Some new tools are lining up to expand web search options.
The most interesting is Wolfram Alpha, which advertises itself as a “computational knowledge engine.” Unlike most search engines, which look for matching web sites, WA performs computations to come up with factual answers. So if your question has an answer that can be expressed in numbers, give WA a try. It’s particularly interesting for locating statistics. There’s an extensive review of Wolfram Alpha at Search Engine Land.
Not to be outdone, Google is soon to launch Google Squared [update: no longer available], which will also generate factual, numerical responses to queries.
Although it’s not exactly new, a unique and little-known search engine is Cuil [update: no longer available]. Unlike Google, which ranks results based on the number of links to a page, Cuil ranks results based on the number of related terms present within a page.