Thursday, July 11, 2013

Search Engines Not Named Google

Search Engines Not Named Google

In honor of it being National Ice Cream Month 

Student:  Mr. Mosier, when was Ice Cream invented?
ME: That is a great question, how could we find this info out?
Student: Why don't we just "Google It"

Just like Kleenex refers to almost all  Facial Tissues or RollerBlades refers to almost all Inline Skates, so does "Googling" refer to conducting web research. For most of my students Google has become the main tool they use for searching on the internet. The Google Search Bar is defaulted on student's computers at my school on their web browser and for the vast majority of students Google is their one and only search engine.

I don't mean to pick on Google, I probably use Google as my main search engine as well but I also want my students to be aware of other search engines that are out there and be familiar with them.

Here are some of my favorite Search Engines "Not Named Google" that I like to share with my students.

Wolfram Alpha:

If I type in Ice Cream into the search bar on Wolfram Alpha I am probably not going to get much historical information, but I am going to get a wealth of information on the nutritional value of ice cream. If you are looking for data on any topic, Wolfram Alpha is a great resource to use. Check out Wolfram AlphaExamples to find topics that are great to use this search engine and check out this article from Business Insider of some hidden gems in WolframAlpha.


This is another great learning tool that creates Web Concept Maps for your search phrase. What I like about InstaGrok is that it allows you to change the level of complexity of the results by moving the slider from the Chalkboard to the Einstein character making it a great tool for differentiation.  There are lots of links to facts, websites, videos, images, and so much more.  You can also save your search an embed them into websites, so if you are looking for a way to help direct student research this can be a powerful tool to help guide students in their research. If you are introducing a big concept or essential vocabulary term this might be a great resource to use with your students. Below is an embed of my search for Ice Cream.

ice cream | Learn about ice cream on instaGrok, the research engine: Ice Cream | Learn about Ice Cream on instaGrok, the research engine


This might be more designed for teachers to help them discover and organize web content, but it does have great potential as a web search tool for students as well. If you are a teacher and you are looking for lesson ideas, websites, or resources I would definitely bookmark this tool.


I am personally not a big user of Bing, but I do know there are a lot of great features to Bing worth checking out.

There are more search engines out there, but these are some of the ones I have found that are easy for teachers or students to utilize in a school setting.

What are some of your favorite search engines out there not named Google? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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