Webb on the Web: 5 Alternative Search Engines

byAmy Webb
Jul 9, 2010 in Digital Journalism

Sure, you can use Google or Yahoo or even Bing to search for content. But there are a new crop of alternative search engines that journalists should also consider when looking for information. Below are five for you to try.

Find information on storms

The next time you need to track down information on a weather event, take a look at the National Climatic Data Center's Storm Events database. It may not be pretty, but this database provides comprehensive information on all storms dating back to 1996. You can also (This service currently works only for the U.S.)

Search for audio and video clips

Blinkx is a search engine that lets you troll through audio and video clips using either keywords or phrases. For example, if you were trying to find the full video of a speech made by Mexican President where he mentioned health care, you could type in "health care" and "Vicente Fox" and get to the broadcast. Blinkx doesn't always work perfectly, but it's a great way to help supplement your search for audio/ video content.

Maps at your fingertips

Looking for satellite maps of Haiti from before and after the recent earthquake? Perhaps you need to drill down and find a political map of Indonesia? Look no further than National Geographic's Map Machine. On this page, you'll also find bike and trail maps and a host of interactive world maps to explore.

Learn about things you saw in a movie

Have you watched the Iron Man 2 trailer and wondered what glasses are being worn by Tony Stark? Click over to the "Things You Saw in a Movie" website, which lets you search through a number of movies to learn more about the things you saw. (Those glasses were made by Initium, by the way.)

Identify unknown medications

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has recently launched a new search tool that helps you identify pills on site. It's called Pillbox. Just enter the size, shape, color and any imprints or other marks and Pillbox will help you identify what the likely medication is. (Note: Pillbox shouldn't be used for clinical purposes - don't use this site as a substitute for asking your pharmacist or doctor.)

Amy Webb is a digital media consultant and the CEO of Webbmedia Group, LLC. She has also launched Knowledgewebb, a new website for multimedia training. You can follow Amy on Twitter. Webbmedia Group is a vendor-neutral company. Any opinions expressed about products or services are formed after testing, research and interviews. Neither Amy Webb nor Webbmedia Group or its employees receives any financial or other benefits from vendors.