Friday, February 14, 2014

Blog Post #2

Search Engines

Search Engines are tools used to find information on the web. They can be used in various capacities, some serving the same purpose and others uniquely situated to provide results for information based on a criterion you select. I have used many search engines and described below are some search engines that I use or have used quite extensively.

We will begin with WolframAlpha. Now this search engine provides facts for several subjects but I have used it specifically for math. You type in your question and it tells you the answer. It even shows you how to solve some of the problems. What I like about it is that it does provide the answers and show you how to solve some problems. It is a very useful tool. What I have a problem with, which I shouldn’t, is that it shows one way to complete something and that is it. Also, it doesn’t explain to you in words what was done. It basically shows the steps but why you use perform each step can sometimes be a mystery if you don’t know what you are doing. You really need to know what you are doing and just use this search engine as a checker.

5 bedroom 4 bathroom house found on Trulia
Next we will move on to a certain engine that I believe is one of the most useful in the world. This is Trulia, but Zillow, and also do the same thing. This search engine allows for you to find homes to buy or rent. I haven’t searched specifically for this, but I do believe it also allows for people to find buildings for businesses as well. The key is to know what you are looking for. It doesn’t matter where you want to go, it only matters what you want. Let’s say you want a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2500 sq. foot house. You put in the search criteria and it brings back all of the results based on the geographic location that you selected. You can search by city, zip, and narrow your search with radii settings. Now, what’s weird to me is not every home is listed on every site. I would think that you could find everything because it is a search engine but the results vary, probably based on the search algorithm. Nevertheless, these are good sites for finding a home in a specific area and they even allow you to look at the surrounding areas (I believe they use Google Earth). There are several ways to limit a search and keep from getting everything and this is something I really like. The only downfall I would say is that it can’t list the houses that aren’t listed with a real estate company or one that isn’t online. Otherwise, great site!

Another interesting search engine that I have used quite extensively is but you also have which does the same thing. These search engines allow for you to find a job, or career (if you will) based on your qualifications and where you want to be. You can search and apply for jobs or post your resume and have employers or head hunters find you. Again, you set the search criteria and then get to work looking. You will typically have thousands of results. Who knew that many companies were hiring? It is a great tool for the unemployed or those wishing to switch careers. You can even have email subscriptions where they send you the most updated job listings in your area or the area in which you would like to go. The problems I have with this search engine are that it isn’t updated as often as I like. This is partly the companies fault for not removing the posting after the position has been filled. But it can also be the users fault if, as in my case, you have a job now and don’t want to get any more notifications. You have to go to the site and unsubscribe otherwise those notifications will keep on coming. Probably the most frustrating is that, although a good thing, it tries to match your skills with positions in your area even if you are looking to go to a new city or state. And if you allow employers to view your resume, they will email you even if you do not want to stay in the area. I haven’t found a way to turn this feature off yet but as soon as I can I definitely will definitely.

image of an eyeball and all of the different parts
Ever feel sick and didn’t think you were sick enough to go to the doctor but wanted to make sure? Well, WebMD is the answer. This is a search engine that answers the many questions those of us that aren’t feeling well have and it is a lot cheaper than going to the doctor. Doctors supply the answers to the questions so ask away. Now, don’t think you are a doctor and can diagnose yourself, but you can get a good sense of what’s going on in your body by listing the symptoms and doing a quick search. You never know what might pop-up, though we hope it is not serious. With me having kids, my wife and I use this search engine any time our loved ones (children) are not feeling that well and we really don’t know what is wrong with them. We use other resources but this is definitely one that we know we have at our fingertips. The problem I have with this, if you really want to call this a problem is that it seems to always have several options based on symptoms. So, I guess I have some idea of how a doctor feels when trying to diagnose a patient. But, really I believe it is a good site and should be used. It may help you avoid a costly trip.

Get lost often and wish you had directions? Well, you probably should have printed out or downloaded onto your phone directions from MapQuest. As you have probably already guessed, MapQuest is a site dedicated to getting people to where they need to go. It is a map of the anywhere and everywhere and all you have to do is tell the search engine where you want to go. Updated recently with different route options, it is best for getting you somewhere and letting you choose the route that you know (or think) will work best based on past experiences. It also has a new feature which allows you to calculate, based on mileage and average miles per gallon, how much it will cost you in gas. For a person like me that travels back and forth to Michigan, I need to know about how much I will need for gas and this tool works great and is really accurate. It has to know the prices of the gas in each of the locations you will drive through so it can create an algorithm for average cost of gas and route taken to provide such precise information. I have no real problems with MapQuest, it is excellent for me. I love to use MapQuest but Google Maps is competing and may eventually take the lead.

Great looking picture of Baby Back Ribs
One search engine that is fairly new to me is RecipeBridge. My wife cooks most of the time so I don’t really look for recipes and neither does she. When I do try something new I like to experiment so this is a bit of a stretch for me but something I am willing to try. RecipeBridge is a place where you can go and search thousands, I mean millions of different recipes that have been posted on the web from all over the globe. It provides you with all of the information for the recipe and even the source (website it came from). This has so much it is easy to get lost in there and if you are looking for something quick, good luck. There are so many choices, narrowing down one can be difficult. The good news is, if you know almost exactly what you are looking for, you can perform a really narrow search and find precisely what you need rather quickly. It is now owned by Gourmet Ads and is the largest recipe search engine I have ever seen. There are tutorial videos on the site and it also allows you to register, although I am not really sure what you are registering for (I tried it). I guess I will just have to explore some more. If you have a recipe and it is posted somewhere on the web, it is a good chance that RecipeBridge will find it and you may find your recipe using this search engine. Have fun with it and try something new.


  1. What a great list of search engines! My wife and I are hoping to be first-time home buyers around this time next year and we both love using I agree that it is odd that you can't locate every house for sale using a single real estate search engine. I love to cook and I have also enjoy using I have found too many good recipes on Recipe Bridge (I may need to start spending less time on recipebridge and more time at the gym!). Great blog post!

  2. This is a very well, constructed post! You used your images so appropriately as well. I enjoyed the WolphramAlpha search engine for biology terms. I found that they listed taxonomic terms and lineages very accurately and presented the information in concise terms. I've never tried it for math, but I certainly will in the future. As for, we are renters and it is very nice to have a website (and an app) that I can access on the go. I cook as well, (currently looking for the perfect brownie recipe), so I will definitely check out Recipe Bridge for some inspiration.

  3. OK. So now I am hurry, And it's all your fault. When is dinner?

    I liked your notations about similar engines. And the way you personalized your comments. Should we read any meaning into Trulla and CareerBuilder?

  4. Thank you Dr. Strange but no, please don't read any meaning into Trulia or CareerBuilder, they were just examples. I do apologize for the great looking picture of ribs, although they do sound good for dinner. Maybe I will make some over Spring Break.