If you travel frequently, chances are, you have already heard about travel booking sites like Skyscanner, Jetcost, and Kayak. These are meta search engine that provide a platform to online travel agents and travelers. It doesn’t sell flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacations directly, but redirects the users to the specific travel agent, which is offering the deal. Not just Skyscanner, even Google Flights, Trip Advisor, and Trivago are also meta search engines. You send a query and it comes up with thousands of information related to your query.
Basically, Meta search engine is an aggregator that sends queries to several search engines or aggregates the results into one master list or categorizes the results by the search engine they come from. It allows the user to enter one single query and share results from multiple sources.
For example, if you search for a flight on Skyscanner, it comes up with all available data. It shows flight deals from all travel agencies registered with Skyscanner. This way it is easier for the users to get information on flights for a specific date. It also allows them to compare the price across multiple suppliers and select the most affordable and relevant results. However, it is not just limited to travel booking services.
Metasearch engines have been around for a long time. The idea was first conceived by Deniel Dreilinger of Colorado State University, who introduced the world its first metasearch engine Searchsavvy,, which lets users search up to 20 different search engines and directories at once. However, at that time, it didn’t have any filters, restricted to simple searches, and was not really reliable.
Later came MetaCrawler in 1995, which was developed by Eric Selberg, a student of University of Washington. He added its own search syntax behind the scene to match the syntax to that of the search engines. While it wasn’t perfect too, it paved the road for future generation metasearch engines.
How Do Metasearch Engine Work
Generally, when you use metasearch engines, they collect information from multiple search engines and merge it together to provide you with a list of results. In many cases, users can also refine their search by adding filters. In that case, metasearch engines use internal system to consolidate results and provide results by specific criteria. The algorithm of metasearch engines provides more data coverage and displays results from multiple sources.
Advantages of Metasearch Engines
With metasearch engines you receive much more information that you would receive from a search engine. Metasearch engines offer Internet users the advantage of conducting searches across multiple search engines at once, resulting in uniform and organized search results.
IxQuick and Vivismo are examples of metasearch engines that have developed their own post-processing algorithms to rank the aggregated results, based on relevance and source authority.
Disadvantages of Metasearch Engine
Metasearch engines lack the ability to fully or accurately comprehend query syntax. Moreover, even though metasearch engines have the advantage of tapping into a larger pool of information, they fail to deliver as many results as search engines do. Additionally, sponsored results remain prioritized and prominently showcased.