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 Meta-Search Engine Comparison 

11Killer Info••••• 1Yes11
11ez2Find•• -Yes8
7QueryServer•••• 1Yes9
7RealTerm•• -Yes6
7Zworks••  - 7
7Search 66•••   6 12
6ZapMeta•• - 6
6Fazzle•• 1 8
6Vivisimo   1Yes5
5iBoogie   -Yes3
5IxQuick  5 12
4SurfWax••   2 7
4Cute Doggy  1 6
3Brainespot••  1 8
0ilectric    6 7

Note: I have used the standard options - some allow you to add extra engines
Topics are also known as clusters or folders, and greatly help to narrow down ambiguous results
Multiple Dots indicate getting results from the same index, via different providers. So Killer Info has three dots for Google, because it fetches results from Google, Yahoo and AOL, all of which use the Google database. This means that the results have a strong Google bias.


GG = Google (includes AOL, Yahoo Web and Netscape)
ATW = AlltheWeb (includes Lycos)
INK = Inktomi (includes MSN, HotBot and BBCi)
AV = AltaVista
TE = Teoma
WI = WiseNut
OD = Open Directory
YH = Yahoo Directory
LS = LookSmart

PPC = Pay-per-click search engines and any non-majors like GigaBlast. These can dilute the quality of the results


For me the ideal meta-search is as follows:

  • No PPC included in the meta-search. Advertising is okay, it just doesn't belong within the results
  • A bias towards Google or AlltheWeb, because their results are superior. This is more obvious when they source them from multiple places
  • Topics. A big help
  • More engines rather than less, so that their is a bigger total coverage.

I started out by giving each engine a 5. Then I adjusted it by doing this:

  • +1 for an extra Google
  • +1 for an extra AlltheWeb
  • -2 for not having Google
  • -2 for not having AlltheWeb
  • -1 for not having Inktomi
  • -1 for having multiple Inktomi
  • +1 for adding each of Teoma, WiseNut, Open Directory, Yahoo Directory, Looksmart
  • -2 for including PPC
  • +2 for using topics


  • I've based my scores on the meta-search engines not giving extra weight to results from the better search engines. None make their algorithms public, so I am stuck with an assumption.


  • I ran a test to see which performed best for in a search for God - a search that Google isn't that good at, due in part to some Google-bombing. See the results.

 Meta-Search Engine Capsule Reviews 

Killer Info
Everything including the kitchen sink, and it works wonderfully. Results are very easy to read, and the ranking from each engine is displayed. They have "Quick Peek", allowing you to see a page without leaving the search results, and results are sorted into topics on the right hand side (the same technology as Vivisimo). Aside from a regular web search, they also have Business, Research, Health, Science, Sports, The Arts, Government & Kids meta-searches. Or you could search by country. Plus it is fast, and advertising or PPC listings are rare. The only faults (how dare I!) are that it lacks options like having more than 10 results per page, and lacks the ability to exclude any of the engines they utilise. Minor quibbles. Use it alongside Google.

Query Server
Query Server has a good selection of engines (no PPC), and the speed is okay but not brilliant. It does however have a major downside - the results are clustered by topic. A few other meta-search engines have a sidebar with topics outlined, and it's nice as an extra. But at Query Server the clustering is the main result, and it just isn't very good. There are too many leftover sites that do not fit into categories, and there are many categories missing, categories that other meta-search engines worked out okay. For example, compare the results for "2012" with those at Killer Info. The two biggest events of that year are the Olympic Games and the End of the World. A better version of the same idea is at Brainespot

Their slogan is "the meta-search that works", and it does. It lacks the fancy extras of the others, but for those who are just after quick, clear, precise results, ZWorks is excellent. It works fast and has a clean interface. The power search is easy to use. A minor quibble is that, while it is searching, it looks like it has just stopped dead, and could do with a little animated GIF or the like, to let you know what it is up to.

SurfWax includes news items in the results - that's pretty cool. The results pages are a bit strange, and are more suited to heavy-duty researching than casual searching. The patent-pending Site-Snaps feature is easily the best of its kind, and provides a great deal of precise data about web pages in the results. Think of Google's results with the keywords in context, and turbo-charge it.

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