The Best Search Engines for Students

Find what you need for writing papers, giving presentations, learning anything.

The Internet has made learning almost anything easier, but finding what you're looking for on the Internet can be an overwhelming experience. Our list of the best search engines includes some of the most popular general engines, plus some specialty engines that might be particularly helpful to students.

Special thanks to Wendy Boswell, About.com's Web Search Expert. Be sure to check out her list of The Best Research and Reference Sites Online.

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Google
Google. Google

Google seems to be most everyone's default search engine. It's so popular that "Googling" has become a verb, as in, "Just Google it."

Wendy has created a handy advanced shortcut cheat sheet: Google Advanced Search Shortcuts. Note the education shortcut: site:.edu. For example, find continuing education pages by searching Google for continuing education:.edu.

Google has sub engines for specialty searches. Students will appreciate Google Scholar, which searches all scholarly literature and provides reliable citations, especially helpful when writing research papers. More »

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Bing
Bing. Microsoft Bing

Bing is a Microsoft product formerly called Microsoft Live Search. Tabs along the top of your search results allow you to sort the results by Web, Local, News, Images, Video, and Shopping.

Wendy has a cheat sheet for you: Bing Search Engine Shortcuts More »

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Yahoo - Justin Sullivan - GettyImages-71478720
SUNNYVALE, CA - JULY 18: A sign is seen in front of the Yahoo! headquarters July 18, 2006 in Sunnyvale, California. Yahoo! Inc. reported second quarter earnings of $164.3 million or 11 cents a share, down 78 percent from the second quarter of 2005 when the company reported earnings of 754.7 million, or 51 cents per share. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images). Justin Sullivan - GettyImages-71478720

In addition to being a web portal, Yahoo! is also a good search engine. You can customize your Yahoo! search page by adding categories you commonly search. Click the little wheel next to Yahoo! sites on the left navigation bar. You'll need to sign in. Results generally start with local options.

Check out Wendy's Yahoo! Education page. More »

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dogpile
dogpile

Dogpile is a meta search engine, which means it gathers results from several engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, and others. You can sort by Web, Image, Video, News, Local, and White Pages.

Wendy walks you through how to use each of Dogpile's categories: How to Use Dogpile. Go fetch! More »

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Ask.com
Ask.com. Ask.com

Ask, formerly Ask Jeeves, is a crawler-based search engine, meaning it sends software programs out to "crawl" the Web looking for information. The nice thing about Ask is that it will answer actual questions you type into the search box.

Wendy has some nice tips for How to Search with Ask.com. More »

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Lycos
Lycos

We include Lycos here because it's one of the web's oldest search engines. Today, it is connected to Ask.com, and it partners with blinkx for video search.

If you like the oldies but goodies, and like the idea of Lycos, Wendy will help you make the most of your searches: Lycos Search. More »

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blinkx

If you're looking for video, blinkx is your engine. It searches not only titles, but content, a huge bonus. You can use blinkx for information or entertainment in categories from cars to the environment, technology to travel, and lots between.

Wendy will teach you how to search, filter, organize, and sign up for RSS feeds: Blinkx, a Video Search Engine. More »

WolframAlpha
WolframAlpha

You are going to love this one. Wolfram|Alpha is a computational knowledge engine. Its search box asks you to enter what you want to calculate or know about. That's pretty cool. You have the options of requesting an extended keyboard, inputting an image or data, and uploading a file.

One of the company's goals is to "collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything."

Read Wendy's 10 Things You Can Do with Wolfram Alpha before you head over to the site. She'll help you get answers to math, astronomy, life sciences, technology, money and finances, music, sports and games, geography, people and history, even cultural events and multimedia. Yowser. More »

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TalkMiner
TalkMiner

This is an awesome resource for adult students. TalkMiner searches videos of class lectures, research seminars, and product demonstrations, all three of which could be of tremendous value to you as a student.

Wendy's blog about TalkMiner: Find lectures on nearly any subject with TalkMiner. More »

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mamma
mamma

We saved this one for last because if you haven't found what you were looking for, perhaps Mamma, "the Mother of All Search Engines," can find it.

Wendy has lots of info for you about Mamma, plus gives you her opinion on whether she finds its tagline true: Mamma, the Mother of All Metasearch Engines. More »

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USA.gov
USA.gov

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal. This is where you can find reliable info about U.S. presidents, senators, representatives, federal agencies, governors, legislators, and tribes. You'll also find info on health, housing, jobs and unemployment, travel, and immigration. You can also search in Spanish, a huge plus. More »

YouTube - Lewis Mulatero - Moment Mobile ED - GettyImages-575505037
Social media. Close up of mobile phone being held in a hand with the screen showing the classic icon for You Tube. YouTube - Lewis Mulatero - Moment Mobile ED - GettyImages-575505037

Of course you've seen YouTube videos of all kinds. Did you know YouTube has an education channel? It's worth checking out. YouTube is handy for seeing how things are done, especially if you are a visual learner. More »