Best described by Wikipedia themself as “The Free Encyclopedia”. They are best used as somewhere to start but not someplace to end your search. Think of it as Encyclopedia Britannica with the capability for anyone to edit. You can imagine getting some very concise, educated and brilliant entries from experts in a field to the bizarre and laughable stories with no resources or substantial reasoning, both kinds and everything in the middle reviewed by “moderators”.
Most articles will have references to outside sources as a support to the article, this is how Wikipedia works best to give you a nice list of links to your search as well as information from Wikipedia. Also take into account the user who posted the article. Do they have an invested interest in the article? If so, you may need to tread lightly to whether the information is factual, stretched or a bit of both.
Quick Fact: Wikipedia is the 5th most visited website online in the world and have over 325 million viewers per month.
Wikipedia states: “Original research and ideas which have not appeared in other sources are therefore excluded. People of all ages and cultural and social backgrounds can write Wikipedia articles as most of the articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet simply by clicking the edit link (found at the top of every editable page). Anyone is welcome to add information, cross-references, or citations, as long as they do so within Wikipedia’s editing policies and to an appropriate standard. Substandard or disputed information is subject to removal. Users need not worry about accidentally damaging Wikipedia when adding or improving information, as other editors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors, and Wikipedia’s software is carefully designed to allow easy reversal of editorial mistakes.”
In conclusion, Wikipedia is a good starting point just like most use Google to find information. It works best for quick summaries with references to outside resources that may assist in validating the article. You can read Wikipedia’s About section here and here is a link to an example of using Wikipedia to search the term “Graphic Design“.
Best answered from BusinessInsider.com, Nick Saint | Jan 28. 2010
Foursquare is primarily for letting your friends know where you are and figuring out where they are. Secondarily, it’s for collecting points, prize “badges,” and eventually, coupons, for going about your everyday business.
And it’s becoming popular. Foursquare now has almost 275,000 users in less than a year.
As a business, it hasn’t done much in the way of revenue-generation yet, but some strategies for doing so are coming in to focus. Promotional deals for frequent customers have already started popping up on the service. Co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley tells us that Foursquare will be experimenting with a wide-range of strategies over the coming months.
If you would like to read more about Foursquare you can refer to our Article “What is Social Media“. The Search feature in Foursquare is not what they advertise, its an additional caveat that comes with the application. As you log in to locations on your phone via GPS, you will also locate surrounding places. For example, if you are at an eatery having lunch you can open up Foursquare and it will tell you surrounding locations. A good solution if traveling and looking for something to do afterwards. Also works well, for instance, if traveling and searching for any number of locations around you, even Gas Stations. The non-search benefits to Foursquare can be found in the article mentioned above. Additionally, a competing and excellent alternative is a company called Gowalla. You can view their website at www.gowalla.com.
Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community owned by Yahoo!. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. As of October 2009, it claims to host more than 4 billion images. Yes, over 4 billion images. While there are copyright laws associated with personal photos, Flickr is an excellent source of resource and inspiration. Fickr’s community is very passionate about their photos, they create groups and engage in conversation.
Tons and tons of photos of designer’s posting their works serve as an excellent source of inspiration but it can also be used for personal use. For instance, if you were looking at re-doing your Living Room, sure enough you can find photos of everyday people uploading photos of their recent renovations. Also for both Company and Client you will find service industries uploading photos of recent jobs. The ability to “tag” photos and comment makes it an excellent resource for both personal sharing and inspiration. Flickr is the industry standard for uploading photos for public viewing BUT it can also be set to private. Either way, the search in Flickr is great.
Ask the general population what YouTube is and you will get a basic consensus that it is a “website with videos” but most people don’t think about YouTube as a search engine. Most people find Google to be the Search Engine or Yahoo!, etc but YouTube is the 2nd most used Search Engine of all.
YouTube not only has the popular videos of that father getting hit in his privates by his young child but it also has valuable content. If you want to learn how to put a retaining wall on your front lawn, go to YouTube. You will find tons and tons of videos on exactly how to do this. Most companies, if they are smart, will post “How To” videos on YouTube but what is even more valuable is the everyday user who creates a video with real time values. They show shortcuts to cut cost. Want to learn how to make a new dish for dinner? Go to YouTube. Want to learn how to make a banner in Photoshop, go to YouTube. It’s all there in their Search. As time goes by YouTube is developing a much more sophisticated search engine but for now it still works great.
Another function is for reviews. Thinking of purchasing a product? Forget going to websites that have text written reviews from anonymous users. Go to YouTube. You will most like find a real everyday person giving you a a real-world experience. Thinking of buying the Apple iPad? Well visit YouTube and see tons and tons of reviews, not from experts who are there to promote the product, but rather from everyday users who just enjoy technology with real use. YouTube Search works great, period.
The secret gem of the web. As they phrase it “Computational Knowledge Engine.”. What Wolfram does is act in some ways like Wikipedia with factual information but it also provides direct answers for Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, Engineering, Astronomy and much more. Have a question that your child is asking, use Wolfram. Its a brilliant website with an educational result. Its best explained by using it for yourself, the results are fascinating. Pictured below is a photo for the result “Population in Italy”.
Regardless of your Search Engine of choice, all the Searches listed in this and our previous article have valuable assets. Each has their pros and cons but it does not start and end with Google. We encourage you to try all the Searches on the web, you may be surprised by the results. Happy Searching!
Finally, we encourage you to post any comments to your thoughts on Searching on the web and any additional services that you use. The Internet is the Wild Wild West and finding new ways to use it is always a plus. Let us know what you use for your Searches….