If you use the Internet, or even if you don't, you may be familiar with search engines. With billions of pages online, it can be hard to find what you want. Search engines are websites that use various techniques to point you to the right place.
Some are small and specialized. Others are big, like US-based Google or China's Baidu. But they all work a little differently and so the results from any two will likely be different. So you might want to run your search on several search engines. Or you can use our Website of the Week.
NOLZ: "Dogpile combines the best of the best. It brings all the best search engines into one and gives you an opportunity to find those results more efficiently."
Jon Nolz is a spokesman for Dogpile.com, which is what is called a "meta search engine," a search engine that searches other search engines. When you enter a search term in Dogpile, it passes your query on to four other popular sites — Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com, then combines and ranks the results.
NOLZ: "We have found that actually, if you look at individual terms, there is only a 1.1 percent overlap of queries across all four major [search] engines. So if you're searching on one engine there's a good chance you're missing results on the other engines. Why is Dogpile important? Because we bring back the best results from all those engines, giving you a better chance of seeing more of the top results for your query term."
Like many search engines today, it has advanced search capabilities, plus the ability to search for news stories, audio and video. One fun feature I enjoyed was Search Spy, a scrolling anonymous sample of recent search terms that other people have entered. Shortly after I spoke with Jon Nolz I sampled some of those search terms: "Italy demographics," "Kennedy's grave," "Chinese cymbidium varieties," "e-cards," "aliens." There's infinite variety, and watching the list scroll by can be addictive.
NOLZ: "What it does is just basically takes a selection of what people are searching for, and it's very interesting. I mean you can see just a total cross-section of random results, but these are what people are looking for, and it gives you an idea of the variety and the breadth and depth of what Dogpile can bring back."
Dogpile-dot-com is supported in part by mixing in sponsored results, but they are clearly labeled. And you may be glad to know that results can be filtered to eliminate sexually-explicit content. Four searches in one at dogpile.com, or get the link from our site, VOAnews.com/ourworld.