Search Engines and Other Thoughts

Since Google became a household name for search engines, most people automatically go there for their internet searching. In fact, almost 60% of all searches are done on Google. Yahoo pulls in second with almost 17%. Big difference. Did you know that Yahoo and McAfee teamed up a while back and all of Yahoo’s searches are filtered through McAfee’s SiteAdviser software so when you use Yahoo to search for an item, you may see warnings on links to suspect sites which will tell you to proceed at your own risk of getting malicious programs or giving your email address to be shared with spammers and phishers. Google doesn’t offer anything like that. However, McAfee allows you to download the free SiteAdvisor for Internet Explorer ( or for Firefox ( which will warn you about sites regardless of which search engine you use.

Did you know that there are sites called “MetaSearch Engines”? These sites will search the most popular search engines for your item, so instead of doing multiple searches for that hard to find item, you can go to a site like DogPile (, enter your search item and it will search and return hits from Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask. Those are four of the top search engines on the internet, all accessed with one search.

On just about every new computer, Microsoft puts a trial version of Office, which gives you Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Very useful programs, until the time limit for using them runs out. Then, in order to continue using, you need to put out a few hundred dollars to purchase the license. Is it worth it? Maybe for some, but for others, there is a free program named OpenOffice ( which will give you a word processor, a spread sheet program, a database program similar to Access, and a presentation software similar to PowerPoint. What’s nice about this suite of programs, besides the fact that it is free, is that you can save your files so that they can be opened in Microsoft Office products. I have it installed on a USB drive so when I’m on a computer that isn’t my own, or one that doesn’t have Office installed, I can still use the Suite and save it to use in Office when I get back home or to the office. And, it’s been around a while so it’s tried and true and did I mention that it’s free?

There are other “replacement” programs that are free that I’ll cover at another time. By the way, one of my favorite graphic viewing programs is Irfanview ( It’s also free. Check it out.


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