Google this, Google that, Google something else. But there’s a lot more to the web than Google, and in fact Google only shows you a tiny bit of what’s going on. You’ve heard of the “deep web” or “dark web” – the part not normally indexed by Google, and maybe even not by Yahoo, MSN, or Ask. Well, here’s a little list presenting a few “rabbit holes” into that vast, uncharted territory!
Dogpile – In the first place, you can check the Big Four (Google, MSN, Yahoo, Ask) search engines all at once with Dogpile. Since other search engines use the indexes from one of these four, chances are if you cannot find it here and you are sure it exists, it is “dark” to the web.
Clusty – Clusty is a more comprehensive search, finding those deep, dark crevasses that other search engines pass over. I’d nominate Clusty for “the dark-web Google” Of course, the more inclusive you make a search engine, the more spam sites it will pick up, so you might have to wade through a lot of garbage.
USA Library of Congress – Good for finding research materials for scholarly interests.
Nelson Search – If you’re looking for a journalistic piece, you can’t beat the self-proclaimed search engine for journalists. If there was a news story on it, it’s here.
Intute – Well, if the bots don’t do a good enough job of weeding out the spam sites, how about giving the humans a go? Intute is the only search engine which uses only web pages quality-checked by human researchers – guaranteeing that you’ll never get a spam hit!
AltaVista – What better way to search the dark web than use a dark search engine? AltaVista died in popularity when Google came out, but it’s still kicking, and it returns hits similar to Clusty.
Wayback Machine – Maybe the page you’re looking for no longer exists? that’s OK, the Wayback Machine should have an index of it. The only snag here is, you have to give it an exact URL. Once you have that URL, you can find the entire history for the domain – sometimes through several owners!
Bloglines – A search engine just for finding blogs. Anything that’s a blog is here, and these days the web is mostly blogs anyway!
Note that the whole thing behind the dark web is that it is mostly made of sites that are one of (a) spam sites rejected for quality (b) personal home pages, bulletin board archives, and other stuff not generally of interest to the public (c) academia, which lives in its own world (d) government, which lives in its own world (e) criminal and underground sites that aren’t in too great a hurry to be found!
- Search Engines – a look under the hood
- Search Engine Study – part 3: The Great Search Engine Era
- It’s Traffic Day (Or: Digg is Over-Rated)
- Search Engine Study – part 1: Search Engines Defined
- Google and the Concept of a Landing Page