Lost in cyberspace: The best search websites
Searching the web is easy – when you know where to look, says Claudine Beaumont
The internet has revolutionised the way we live our lives. Information, news and comment from around the world are available at the click of a mouse. If you want to find out something, it’s the place to look.
But with billions of pages to trawl through, homing in on exactly what you need can be tricky. According to a new study from AOL, more than half of the British internet users it surveyed admitted to having got “lost” on the web. Our aimless meanderings in cyberspace as we hunt for what we’re after amount to around 15 days per person per year, it says.
More than a third of those surveyed blamed their confusion on the sheer volume of information available. Two thirds of people were bamboozled by the information they did manage to find and were unsure about its accuracy and reliability, going on to search fruitlessly for websites and sources they deemed more trustworthy.
The study found that most people used the internet to find information; about one third used it mainly for shopping, while 11 per cent used it primarily for social networking.
However, some people’s habits haven’t changed since they first started surfing the web. For many, “the internet” begins and ends with Google. While Google is undoubtedly an excellent one-stop shop for finding what you’re looking for, it’s not always the quickest or best, and because it’s a passive experience, it can’t help you with context or reliability.
So here’s our pick of 10 of the best websites that should be bookmarked on everyone’s internet browser. They will help you to search more efficiently and find what you’re looking for more easily. There’s no need to be lost in cyberspace.
Need to find a clip of a song, or an audio file of a famous speech? SkreemR trawls the internet and indexes music clips on publicly accessible sites. SkreemR doesn’t host any music files itself and is careful to suggest where you can buy the tracks or clips legally.
If you’re looking for a good piece of software to improve your computing experience, try Download, part of the Cnet Networks family of technology blogs. Thousands of programs are available, many free or at little cost. Software is in easy-to-search sections, and people are able to rate and review programs. There are also lots of tips about how to optimise your online life.
World Factbook (http://tinyurl.com/2b2kg9)
This CIA-hosted website provides a huge range of statistical information and data on almost every country in the world, along with flags, maps and history.
“Information aggregation” sites such as Summize are nothing new – Metacritic (metacritic.com) already collates reviews of games, films, books and TV shows. But Summize also allows you to search for reviews of gadgets and a multitude of other things.
Don’t have time to read glossy mags for all the latest gossip, views and opinions about the best places to stay, eat and be seen? Fabsearch pulls all the best bits from magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Tatler, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Wallpaper*, and then divides it by city.
Lyrics Freak (www.lyricsfreak.com)
Until the music industry can come up with a fully licensed, artist-approved database of song lyrics, sites such as Lyrics Freak will fill the void, with its database of songs from thousands of bands and solo artists.
Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com)
Trip Advisor remains the undisputed king of holiday and travel review sites. Never book a hotel before checking this site first; users can leave honest, impartial reviews and participate in lively forum discussions to suggest the best things to see and do in various cities across the globe and offer tips and advice.
This website allows you to ask any question and it will trawl the web for the answer. It will even suggest related questions you might like to know the answers to, and provides hyperlinks to all the sources from which it got its answers. Yahoo! Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com) is another great site.
Turbo Scout (www.turboscout.com)
Use Turbo Scout to search a host of leading search engines simultaneously for a single query. Click on the links to see the results returned by each one.
Librarian’s Internet Index (www.lii.org)
Sometimes, it’s not just a case of struggling to find the right information online, but information you can trust. While sites such as Wikipedia divide opinions as to their accuracy and reliability, this US site, run by librarians, provides a database of what they consider to be reliable, unbiased sources of information on the web. Very helpful for topics such as health and wellbeing, or objective information on key historical figures.
From : Telegraph Newspaper