• The Beginning: Yahoo launched in 1994.
  • The Stats: It now captures more than 28 percent of all U.S. Internet searches, second only to Google.
  • Most Frequent Searches include: "Britney Spears," "WWE," and "Shakira."
  • Strength/Weakness: It boosted its overall search power by purchasing AlltheWeb.com, AltaVista, and Hotbot.

  • The Beginning: Lycos started in 1994, and was incorporated in 1995.
  • The Stats: Lycos at one point had over 5 percent of total searches, but now is relegated to the "Others" section of the comScore Media Metrix Search Engine Rankings, which constitutes only 3.6 percent of U.S. searches.
  • Most Frequent Searches include: "Poker," "Paris Hilton," and "Myspace."
  • Strength/Weakness: The search engine is no longer a major player.

  • The Beginning: AltaVista launched in 1995.
  • Strength/Weakness: Was the first search engine with an index that had the capability to search under image, audio, and video. Has used the Yahoo search database since Yahoo's purchase of the site in 2003.

  • The Beginning: Hotbot was launched in 1996 by Wired magazine, and was purchased by Lycos in 1998.
  • Strength/Weakness: Now the site gives the customer the option to search using MSN or Ask. It has become an old search engine with limited use, due to lack of technological innovation.

  • The Beginning: Infoseek was founded in 1994 and went public in 1996.
  • The Stats: By September 1997, reported more than 7.3 million visitors per month.
  • Strength/Weakness: Sold Ultraseek, Infoseek's search technology, to Inktomi in 2000, then sold to Verity Inc. in 2002. Now Autonomy PLC owns the rights. Today the address "infoseek.com" redirects users to Go.com.

  • The Beginning: Excite launched in 1997 and was billed as the first customizable search engine.
  • Strength/Weakness: In 1999 Excite merged with @HomeNetwork for $6.7 billion. In 2001 Excite@Home filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Excite was bought by Ask.com in 2004.

  • The Beginning: Northern Light turned on the lights in 1996.
  • The Stats: It has more than 103,000 viewers per week according to alexa.com's three month average.
  • Strength/Weakness: Gives the user the choice of searching through drop-down boxes or personalized search terms. Users are forced to subscribe in order to view results.

  • The Beginning: Google was started in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
  • The Stats: It dominates the search engine market. comScore Media Metrix says more then 47 percent of all searches go through Google.
  • Most Frequent Searches include: "Bebo," "Myspace," and "World Cup."
  • Strength/Weakness: Google continues to add all sorts of other applications, including e-mail, maps, spread sheets, and many others.

  • The Beginning: AlltheWeb launched in 1999.
  • The Stats: Early on, its size rivaled Google's, but it ultimately failed to draw a significant number of users.
  • Strength/Weakness: Overture bought AlltheWeb in 2003 and then sold it to Yahoo in 2004. It now averages fewer than 1,200 viewers per week according to alexa.com.

  • The Beginning: Ask.com launched in 1996 as askjeeves.com.
  • The Stats: Now the fourth most-used search engine, with 5.4 percent of all searches.
  • Most Frequent Searches include: "Myspace," "Definition," and "Cars."
  • Strength/Weakness: "The Algorithm Killed Jeeves" billboard campaign, sighted on both the West and East coasts, could turn into a killer viral marketing strategy for the company.

  • Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' search.wiki.com will attempt to draw upon the wisdom of its online community to deliver relevant search results.
  • Hakia.com, launched in beta by Dr. Riza C. Berkan in 2006, could hold the next technological breakthrough in search with its ability to understand questions and nuance in speech.
  • Searches can be increasingly topic specific. If searching real estate, try looking at Zillow.com. If searching travel, try kayak.com.