Mega Search Engines
Mega search engines are the best search engines. This is an introduction to mega search engines.
A common mistake is to use the term mega search engines, instead of meta-search engines. It is an understandable mistake because the terms mega and meta both apply to the search engines under consideration; and mega is a more commonly used (and understandable) term then meta.
The term mega search engine literally means "big search engine", because mega means "big". The term mega-store is in common use, and people use "mega" as slang for anything "really cool". So people quickly adapted mega to be used in front of search engine.
Meta-search engines combine the results from several search engines together. Meta-search engine indexes are certainly large - after all, they combine the already massive indexes of search engines. But they are known as "meta" and not "mega" for good reasons, which we will discuss later. But first lets take a quick trip through the historical origins of the words meta and mega.
How did the confusion between mega search engine and meta-search engine begin? It's impossible to say for certain, but we can at least make an informed guess. Both meta and mega derive originally from the Ancient Greek language, usually through Latin terms that were the first to "borrow" them. Today, mega and meta are often used to create new terms. Mega has been used in borrowed Latin variations (megacosm, megapolis) for centuries. But, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest use of mega as a prefix to a purely English word was in 1883, when J.D. MacAlister invented the term megabacteria.
Meta has been even more widely used in borrowings from the Latin than mega. The most famous example is metaphysics. This name probably comes from a direct use of one of its original meanings (after), and probably derives from Aristotle's belief that physics should be taught after philosophy. He called one of his works Physics, and it was natural for him to call his next work "After the Physics", i.e., Metaphysics.
But it's more complicated than that. Meta can also mean change, as in metamorphosis. And, in English, in the last two centuries meta has metamorphosed to mean "second order consideration" in a variety of disciplines. For instance:
"Hilbert's programme for demonstrating the consistency of arithmetic by meta-mathematical methods resulted in a new outburst of activity which culminated ... with Gödel's incompleteness theorem." Nature 8 Jan 1971 104/2
- Politics might consider how Marxism has been applied to state formation. But does Marxism have enough scientific respectability to be applied to anything? This question is metapolitical.
- The Smalltalk programming language allows you to model real world objects using a class. You might model the properties of trees using the class Tree. But, in Smalltalk, everything is an object, so the Tree class must also be an object of some class. This is its metaclass.
This discussion illustrates why people have performed a natural act of cognitive dissonance to produce the incorrect term mega search engines out of hearing the term meta-search engines. Meta is a frightening, complex word. Mega is much easier on the mind.
But meta is the more accurate term. Meta-search engines are not just "bigger" than search engines. They are second order search engines that take the results from search engines and do some further processing on the results. Actually, if heavy filters are applied, their indexes might end up quite small. So meta-search engines need not be mega search engines. Then again, most meta-search engines are mega-meta-search engines.
Red hot pages on mega search engines
You can see access details of all the mega search engines from the index link at the top right of this page. The following mega search engines pages are good starting points:
Finding Locations on Google Maps from IP numbers and other address parameters.