San Jose Mercury News has an overview of various sites:
The Librarians Index to the Internet (www.lii.org), compiled by librarians in California and Washington, is a searchable subject directory of more than 12,000 Internet resources, each with a short description so you know what you’re about to click on. Topics range from health and medicine to Web page design.
News: Yahoo and Google both have top-notch news search sites that pull in thousands of feeds from around the world. But if you want local news, Topix.net may work better. The site monitors breaking news from more than 6,000 sources and lets users filter results by ZIP code. Findory News, meanwhile, creates “personalized” newspapers. Findory (www.findory.com) watches which news links you click on and then emphasizes those types of stories each time you visit.
Audio searching: “It’s not just the written, but the spoken word that is searchable,” Price says. And with that, he points us to SpeechBot (http://speechbot.research.compaq.com), a search engine for audio and video content. A product of HP Labs in Palo Alto, the site has indexed 17,517 hours of content from sites such as PBS’s Online NewsHour, and the Motley Fool Radio Show.
Blogs: Blogs are increasingly becoming a primary source of news for many people. But neither Yahoo nor Google allow users to limit their Web searches to blogs. For that, you can turn to a bevy of smaller services, including Feedster (www.feedster.com), Technorati (technorati.com) and DayPop (www.daypop.com).
General searching: Vivisimo (www.vivisimo.com) is not really a search engine because it does not crawl or index the Web. Instead, it organizes the search results from other search engines, clustering them into categories. Price and Calishain both mentioned Gigablast (www.gigablast.com) as an up-and-coming search site. And Price says AskJeeves (www.ask.com) has improved significantly over the years. Other general search sites include ZapMeta (www.zapmeta.com) and Mooter (www.mooter.com). Then there’s GuruNet (www.gurunet.com), a small Israeli company whose goal is to take you straight to the information you’re seeking. “Google gives you links,” Price said. “Here you get answers.” The basic package is free. For $29.99 a year, subscribers can access a far bigger storehouse of information.