A Gift Better than Google

If Santa had told me he’d bring me a search site better than Google.com this year, I’d have told him he’d had too much egg nog. But Web researchers must have been very good this year, because they got a truly special holiday present.


Years ago, one of my favorite search engines was HotBot. Launched in 1996 by Wired Digital, it was fast, comprehensive and provided an amazing array of control with advanced search filters.


Now owned by Lycos, HotBot has relaunched with a revamped search page that –- dare I say it –- may displace Google.com as my default search page.


Of course, no single search engine is better than Google. That would just be silly talk!


HotBot succeeds by piggybacking on Google and several other search engines, bringing users the best of all worlds. HotBot now makes it incredibly fast and easy to search all four of the best search engines on the Web: Google, FAST, Inktomi, and Teoma.


Rather than some metasearch sites, which combine the results from multiple engines and thus produce overwhelming results, HotBot lists the results separately. Set Google as your default and you get the same results you’d get on Google.com. Then all you have to do is click one of the radio buttons at the top and the results list switches to those of FAST, Inktomi or Teoma. And quickly.


It’s a great way to make your searching more efficient. 


The other fantastic part of the new HotBot is the extensive customizable search filters. You can narrow your search by any of 27 languages; limit results to pages published within a certain date range; search for only specific file types, such as images, PDFs and Flash; search only specific regions of the world; sort by domain name; limit your query to words appearing on specific parts of Web pages; and even filter out offensive content.


You can adjust the filters each time you search. And if you find yourself using the same filters repeatedly, you can add your favorite advanced filters to your HotBot home page, so they’re always available. Or you can set permanent filter values on the preferences pages.


You can even change the look and feel of the page, adjusting everything from colors to what appears in each search listing: URL, description, page size, date.


From the deepest search features to the colorful cosmetics, the new HotBot puts you in control. 


HAVE A GIFT FOR ME? What I’d like from you this holiday season is a tip. What websites do you find most useful in your reporting? Send a brief note with your name, affiliation and a description of a favorite site to tips@cyberjournalist.net and I’ll publish them in future columns.


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