Custom search engines are one of the coolest features of any modern browser. With just a few keystrokes, you can search Wikipedia right from your address bar, do a custom Google search for Lifehacker articles, or even get driving directions to a specific location. Here are five searches you should enable right now.
Blogger and developer Matt Gemmell has gazed into the dark side of of search engine optimisation (SEO), and while he understands the value of having your personal site, your blog or your company’s website rank well in search results, he’s not willing to sell his soul to do it. Instead, he’s written a simple guide to SEO for the less cut-throat.
Search engine Scour aggregates results from Yahoo, Google, and MSN on one page, displays reviews and feedback from other Scour members about those results, and rewards you with points that you can trade in for a Visa gift card. Register for a free account at Scour, and use it each time you search the web. Accumulate enough Scour points and you can get a $25 Visa gift card. Every member is awarded one point for every search, two for a vote and three for a comment with a maximum of 4 points a search. Once you aggregate at least 6,500 points you can cash them out for a $25 Visa gift card… it’s more than you currently make from searching, right?
Since Scour uses results from Google, Yahoo, and MSN anyway, you’re getting the same results you’d get if you were using those engines—but racking up points while you do. A Scour browser toolbar’s available for for download as well. Scour [via Webware]
Web site RateBeer contains an enormous user-rated database of beers to help you find your new favourite beer. Last weekend we highlighted Beer Suggest, a new site scouring the net to bring you a good beer, but several commenters pointed out RateBeer (and BeerAdvocate) as sites that have been around for much longer—which means they boast more reviews and a more robust database of brews. So while you’re enjoying some nice late spring weather this weekend, check out RateBeer to find something tasty to relax with. RateBeer
You’ve got a long weekend ahead, and aside from your inevitable grill mastery, you need to find the perfect brew for your weekend feast. Beer-lovers web site Beer Suggest is here to fill that need, rounding up and reviewing over 4000 beers and over 1100 breweries to help you find the perfect beer for any occasion. The site has both wiki and review elements, so if you consider yourself a connoisseur you can update or review any beer on the site to provide your expert recommendations. Beer Suggest [via Mashable]
Web search engine interface Katapulco is a one-stop search box to dozens of engines, from Google to Wikipedia to IMDB—and you choose which engine to search by entering a keyboard shortcut. For example, to Google Lifehacker from Katapulco, enter “Lifehacker” then “g” into the shortcut field. While Katapulco’s premise—that keyboard shortcuts are faster—is spot-on, you can achieve this same result using the search box in Firefox (Ctrl+K to put your cursor there, Ctrl+Up and Ctrl+Down to switch engines) or my personal favourite, Firefox keyword bookmarks. If you’re serious about searching with your keyboard, be sure to check out Google’s experimental keyboard shortcut search results as well. While it’s not something I’ll use instead of those methods, Katapulco still has the right idea. Katapulco.com [via Life Rocks]
US-Centric (for now!): Google Maps now makes it easy to check out real estate listings in a certain area: click on the “Show search options” link next to the Search Maps button, and choose “Real Estate” from the drop down. Your search will map homes for sale, with photos and prices. Search blog Google Operating System reports that the results come from real estate site feeds, not Google Base. You can also refine your search by price, number of bathrooms and bedrooms. Looks like Google Maps is giving Zillow a run for its money, though Zillow offers home valuations for property that’s not necessarily for sale.Google Maps Adds Real Estate Search [Google Operating System]