Meta Search Engines
A meta search engine queries other search engines and combines the results from the information they have stored in their individual databases. Using a meta search engine can help you save time and get a more comprehensive selection of results. By collecting results from the major search engines, a meta search engine helps you find the information you are looking for quicker than if you were to query each search engine individually.
A meta search engine works on the premise that two heads are better than one so using multiple search engines to compile results will provide better results to the searcher.
How does it work?
A meta search engine works by creating a virtual database, taking a users request and passing it on to several other databases and compiling the results. A meta search engine does not compile a physical database. Every meta search engine will be different and will provide varying results, this is because they use different databases and search engines to compile their results from.
Some meta search engines will use the most popular search engines and other meta search engines will use smaller or lesser known search engines, databases and newsgroups.
One search, multiple queries
Meta search engines use clustering technologies and textual analysis to provide results. While some will list results in order of relevance others will list results according to the search engine or database used. By grouping the most relevant results at the top of the list duplicate hits can be eliminated.
By querying a number of other search engines and combining the best results from each a meta search engine aims to optimize your search results.