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What is a meta search engine?

A meta search engine is a search engine which takes the help of other search engines to produce the results. A meta search engine sends the requests made by the user to several other search engines, compiles all the results and displays a single list to the user. A user access various search engines with the help of a single meta search engine. As the internet or the world wide web is very vast, at times it is not possible for ordinary search engines to index it efficiently enough to produce the correct results. This is where the concept of meta search engines come into picture. Instead of using multiple search engines a user can avail the services of one single meta search engine and still get the same results or even better results.


Let us consider the following five meta search engines:



Let us compare the results of meta search engines with the common search engines and explain how they are different.



Common Keyword: Market Research

Search engine selected:


Meta-search Engine selected:



First five results from the search engine:



First five results from the meta-search engine: 



Difference: (In general terms)


Meta-search engine

1- A meta search engine uses ordinary existing search engines.

2- A meta search engine just hints and links.

3- Here there is no truncation problem.

4- No field searching is available.

5- Developed into hybrids, still providing machine-generated, searchable indexing, but also providing classified listings of available materials.


Search engine 

1- A search engine classifies website into categories.

2- A search engine provides detailed and elaborate description.

3- Truncation problem does exist here.

4- Field searching is available here.

5- Offers users the most comprehensive indexing of Web sites and have user interfaces that allow searching their indexes in a variety of ways.


Difference: (In particular terms) 


Meta-search engine (Mamma) 

1- Found 241000000 results.

2- Less refined results.

3- Here no option is given to try choices from yahoo or any other site.


Search engine (Altavista)

1- Found merely 48 results.

2- Detailed and elaborate description given.

3- It gives an option to try out answers yahoo.


Despite all the above differences, the first result of both the search engines was the same. The links in both the search engines directed to the same website.