Combine the Powers of MSN, Google, and Yahoo!

It goes without saying that the world of search engines is heavily dominated by Google, but at the same time, it’s obvious that while Google typically provides some of the best results, they’re far from perfect. After all, how can you possibly trust a search engine that doesn’t have this blog as the number one result for “John Chow.” In this way, it could be better to look into a meta-search engine like Atnio. Here is their review.

Meta Search Engine for Mega Results

It’s obvious enough where the people behind Atnio got their inspiration for creating the world’s most powerful search engine. Unlike Google, however, Atnio does not have a mega-sized database of its own, relying instead on the amalgamated results of several search engines. For those of you who don’t know, this is the very definition of a meta search engine.

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It’s a matter of perspective how you would view the search engine results. When you enter the search term “John Chow” in Google, you get 946,000 results. By contrast, when you perform the same search on Atnio, you get served up with “about” 17,400,000 results. That’s nearly 18 times the results, but realistically, you’ll only look at maybe the first 50 or so. You might not even navigate beyond the first page of results.

On a side note, John Chow dot Com sits on top of the Atnio SERP (search engine results page) for “John Chow”, in case you’re wondering.

Looks Like Google, Complete with Ads

From the user interface to the layout of the results page, the Atnio meta search engine looks an awful lot like Google. The main page has a blue background, but when you get to the results, it reverts to mostly white. Moreover, depending on the keyword search term, you may also get served up with sponsored results on the right. Atnio isn’t nearly as big as Google, so they don’t have as many advertisers.

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The aesthetics will feel familiar, but the Atnio ads are not bid-based. Instead, getting in on the “sponsored results” comes in at a flat fee of $7.50 a month. This gets you a single listing and you can enter up to 8 keywords or keyword phrases. This effectively eliminates the concern over click fraud, just like the flat rate advertising on John Chow dot Com.

Online Bookmarking

One feature that sets Atnio apart from other meta search engines (and search engines in general) is what they call “My Folder”. This is where you can save any searches that you have done. When you conduct a search on Atnio, you can click on any of the “save result” links to save the search in My Folder. This saves the actual link, as well as the search that brought up that result.

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From My Folder, you can send selected listings to any email address, assign a personal rating (out of five stars), and add a personal note, as well as delete individual entries (of course). This can come in pretty handy, but it’s a little strange that Atnio does not appear to have any sort of registration process for this service. Instead, it looks cookie-based.

Pictures, Videos, and News

Beyond the usual text-based search, you can also use Atnio to search for images, news, and videos. The pictures come from all over the web, whereas the video results seem to come only from YouTube and Yahoo! Video. To be a better meta search engine for video, it would have been better if Atnio also included popular sites like Revver, Google Video, and so on.

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It’s nice seeing thumbnails for the videos, but the rest of the information is severely lacking. It wouldn’t take much to pull something as integral as the video’s title. Otherwise, users are simply guessing the content of the video based on a single frame.

Is Meta Really Better?

I appreciate the value of Atnio‘s My Folder functionality and the relatively inexpensive sponsored results, but I have my gripes too. The image and video results could use a little more information, and it’s a little disconcerting for parents that the family filter is switched off by default. Moreover, the very name of the site — Atnio — is easy to forget. It’s easy to mistake it for Antio, Antoi, Atnoi, and so on.

So, what’s my answer to the question above? I’m going to go with “Not really.” Atnio has done a good job with creating a meta search engine, pulling results from at least six different search engines (Google, MSN, Ask, Fast, Yahoo!, and Entireweb), but there’s not enough here to pull me away from relying on the big G just yet.