It’s not a secret that the World Wide Web contains a constantly growing amount of information. Search engines (SE) were created to somehow manage this continuous stream of data. Unfortunately, none of such systems can cover all the endless resources of the Internet so far. To solve this problem and expand search capabilities, the metasearch systems were created. So, a metasearch works as follows:
- It receives the search query.
- It simultaneously interrogates several independent SEs.
- It returns their results with a single combined list of results without duplicating links.
- By all the above actions, it improves the individual search results, i.e., acting as an intermediary between you and many leading SEs.
As you can see, the metasearch engine can be really helpful for regular users. Now, let’s pay attention to the key pros and cons of this tool.
Pros of Metasearch for Users
A metasearch engine has the same advantage over a traditional SE like searching in several directories instead of searching in one. However, it does not mean that this method should be used in all cases. If there are a lot of documents on the topic, then metasearch is unnecessary and even harmful since it mixes different ranking logic. If there are only a few documents on the topic, then this tool can be useful precisely because it analyses a large number of SE responses at once.
So, the key advantage is the ability to quickly and conveniently make a query through one search line at once to many leading search engines, which saves your time. Meanwhile, the analysis of a single list of results is much easier than comparing many different lists with many duplicate results. In other words, when working through metasearch, your viewing angle will always be significantly wider than usual.
Disadvantages of the Metasearch
Cons of the metasearch can be logically concluded of its advantages:
- It is obvious that this tool does not have its index base, so you cannot add URLs of your sites to its search.
- Modest possibilities for formulating advanced search configurations. Since the metasearch engine can use up to 15-20 third-party search engines as donors, it is obvious that the syntax of the extended search will be different for all search engines one way or another.
- Some advanced metasearch engines try to translate complex queries into the native language of each SE on the fly, which leads to logical mistakes.
Nobody knows how big the World Wide Web is. Some believe that it has 5 million pages, others – 8 million, etc. In any case, it is clear that the major search engines only index a part of the publicly indexed web. It means that if you use only one search engine, you will miss out on those matching results that can be found by other search engines. The only way to make your WWW search more efficient is to use a metasearch engine.