The term “specialized search engine” isn’t exactly mainstream. But you may be surprised to learn that you use them almost every day.
You likely use some of the top search engines all the time, like Google search, DuckDuckGo, or Bing — but today, we want to acknowledge our favorite specialized search engines in 2021.
What Is A Specialized Search Engine
A specialized search engine is simply a search engine hosted by a webpage that exclusively accesses specific genres of information.
Some specialized search engines actually host the information that they present, and some just have a unique index that’s been curated to only include particular collections of subject matter. Ranging from video search services to museum access sites, specialized search engines can and do cover a vast amount of topics; pretty much anything you could imagine has a search engine dedicated to it.
Even your business website could be considered a web search engine if it has a specialized search platform powering the backend.
Here are the Top 7 Specialized Search Engines, or SSE’s, in 2021.
We’re starting with entertainment specialized search engines because, after over a year of lockdown, many of us have increased our usage of Twitter, Wikipedia, and other entertainment sites in our lives.
What was once a simple video host for the internet’s strange — but humorous — video content has become a behemoth search interface with access to information and entertainment. So, YouTube is an SSE — not necessarily in the topic, but in format, since it exclusively hosts and indexes video content.
While you can spend hours grazing through videos of baby animals and your favorite comedians, most people actually turn to YouTube as an educational resource, and that’s why it’s one of our favorite SSE’s this year. Its wide array of content is both educationally useful and endlessly entertaining.
It isn’t just the content. As a search engine, YouTube has developed one of the cutting-edge algorithms to keep up with millions of users’ search and watch history, creating accurate “Watch Next” lists curated by subjects like Comedy, Food, Travel, and News.
Internet Movie Database (IMDB)
While movie theaters weren’t really an option for most of 2020, that hasn’t stopped us from streaming movies at home.
Whenever you might have a question about a movie or an actor in the film that you’re watching, there’s typically one SSE that always comes up first: the Internet Movie Database or IMDb. IMDb is one of our top SSE’s because it integrates so seamlessly into major search engines without most of us noticing.
If you were to search anything movie-related on Google, we could almost guarantee that the information they present at the top of the list is a cut out from IMDb.
It’s because of their constantly updated and accurate database of movie information that they’re used so widely, and even Amazon uses their service to identify actors in the scene.
So while you might not find yourself directly on IMDb regularly, you can be confident that you’ve accessed their database sometime recently.
While the last two entries on our list were incredibly helpful during the pandemic, Local.com is our new go-to as the world unfreezes and society returns to the everlasting debate of, “Where should we eat today?”
Local.com is an SSE with over 16 million food and entertainment businesses in every zip code across the United States, which means they have special access to every option exclusive to your local area. They even have tools that let you create restaurant reservations, get directions, and look for work among the listed businesses.
While Google has a similar function, Local is a much more focused option with suggestions and a rating system that helps you find your new favorite spot in your city.
Another focus area of the last year has been learning. YouTube has an excellent catalog of informational videos as well, but here are some of our top education specialized search engines.
WolframAlpha is interesting, not just because of its vast knowledge of just about everything, but also the way in which it answers your questions.
Because it does just that: it answers your questions. WolframAlpha isn’t purely a collection of information for you to peruse: it’s a complex artificial intelligence system that recognizes your question and develops an answer based on its massive index of information and intricate algorithm layers.
WolframAlpha’s mission statement is to collect all objective data and make all systematic knowledge accessible to everyone. If you’re ever interested in checking it out and exploring the amount of objective knowledge they already have, we would strongly recommend it.
Unfortunately, the reality of the last year hasn’t just been movies and new hobbies. Many hard-working Americans have lost or failed to gain employment recently.
But these employment SSE’s that you may have heard of are doing powerful things to combat high unemployment rates.
LinkedIn might initially seem like a boring version of other popular social media platforms, but its service is fantastic. Not only does it allow users to connect with and directly message hiring managers and people working at positions that they’re interested in, but LinkedIn also updates an index of open positions from companies actively hiring.
LinkedIn is so powerful that it constantly updates, so users get a live feed of employment opportunities both remote and in their local area, making it easier than ever to search for your perfect job with opportunities ranging from entry-level to senior positions.
Indeed is similar to LinkedIn but without all the bells and whistles, which for some works even better.
Like LinkedIn, Indeed offers regularly updated job openings in your local area, both remote and in person. What we like so much about Indeed is that it also lets you build and openly share a profile, so not only are you searching as someone looking for work, but employers looking to hire someone with your qualifications have access to you as well.
Maps and Travel
The technology around maps keeps developing further and further. Physical maps are no longer widely used, replaced by constantly improving technology that not only shows us the area around us but has live tracking traffic monitor systems and active directions as we move around the city.
Of course, Google was going to end up somewhere on this list.
According to The American Driving Survey, Americans spend nearly 300 hours on the road every year, and the most popular service they use to get from point A to point B is Google Maps.
And we don’t blame them.
Google Maps has a massive amount of geospatial data, featuring detailed information on roads and alleys just about everywhere on the planet. It also regularly updates and tracks changes at all times — and it does this very well.
Not that it does this on its own: it actually compiles information from the US Geological Survey, city councils, and other geographical survey services. But it does employ its own special vehicles to survey changes in construction, road signs, and conditions.
It’s a massive system based on AI Machine Learning that combines enormous amounts of data from all around the world so that you can know how to get… literally anywhere.
Those are our picks for the top specialized search engine in 2021. The last year has thrown a lot at everyone, but life has been just a little bit better with these highly functional and useful search engines.
If you’re interested in developing your own specialized search engine with your own search queries and search results, consider Yext as your new business partner in building a vertical search engine.