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Chapter 54. Surfing the World Wide Web > Search Engines and Portals

Search Engines and Portals

The Web has millions of sites covering all kinds of topics, from obscure pop song lyrics to computer hardware catalogs, from the latest research on diabetes to wedding pictures of a happy couple in Saskatchewan, not to mention lots of X-rated material. How do you find your way around this vast universe? One way is to use a search engine as we discussed in Chapter 49. But these only help if you know exactly what you're looking for. If you know what kind of information you're looking for but can't narrow it down to a few key words, you can visit a portal, a site that organizes a large number of links by topic.

When you start Internet Explorer, Windows automatically takes you to the Microsoft Network (MSN) home page, which is one example of a portal page. Other well-known portals are Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, AOL.com, and Netscape Netcenter. There are even kid-friendly portals like Yahooligans or Ask Jeeves for Kids. My favorite search engine is Google (www.google.com) because it's both fast and vast and doesn't bombard you with too much advertising. I sometimes use Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) when I want a well-organized directory of sites. LookSmart (www.looksmart.com) is also quite good.


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