When you're searching for help with everyday tasks, smaller, more focused directories are often more useful than search engines.
How often have you ever become exasperated with a search engine offering millions of results when you just want the answer to a simple question? For example, how do I create a web site? Or how do I contact a government official? How do I cope with a family illness or death?
These kinds of questions aren't always easily answered by search engines. This led the folks at 1DO3 to create a tightly focused directory that focuses on "real world" tasks and information.
"We've created a site that is specifically geared to matching websites to common everyday tasks, said 1DO3 co-founder David Hopson. "We've combined the best features of search engines, directories and portals to make a 'shortal'."
Hopson says the goal is to trade off huge coverage of the web for short, carefully researched and categorized lists of sites, tightly focused on what our users want to do in the 'real world' rather than in cyber space. Each link is editorially selected for quality and usefulness.
The site is organized like a directory, but the categories are refreshingly different than those offered by the "big three." Within each category, you can either use the search box or simply click on a pre-configured statement that answers "what do you want to do?"
Each of these statements begins with an unambiguous verb, like "download," "get," "plan," and so on. Results are displayed on the right side of the screen.
"Although we're not a search engine in a formal sense, we are very much in the business of providing our users with high quality 'results' that can help them to achieve their goals," said Hopson. "Our quality not quantity approach stems from a belief that when you want to get something practical done using the web, it is often more useful to be offered a handful of relevant and useful sites, which have already been checked out, as opposed to the millions that are offered by Google or AllTheWeb."
1DO3 is primarily focused on tasks and information for the U.K., but provides enough useful information to make it a worthwhile tool for users based elsewhere. And particularly of note in the increasingly "noisy" world of the web: "At 1DO3 we hate jargon, pop up advertising and useless links to poor websites."
An editorially compiled directory of web sites focused on real-world tasks and information.
Specialty Search Engines
For those times when you want to find more than just web pages and web sites, some of the "specialty search engines" on this list will prove useful.
NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.