The default search engine for most people is Google. However, Google does have a couple of characteristics that are not always useful.
First, it tends to learn what websites you like, so it will, over time, present you with results from the same websites. This can be useful if you cannot recall the name of a brilliant website you found through a Google search some time ago, but not quite so useful if you want to be presented with something a bit different to what you normally come across.
Second, it presents the results in a list. Sometimes it’s useful to have the results presented in categories. That’s where Carrot2 comes in.
The Carrot2 search engine presents the results in a list, but also in categories, as you can see in this screenshot of a search I carried out on “self-publishing". If I were to click on one of the categories on the left, the related results would show up on the right.
There are two other views of the results as well.
The Circle view converts the categories into segments of a circle. The bigger the segment, the more search results there are in that category.
The Foam view does a similar job, just in a different way.
The Google approach is still useful of course. After presenting the Wikipedia entry for self-publishing, Google gave me a list of very useful websites:
But where Carrot2 scores is if you’re not quite sure of how to drill down into sub-categories because you don’t know what they are. For example, in my Carrot2 search it is immediately obvious how I could home in on just the websites that show the companies that offer self-publishing services.