The Internet Sleuth is less well-known, but it offers a wide variety of specialized searches by category.
Webcrawler is lightning fast and returns a weighted list of links. It analyzes the full text of documents, allowing the searcher to locate keywords which may have been buried deep within a document's text. Read its Search Tips.
Lycos is named after a quick and agile ground spider. It searches document titles, headings, links, and keywords, and returns the first 50 words of each page it indexes for your search. Its search engine is more configurable than Webcrawler. Choose Sites by Subject to browse by topic.
Excite currently contains searches of one and a half million webpages, UseNet news articles and classified ads as well as links to current news, weather, etc. It presents results with a detailed summary to allow you a quicker selection of appropriate sites for information.
Alta Vista is "arguably the most comprehensive index of documents on the web." Use Boolean operators on the Advanced Search screen.
SavvySearch allows you to specify the sources and types of information you want to retrieve.
Metacrawler is highly configurable, similar to Savvy Search, and verifies and collates the results.
See also the June and July, 1996, issues of PC Magazine for extensive reviews of search engines:
Researching With the Web
Finding Your Needles in the Web's Haystack
Select a complex topic (one with several search terms) and search for information about it in each of the above search engines. Compare the results. Now, what's your favorite search engine?