On my browser's toolbar, I've bookmarked all of these sites in one folder, seeing as how they tend to come in handy fairly often. Some much more so than others. I had assumed that most other web surfers were similarly aware of these great sites, since they're so useful in finding practically whatever you have in mind. But today the thought occurred to me that there are probably a few people who aren't familiar with one or two (or more) of these helpful resources. So, without further ado, I present THE LIST:
- Google – The mother of all Search Engines. My favorite part is that most pages are cached, so if the site is currently down or has undergone a major change, you can still see what came up in the results, with all your search terms highlighted.
- Wikipedia – The user-generated online encyclopedia of everything. Some say that the "truth" found here is only what everybody agrees upon. And that's probably correct. But for most subjects, Wikipedia is a simple, dependable resource that can inform and educate in a hurry.
- YouTube – Now owned by Google, YouTube is where to search for video clips from shows, movies, the news, and everywhere else. Eyewitness reports are often quickly uploaded to YouTube, so if a news story didn't provide the live footage you wanted, YouTube just might have it. It's also a decent place to find the occasional song, as some users upload whole tracks with album covers as the visual.
- Dictionary.com – Much easier than using a conventional dictionary, as it's not heavy and you don't have to flip through page after page! Just type in your word or phrase, and even if you don't get the spelling right, you'll usually find just what you're looking for.
- Thesaurus.com – Sister site of Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com comes in major handy when you need to find another word for something. You'll never have to use, apply, or expend the same word twice.
- IMDb – The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has detailed files on all movies, past, present, and even future! Who's that actor? Were there any goofs? When's the sequel? Just go to IMDb. There's even a forum and special features for registered users.
- Internet Archive – Featuring the WayBack Machine, which keeps a record of every incarnation of a web page since that page's creation. You can go back in time and see the earliest form of pretty much any site. It can be extremely helpful when a page isn't currently available or no longer exists. Check out an early archive of Google. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
- Acronym Finder – The next time you see a strange abbreviation, you can quickly and easily find out what it means. Pretty much every conceivable meaning of each acronym is listed, so all you need to do is find the one that fits the context.
- Amazon.com – You can buy almost anything online, and Amazon.com is a great place to do it. They used to be mostly focused on books, but in recent times have broadened their horizons tremendously. Now they sell pretty much everything! Not only are the prices low, but free shipping is offered in many cases. One of the best features is the Customer Reviews section for each product. The next time you hear about a hot new item and need to find out the pros and cons from real users, just go to Amazon.com.
- eBay – Here you can brave rapidly-growing world of consumer-to-consumer sales. Shopping eBay is riskier than Amazon, but there's definite potential to find some really great deals. What's more, some products that aren't listed at Amazon can be found at eBay. It's a great resource when you need to learn about a hard-to-find item or a mystery object.
- Dogpile – A search engine that compiles results from Google, Yahoo, Live Search, and Ask. I used to use it until I found that it didn't offer the same caching of pages that Google provides. But Dogpile does have an "Audio Search" option that is supremely helpful. Whether you're searching for a clip of a radio interview, a song, or a sound effect, Dogpile's Audio Search is usually pretty helpful. It may take some time to find an audio link that works, but once you do, it's usually well worth it. And if you run out of options, you might try plugging the bogus links into the Internet Archive. The audio file may just be saved there.
- Urban Dictionary – Dictionary.com is fine for "normal" speech, but what about all those new slang terms? Urban Dictionary is basically a WikiDictionary, where users add and define new words and phrases. The next time you hear a strange word that sounds like it was born yesterday, you can look it up at the Urban Dictionary.
- OldVersion.com – This site features downloads of previously-released versions of popular software, including instant messengers, file-sharing platforms, web browsers, file unzippers, and graphics programs. When the new version isn't as good as the old one, or is too expensive, you can usually get the old one for free at OldVersion.com.
- Alta Vista Babel Fish Translation – This is a killer resource that allows you to translate a block of text or an entire web page from one major language to another. The results aren't always word-perfect, but they'll usually provide you with enough information to understand what was written. The whole-page translation feature is amazing. If you're ever searching for something and it looks like you've found it, but it's written in a foreign language, you can clarify things with Alta Vista Babel Fish.
- Google Blog Search – I just learned about this today. You can search for blogs that are written about or contain information on specific topics. Instead of just using Google to find out what websites are saying, you can use Google Blog Search to find out what people are saying on their blogs. So if you want a more down-to-earth take on something, this could be the site for you.
That's it! These are what I believe to be the top 15 online search resources. The internet has incredible informative power, if you know where to look. I hope I mentioned at least a couple of sites that you weren't fully aware of. Happy digital trails!If you enjoyed this post, I'd be delighted to have you as a subscriber to my RSS feed.
Tags: acronym finder, alta vista babel fish translation, amazon, dictionary.com, dogpile, ebay, Google, google blog search, imdb, internet archive, oldversion.com, search, thesaurus.com, urban dictionary, web site, wikipedia, youtube