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Resources for real estate analysts and valuers: internet search engines.


This is a column about resources for appraisers and real estate market analysts--books, articles in a variety of publications, presentations, data, and websites. It's about all manner of information for appraisers. This edition of Resource Center discusses the ins and outs of Internet search engines.


The Internet, accessed through the World Wide Web, is an incredible, unfathomable treasure chest of information--data, facts and figures, statistics, articles, graphs, images, videos--with over 500 million live websites. (1) Internet research is an essential tool for real estate valuers, consultants, and analysts who have a voracious appetite for data, facts, articles, and information. This column focuses on search engines and how to make choices about which ones to use to mine for useful information. Search technique suggestions will be the subject of a future column.

Technically, the Internet is the massive interconnection of computer networks around the world; the World Wide Web (www) is the name for accessing the Internet using hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). (2) According to Webopedia:

   Search engines are programs that search documents [on
   the Internet] for specified keywords and return a list of
   the documents where the keywords were found. A search
   engine is really a general class of programs (specifically
   information retrieval programs); however, the term is
   often used to specifically describe systems like Google,
   Bing and Yahoo! Search that enable users to search for,
   and retrieve, documents on the World Wide Web. (3)

A search engine is one of the main research tools you depend on to find information available on the web. Without search engines, it would be impossible to find anything on the web unless you had a specific URL (universal resource locator) address. This column will discuss the search engines available and their differentiating features.

Your computer probably has a major browser installed on it, such as Chrome, Foxfire, and Internet Explorer (or its successor). The major browsers all have a default search engine (SE), which enables a search to start when key words are entered into the browser's URL address line or box. (4) After reading about the different features of SEs in this column, you may want to change the default search engine on your computer or add shortcuts to additional SEs.

Reports on search engine market share and popularity rankings show some differences, but the top five or six SEs are fairly similar, as shown in Table 1. (5) Of course, popularity isn't necessarily an indicator of which SE is right for you in a particular research effort. Later in this article we'll discuss why sometimes it's best to use a webcrawler SE, a specialized SE, an academic SE, or a search portal.

A search portal is not the same as a search engine. Search portals are websites designed for the user to search the site's internal database(s). Examples of using a search portal include searching for homes on a multiple listing service website, or searching commercial listings on www.Loopnet. com, or using to search for articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, or searching the Appraisal Institute's Lum Library.

A Word about SEs in General

Just how search engines work is both fascinating and amazing, but a full explanation is beyond our limited space here. Typically an SE's automated software sends a spider that probes the Internet to retrieve as much information as possible. Google, for example, reportedly searches 30 trillion web pages 100 billion times a month. (6)

An indexer program then reads and generates an index based on the words in each item retrieved. A proprietary algorithm is used by each SE to create its index system so the most-applicable results can be returned for a search request or query. When you enter a search request, die SE looks through its index and retrieves previously gathered information. SEs use different algorithms to index material and to search their indices, which explains why your search request on one SE will provide different results than on another SE. (7)

Many web pages (and their content) are excluded from search engines results by website owners or by SE policy. For example, the contents of password protected databases on the web, such as library catalogs and article databases, are excluded because search engine spiders cannot access them. All this material is referred to as the "Invisible Web"--information that you don't see in search engine results. (8)

To learn more about just how SEs accomplish their nearly instant magic results, take a look at some articles on the subject listed in the Additional Reading section at the end of this column.

Those Annoying Ads

Most SEs are supported by advertising, with others asking for voluntary donations or providing premium services for a charge. Not only the ad content, but the amount of advertising that shows up in your search results may be related to what you are searching, i.e. what key words you are using. You can limit the ads you see by changing settings within the search engines--see the SE's "Privacy," "About," and/or "Advanced Search" section.

Search Engine Bias

Search engines are usually programmed to rank websites according to a combination of popularity and relevancy. However, empirical studies indicate various political, economic, and social biases in the results of many popular SEs, which can be a result of economic and commercial processes. (9)

Biases can also be a result of social processes, as search engine algorithms are frequently designed to exclude non-normative viewpoints in favor of more popular results. In addition, the indexing algorithms of major search engines skew towards coverage of US-based websites. (10)

Customized Results and Filter Bubbles

Many search engines, such as Google and Bing, provide customized results based on your previous Internet activity. This creates what has been called a "filter bubble" where websites selectively guess what information you would like to see based on your location and past click behavior and searches. This means your search results tend to show only information that is in agreement with the previous sources and viewpoints, effectively filtering out other or opposing information. The bubble effect may affect your research data, analysis, and conclusions. (11) Since this problem has been identified, competing search engines have emerged that seek to avoid this problem by not tracking or "bubbling" users.

Now that we've discussed some of the mechanics of research using SEs, let's look at the characteristics of some well-known and some not so well-known SEs. You then can judge which SEs are best for you. Be sure to also look at the appendices for additional information.

Commonly Used Non-Privacy Search Engines

Google (

Google search is the best-known and most widely used SE of all. It has an estimated 1.1 billion unique visitors each month. (12) You are probably already using the Google search engine. It has vast coverage, and users have access to advanced search tools. (13) But, your IP address, search history, and other data is collected, so there is a lack of privacy. Nevertheless, Google's search tools and results are impressive.

To get optimum results and decide on your user settings, take a look at Google's "Search Help" guide with insights on how the Google search engine works and tips. (14) The keyword search box is actually called the "Google Omnibox" because of its many uses (see Appendix A, which discusses "Special Functions and Operations in Some Search Engines.")

To check out some of the tools available to you, take a look at the choices at the top of a "Search Results" page. To narrow and focus your search results further, select any of the items listed at the top or click "More" to reveal additional options; your options include web, news, books, shopping, videos; images maps, flights, and apps. Also, be sure to click on "Search Tools" to focus your particular search results by time or place. You also can change your default search settings, look at search history, "Advanced Search," and access the "Help" feature. Search settings are also available at the lower right of the initial Google search screen. Using the "Advanced Search" feature will help you narrow and focus your search to produce more useful results.

Google has two related search engines for specialized uses that you also may find useful: Google InsideSearch and Google Scholar.

Google InsideSearch ( This Google product is designed for iOS and Android mobile devices, and you may already have an app for this on your smartphone or tablet. Search entry may be by text or voice. Check out the "Features" section to personalize your user preferences.

Google Scholar ( Google Scholar is the search engine for searching scholarly literature and exploring related works, citations, and publications. You can use the "My Library" and "My Citations" features as well as "Alerts" directed to your email. Searches may be for articles or case law; the case law search may be for federal, state, or specified courts. Settings include a bibliography manager, your own library links, and your account data. This one is worth a try to see what's there you may want to use. (15)

Yahoo (

Yahoo has an estimated 300 million unique visitors each month, (16) and Yahoo's user numbers are increasing according to In 2014, Yahoo's US market share jumped from 7.4 percent to 10.4 percent, according to the analytics firm StatCounter. In part, this may be because Yahoo became the default search engine in the Firefox web browser in November 2014, replacing Google.

Your search can begin at, which is Yahoo's multifaceted portal or gateway. Here the Yahoo search entry box is at the top of the homepage. However, the homepage covers a lot of ground, displaying news stories, weather, sports scores, and ads. Numerous portal choices for searches are shown on the homepage as well, including Yahoo mail, news, finance, weather, shopping, health, politics, travel, tech, answers, groups, messenger, search, and small business.

A cleaner alternative is .com, which takes you directly to a straightforward, uncluttered search page with the search entry box front and center. (You still have the option of using one of the Yahoo portal sites shown in a small strip across the top of the page.)

Yahoo search has great suggestions for searching; go to and take a look at

* "Get Started," particularly "Get More From Yahoo Search" and "Filter Yahoo Search Results"; and

* "Features," particularly "Yahoo Search Preferences," "Shortcuts in Yahoo Search," and "Advanced Search."

Yahoo Answers ( Yahoo has developed a related search engine called Yahoo Answers with specialized uses that you also may find useful. This is a question-based SE, where the user simply enters a question in the search box. This works better for some inquiries than others, and your results will depend on whether you choose the "Search Web" or "Search Answers" option. The site has some interesting features. Try it--do some clicking and experiment.

Bing (

Bing (previously known variously as Live Search, MSN Search, and Windows Live Search) is billed as a "decision engine" by Microsoft. It is real competition for Google and Yahoo in terms of usage. Its opening homepage is more interesting than many other SEs, with a background photo (often interactive), and current events/news and weather items displayed in a bottom bar across the screen. The search and item choices on this rather plain but comprehensive opening page include web, images, videos, maps, news, your search history, [MS]Office Online and email; under "More" there are travel, weather, and translator options.

Bing uses a keyword-type search request, but it also does a good job with entries in question form. Bing, like Google, can do computations and other operations right from the search box. (See Appendix A, "Special functions and Operations in Some Search Engines.") Depending on the topic search, your search results may include ads. Bing provides result in a number of formats including text, title, URL address, and often maps and photos.


The AOL search engine is a standard, nonprivate, search engine funded by advertising. It has an opt-out for some advertising, and some choices for collection and use of search input/output. (17) This SE has good preferences options. Advanced search choices are similar to other standard SEs (Figure 1). Search results are presented with sponsored-related results first and on the right side of the page.

Ask ( is a question-based search engine that searches based on key words of the question you type into the search box. was originally named "Ask Jeeves." The site has one of the best "Help" pages of all SEs, although the "Help" option appears at the bottom of the page. Ads related to the query topic will be shown at the top of the results page. For more search options, choose "Advanced Search" at the top right of the homepage. In addition, to the right of the search results you'll find expanded coverage of the topic, which can include news reports, "Popular Q&A," and information from "Ask Experts."

You'll find interesting parts of this SE by visiting, which includes the "Questions and Answers" section that answers "how do" and "what is" questions, and a section called "theKnow" that includes history, health, science, and pop culture information. Explore these sections and you'll learn a lot.

Wow (

Wow is owned by AOL Inc., however user preferences are more limited and searches are "enhanced by Google." The search results are in a format similar to Google's (topic, URL, sampling from the website), with ads in the top five positions on the page. Depending on the search topic, the top right side of the page (and repeated at the bottom) shows related searches that you may find useful; this section may give you ideas for improving the focus of your search. The privacy policy is clearly stated, but user preferences are rather limited.

MillionShort (

The MillionShort search engine removes the first specified number of results and gives you the remaining outcomes. You specify the number of results to skip. In other words, this SE can skim off the top 100, 1,000, or 100,000 results or whatever number you specify. The idea is to eliminate the common results and those that are pushed to you. So when you use MillionShort you normally don't see articles or search engine optimizers sites using tricks and gimmicks to get to the top of SE result lists or content farms (e.g., eHow). You get new or different websites beyond those in normal SE searches.

Search Engines with User Privacy and without Filter Bubbles

Using any search engine, it's a good idea to check the settings, privacy policy, "about" information, search tutorials, and advanced search advice. Here are some search engines that offer more privacy options than the typical search engine.

DuckDuckGo (

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoids using personalized search results filters. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a given search. DuckDuckGo has a similar look and presentation as Google. It is a metasearch engine or metacrawler, which means it searches using several search engines for more complete coverage, which is discussed later in this article. DDG is also available as a smartphone or tablet app.

You will find the DuckDuckGo settings, material about the SE, and a menu tucked away neatly in the upper right corner behind an icon of three stacked horizontal lines ([??], similar to the Chrome browser). Clicking on "Advanced Options" lets you specify your preferences regarding the following:

Desired region (geographic search area)

Safe search (on/off)

Instant answers

Auto-load (loads more results when scrolling)

Auto-suggest (words in search box as you type)

New window (for search results), advertisements

keyboard shortcuts (standard ones on/off)

Units of measure preferred

Page break numbers

Page break lines

DuckDuckGo emphasizes that it gets material from the best sources rather than the most sources, generating its search results from key crowdsourced sites such as Wikipedia and from its partnerships with other search engines including Yahoo!, Bing, and others. (18) To get the most out of this search engine, take advantage of the video tutorial at https://duckduckgo .com/tour, or click the menu icon at the upper right corner and select "Tour."

Ixquick (

Another search engine that emphasizes privacy is Ixquick. This SE calls itself "the world's most private search engine." It does not collect or share personal information and has several capabilities, including advanced search, a global search, and power refinement. It does not store your IP address, use cookies, or record your searches. Ixquick uses SSL encryption so hackers and government sources cannot eavesdrop, and it does not use a filter bubble to prescreen results provided to you. Ixquick is a Dutch company, not under US government user data collection programs.

Ixquick is also a metasearch or webcrawler search engine. The advanced search includes using Boolean logic, phrases, field searches, and wild cards. There are flexibility and screening options that can be used by making adjustments to "Advanced Search," similar to several other SEs (Figure 2).

As with most of the search engines discussed in this column, Ixquick's settings allow you to specify some of your personal preferences. In this case, you can specify language, theme appearance, search mode, font size, results per page, results date ranges. It has options for opening a new page for the search results and keeping your search terms out of webmasters' logs of the site results you click on.

Startpage (

This privacy search engine is enhanced by the Google but does not collect the personal, computer, or search information that Google or other search engines do. StartPage has basically the same privacy as Ixquick but with the Google connection. It uses a URL generator to eliminate the need for cookies, and supports HTTPS, which you can activate by simply adding an 's' to the "http" in the StartPage URL address. As with most search engines, it also has a number of optional settings.

Metacrawlers and Webcrawlers

A metasearch engine is one that uses one or more other search engines to find search results in the process of constructing and delivering its own results for the user. (19) Individual search engines will give you different search results but metasearch engines cover the gaps in search results by checking multiple search engines. Metasearch engines are also called metacrawlers or webcrawlers. Popular metasearch engines with privacy features include DuckDuckGo and Ixquick as previously discussed. Here are some other metacrawlers--none of these are in the privacy category.

InfoSpace (

Among non-privacy metacrawlers, InfoSpace is the major metasearch provider. InfoSpace states that its relationships with Google and Yahoo allow its metasearch engines to provide greater keyword coverage. InfoSpace operates a number of metasearch engine brands, including Dogpile and Webcrawler.

Dogpile ( Dogpile uses metasearch technology and "returns all the best results from leading search engines including Google and Yahoo"; it returns results after eliminating duplicates. (The name came from the use of the term to described when a group of people piles on top of a single person-either literally or figuratively.)

Webcrawler ( Webcrawler also takes results from other search engines (Yahoo; Google), filters out duplicates, and gives you the results. Here again, the idea is to cover more of the web and get more results by using multiple SEs. By clicking "Refine" after obtaining search results, you can search within the findings. The "Preferences" section allows you to adjust settings to your liking. For example you can turn off the "Recent searches" feature. (

The metasearch engine is set up for either web search or article search (which uses The site is owned by CBS Interactive. It is not a privacy SE, so check out its privacy discussions by clicking on "CBS Interactive," "Privacy Policy," and "Ad Choice." Your search outcomes will place ads at the top, bottom, and to the right of the search results, the extent varying by search words and topics.

Alhea (

Alhea is a metasearch crawler that uses many of the web's major search engines. It is designed to identify the user's intent and provide results in an order related to that intent. Alhea's "About Us" section states,

   If you are searching ... the term "digital camera prices,"
   you will generally receive more sponsored results and
   commercial Web pages containing information on the
   prices at which businesses are offering cameras as
   well as organic results. If, on the other hand, you are
   searching for academic or general research purposes
   and enter the term "digital camera technology,"
   the results will be weighted more toward articles,
   information and other noncommercial results about
   the technology behind digital cameras.

The results show "Recent Searches" you have done, so you can go back to them or avoid repetition. According to the website, Alhea uses cookies and collects anonymous data with each visit to "improve the overall quality of your online experience," and will collect your IP address, referral data, and browser and platform type. Personal information and email address is not required but is sometimes collected, including name, email address, shipping address, and zip code, and demographic information. This is common for most non-privacy search engine sites.

Yippy (

Yippy is a privacy-oriented metasearch crawler with several search products. The menu on the main page shows apps for news, weather, reference desk, stocks; and more. It censors sites deemed inappropriate.

Yippy is unique because rather than delivering millions of search results in one long list, results are presented in groups or categories of similar results put in "clouds." These groups or clouds help you get to what you want easier and quicker. You may also see unexpected, but helpful, relationships between items. Few users of search engines scroll through many pages of results, so these clouds help you find results you may have missed or that were buried deep in the ranked list.

WolframAlpha (

Wolfram offers two information retrieval sites: WolframAlpha and WolframAlphaPro. Wolfram states that it is not a search engine but rather a "computational knowledge engine" that does "dynamic computations based on its collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods." Wolfram uses data from sources such as the CIA World Factbook, DowJones, US Geological Survey, and FA A.

Since this site is such an atypical sort of search engine, a necessary first step is to become acquainted with it by visiting the "Examples" section; just click below the entry box. Real estate analysts may be especially interested in the "Statistics and Data Analysis" section examples. Clicking on "Random" below the entry box will give you some other types of examples of entry, and clicking on the equal sign will give you the results or outcomes.

This engine is particularly out of the ordinary when it comes to making calculations and the way different types of information may be entered; for example, with the Pro version the user can go beyond text input and upload images, files, tables, or symbols. For most types of calculations, the results show step-by-step solutions, graphics, dynamic interactivity, and more--even for very complex calculations.

The main page, with the entry box, has choices for an extended keyboard with a number of symbols that may be used to input information entry. The subdued background on the homepage has a variety of symbols, pictures, and icons--try clicking on one. After clicking on an icon, select the equal sign and watch the residts.

As you'll see in the examples, this website handles calculations to a greater extent than most other sites. Conversions, arithmetic, trigonometry, calculus, linear algebra, algebra, and statistics solutions (calculating probabilities and odds, expected values with probability distributions) are all available at the user's fingertips--plus finance and data analysis. Also of interest: words and linguistics, earth sciences, transportation, units and measures, money, socioeconomic information, dates and times, computer and web systems, technology--the list goes on and on.

WolframAlpha also has a number of reference apps (most for Apple's iOS, but not all). (20) These apps include "Time-Value Computations," "US Economic Indicators," "Investment Calculator," "Mortgage Calculator," and others. WolframAlpha is free but the optional AlphaPro version billed annually or monthly. The AlphaPro version provides added options including different query formats and the download and manipulation of data in a variety of formats.

Take a look at the Wolfram site. Experiment. Look at the AlphaPro examples. Click on the tabs at the bottom of the search homepage, and the various selections at the top of a results page. (21) And if you have elementary school through college students at home, become familiar with this site and introduce them to it.


The search engines covered in this article certainly are not all the search engines available. We've discussed just the most popular and some that are not so well known but very useful. See the Appendix B for a comparison of these search engines' features and Appendix C for names of some additional search engines.

Which search engine to use depends on your personal preferences and needs. You also may investigate search portals, which are websites designed for searching their own internal database(s); these will be the subject of another column. If you have any favorites you would like to share, let me know. I am sure you have a variety of SEs and information portals in your browser favorites beyond those mentioned in this column.

Dan Swango, PhD, MAI, SRA, is president of Swango Real Estate Counseling and Valuation International in Tucson, Arizona. He is experienced In valuation and consulting Involving equity Investment, debt security, risk reduction, profit optimization, estate planning and settlement, buy/sell opportunities, and eminent domain. Swango is an instructor and communicator with domestic and International experience. He is namesake of The Appraisal Journal's Swango Award, past Editorial Board chair and editor-in-chief of The Appraisal Journal, and a current member of the Journal's Review Panel.


Additional Reading

The following resources provide additional information about how search engines work.

Enge, Eric. "Search Engine Basic Concepts" (June 16, 2014).

Franklin, Curt. "How Internet Search Engines Work."

Google Search Infographie, /insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchlnfographic.pdf

Harry, David. "How Search Engines Rank Web Pages" (September 23, 2013).

Negi, Sanjay Kumar. "The Science of Search: How Search Engines Work" (February 5, 2017).

Appendix A

Special Functions and Operations in Some Search Engines

Some search engines, such as Google and Bing, have the capability of performing direct operations. Without doing a search, you can use the search entry box for specialized functions that don't require you to go to a third-party website. Some of these special search engine functions are described below


Most search boxes of SEs can do mathematical calculations--just enter an equal sign followed by a calculation indication. For example, in the search box type = (5*36) / (43560/15), then Enter; the Results list will show the answer to the calculation: 0.06198347. The calculator in the search bar includes the ability to use advanced math such as trig functions, logs, units of measures in conversions. Google offers a guide explaining the arithmetic operators (e.g., +, -, /, *, % of) at, and a calculator cheat sheet, /calculator.html.


Search boxes of SEs also can convert currency or various units of measure. For example in the search box type convert: $5.75 to, followed by your choice of currency. Similarly, you can enter convert: 45 acres to square meters and the answer will be displayed in the Results, 182,109 square meters.


Enter weather: cityname in the search box. For example: weather: Chicago and read all about it.


If you want to know the translation of a word, type "translate to" and the desired language followed by a colon and the word or phrase. For example, type translate to English: esperanza and read hope. Type translate to Spanish: Several large offices had covered parking and read Varios oficinas grandes habian aparcamento cubierto.


You can enter a flight number including airline code in the search box--for example, enter FLIGHT AA355--and see the departure and arrival times, airport code, terminal and gate information, and relative location if aircraft is in the air.


Want to know the time in a different time zone? In the search box just enter: time: cityname .For example, enter: time: Mandalay and read the current time there.

Stock quotes

For stock information, simply enter the market symbol of the stock, mutual fund, or ETF, in the search box followed by a colon; for example, GM:


Many search engines will provide word definitions when you enter define: followed by a word in the search box; for example, enter define: raze. Try this using several search engines to see which you like the best.

Commerce and Package Tracking

If you enter a package shipping number in the search box, for example USPS 1234 5678 , the Results will link you directly to the shipper's specific record for that package.

Appendix B Summary Comparison of Search Engines

                            Cookies, Filter
Search Engine     Privacy       Bubble        Metasearch

Alhea               No            Yes            Yes

AOL                 No            Yes             No

Ask                 No            Yes             No

Bing                No            Yes             No

Dogpile             Yes           Yes            Yes

DuckDuckGo          Yes           No             Yes

Google              No            Yes             No

Google Scholar      No            Yes             No

Ixquick             Yes           No             Yes

MlllionShort        No            Yes             No          No            Yes            Yes

Startpage           Yes           No              No

Webcrawler          No            Yes            Yes

WolframAlpha        No            No             Yes

Wow                 No            Yes             No

Yahoo               No            Yes             No

YahooAnswers        No            Yes             No

Yippy               Yes      Very limited        Yes

                                                 Entry Page
                                                Ease of Use,
                    Personal     Advanced   Clutter l=clean/easy
Search Engine       Settings      Search         3=cluttered

Alhea                 Yes,       Yes (6)              1
                  limited (5)

AOL               Yes, limited   Yes (7),

Ask                    No          Yes        2-best to pose a

Bing                  Yes        Yes (4)     1-personal interest
                                            options in "Settings"

Dogpile               Yes        Yes (6)              1

DuckDuckGo            Yes        Yes (6)              1

Google                Yes          Yes         1-shows recent
                                                 pages used

Google Scholar        Yes          Yes                1

Ixquick               Yes          Yes                1

MlllionShort           No        Yes (8)              2             No        Yes-see              1

Startpage             Yes          Yes                1

Webcrawler            Yes        Yes (6)              2

WolframAlpha           No          Yes                1

Wow               Yes, limited   Yes (6)              2

Yahoo               Yes (1)      Yes (2);

YahooAnswers        Yes (1)      Yes (3)       3-input awkward

Yippy             Yes, limited   Yes (6)              1

                                       Alternative       Search Box
                                        or Related        Performs
                  Ads l=minimal;          Search            Other
Search Engine       3=extensive        Suggestions        Functions

Alhea              2-depends on            Yes             Limited
                  topic searched

AOL                2-depends on            Yes               Yes
                  topic searched

Ask                  2-depends         No, but has         Limited
                   search; words    "helpful resource"
                  buy or purchase      suggestions
                     bring ads

Bing               2-depends on       Yes (optional)         Yes
                  topic searched

Dogpile                  2                  No             Limited

DuckDuckGo         2-depends on            Yes             Limited
                  topic searched

Google             2-depends on            Yes              Yes-
                  topic searched                         outstanding

Google Scholar          No                  No               No

Ixquick            l-depends on            Yes             Limited
                  topic searched

MlllionShort             2                 Yes               No               2                 Yes             Limited

Startpage          l-depends on            Yes             Limited
                  topic searched

Webcrawler               2            Limited; shows       Limited
                                     recent searches

WolframAlpha            No              Depends on           Yes
                                       service used

Wow                      2                 Yes             Limited

Yahoo              2-depends on            Yes             Limited
                  topic searched

YahooAnswers             2                  No             Minimal

Yippy                   No             Yes; called           No


                  Very         a
Search Engine     good   OK   Look   Comments

Alhea                    X     X

AOL                X

Ask                      X     X     Ask questions.

Bing               X           X     Search operators similar
                                     to Google for refinement.

Dogpile            X                 Metasearches Google, Yahoo!
                                     and Yandex (Russian).

DuckDuckGo         X                 Looks a lot like Google
                                     but has disambiguation
                                     prompts for clarification.
                                     Clean look.
Google             X           X

Google Scholar     X           X     One of the best for
                                     academic and professional
                                     research, articles, and

Ixquick            X                 Does not store your IP
                                     address, use cookies, or
                                     record your searches.

MlllionShort                   X     Optional full search or
                                     option to eliminate
                                     specified number of
                                     results.               X

Startpage                X

Webcrawler         X     X           Searches Google, Yahoo,

WolframAlpha                   X     Not a conventional SE.
                                     Has many resources and
                                     tools, and an optional Pro

Wow                X     X     X     An AOL entity using
                                     Google search

Yahoo              X

YahooAnswers             X     X     Better for general
                                     curiosity and homework
                                     than serious research
                                     in most cases.

Yippy              X           X     Metasearch includes Ask,
                                     Open Directory, Gigablast,
                                     and others. Associated with
                                     Carnegie Mellon University.

Note: Information is subject to relatively frequent change.
Sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

(1.) See
-preferences-sln2250.html or

(2.) See

(3.) Go to Yahoo "My Account" page, click on "Preferences"

(4.) Similar to Google's. For a good explanations of
Bing advanced search capability, go to

(5.) For personal preference settings see:

(6.) Yes, limited manual with operators used in your entries

(7.) See:

Appendix C

Additional Search Engines

Academic Search Engines

If you are looking for scholarly articles, presentations, or research, you may want to use one of the below academic search engines. Of course, search portals are also available at various general, college, and university libraries as well as the Appraisal Institute's Lum Library.






* http ://


* /Academic.html


Internet Archive (

Internet Archive is a longtime favorite search engine that allows users to travel back in time to check what was on a web page in the past. This SE is sometimes useful to check for page deletions or change when you're using a URL that has become out of date.

Iseek (

Iseek allows anonymous searching; it may use cookies to help customize the search but not for

tracking (according to the privacy statement). The search results are grouped by appearance in general categories, which many people find very helpful.

Mahalo (

The Mahalo search site has a lot of "how to" information. This search engine emphasizes that it is "a human-powered search site" with human editors to review content. The concept is that because the SE uses editors the user will see fewer results, but the results will be of higher quality.

Mahalo uses typical web searching and also an "ask a question" search request format. Depending on which of the two search boxes you use at Mahalo, you will either get direct content topic hits or suggested answers to your question.

Mazoom (

Is designed for mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets. Mazoom is based in the UR; it's a small startup, but could be the start of something significant.

Webopedia (

Webopedia is an encyclopedic search and resource dedicated to computer and technology subjects involving hardware, software, operating systems, and the like. With tech news and articles, it's definitely worth exploring and a good resource when tech questions come up in your life.


(2.) and On some sites you will see "HTTPS"; the "S" indicates a more secure site.

(3.) http://www.webopedia.eom/TERM/S/search_engine.html.

(4.) Internet Explorer defaults to the search engine Bing; Chrome defaults to Google; and Foxfire automatically takes you to Yahoo!; but you're not lim ited--simply change the default SE in the browser's settings or just enter a different SE in the URL address line.

(5.) For example, in April 2015 ranked Google first, then, in order, Bing, Yahoo! Search, Ask, A0L Search, Wow, Webcrawler, Mywebsearch, InfoSpace,, and DuckDuckGo. The numbers vary depending on data collection methods, whether desktop or mobile devices or both are Included in the data, and whether the data looks at US, North America, or global market share.

(6.) VentureBeat,



(9.) For example, companies that advertise with a search engine can become more popular in its search results. Some results may be removed to comply with laws; for example, Google search results will not show certain Neo-Nazi websites In France and Germany, where Flolocaust denial is illegal. "Google Bombing" is one term used to describe manipulation of search results for political, social, or commercial reasons.

(10.) For information on search engine see

(11.) Ell Pariser, who coined the term filter bubble, related an example in which one user searched Google for "BP" and got Investment news while another searcher got Information about an oil spill--strikingly different results. See Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You (New York: Penguin Press, May 2011).

(12.) "Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines," April 2015,

(13.) Google has been the subject of some criticism, usually arising from (1) privacy concerns and Its collection of computer IP and personal data; (2) the use of Information about users found In one service showing up and applied In others; and (3) the filtering bubble and search bias, which are not evident to the user. See Claire Cain Miller, "Google Introduces New Search Tools to Try to Read Our Minds," NY Times at


(15.) Google Scholar search tips and suggestions are available at

(16.) "Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines," April 2015,

(17.) See

(18.) Jon Buys, "DuckDuckGo: A New Search Engine Built from Open Source" (July 10, 2010) GigaOM OStatic blog, retrieved March 19, 2013. For additional information see

(19.) For a more on metasearch engines, see and http://www.webopedla.eom/TERM/M /meta search_engine.html.

(20.) See

(21.) Check out resources at, and products and services at

Table 1 Search Engine Market Share *

1. Google            62%    1. Google     88%
2. Baidu (China)     20%    2. Yahoo       4%
3. Bing               8%    3. Bing      4.5%
4. Yahoo              8%    4. Baidu    0.61%
5. AOL             0.64%
6. Ask             0.22%
([double dagger])

1. Google            69%
2. Yahoo              7%
3. Bing               6%

* Global data, March 2015,

([dagger]) Worldwide data, January 2015,

([double dagger]) Data for May 2014,
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Title Annotation:RESOURCE CENTER
Author:Swango, Dan L.
Publication:Appraisal Journal
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2015
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