Archives includes United States newspapers from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The “Google+FF” tool uses Google but adds keywords and phrases to help you find databases or other large collections of information.
re3data.org (the name comes from “registry of research data repositories”) lists over 2,000 repositories of academic data from around the world covering a wide range of topics.