Macintosh users are accustomed to either patiently waiting for the release of Mac versions of software packages or industriously hunting for alternatives to popular Windows-only software. Most of the popular Web search sites such as Google, Yahoo!, and Ask Jeeves have long made search toolbars available. However, none of the major players has released a Macintosh version of these toolbars and I'm not holding my breath. But that doesn't mean Mac users are left out in the cold; there are many different options. Some of these options are better than others.
Searching the Internet using a Mac has several angles when one starts looking for software assistance. I'll concentrate on applications that run under Mac OS X, leaving out those that only work under the old Macintosh system 9.2. I'll discuss Sherlock, browsers such as Safari and Firefox, and some of the many searchbars -- small applications that act as stand-alone search boxes and return results to your default browser. I'll also discuss some major Macintosh applications that allow searching of the Internet with some advanced features. Note that although this article will focus on the Macintosh platform, all the tools for Firefox are cross-platform-compatible, so Windows users can benefit from the sections covering Firefox.
Apple has provided one application to act as a Web service -- Sherlock. This application, which comes with every Macintosh computer, allows you to search the Internet using About.com, Best Site 1st, Looksmart, Lycos, and Overture. Plug-ins allow you to search Google as well as the Google directory. Sherlock lets you look up other types of information without resorting to use of your Web browser.
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