In case you're not familiar with Dogpile, it's a meta-search engine. The tool searches through information results from Bing, Yandex, Yahoo, Google and other engines. It's not as well known as Google and Yahoo, but it retrieves or "fetches" results in much the same way, hence the name Dogpile. We wanted to know more about the search engine so we delved into its past and present to see what we could find out about its history, how popular it is and where the company plans to go in the future. Here are 20 interesting things that you probably didn't know about Dogpile.
1. Dogpile launched in November of 1996
It's been around for 22 years so far. Although it's been in operation for more than two decades, it hasn't earned the reputation that some of the more well-known search engines have. Of course, it's tough to compete with some of the giants that occupy the web with a more prolific presence, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. It occupies that position in cyberspace with many other engines of its size. We found out that there are a lot of them out there.
2. Dogpile was created out of frustration
The developer of Dogpile was Aaron Flin. He wasn't satisfied with the results that he was achieving when attempting to conduct searches with the indexes that were in existence at the time. His intention was to setup Dogpile as an engine that would query multiple indexes to obtain the best search results. When it first began it fetched information from Yahoo directory, Excite, Webcrawler, Lycos, AltaVista, Infoseek, WhatUseek, HotBot and the World Wide We Worm.
3. Its true capacity wasn't realized by most
We discovered that Dogpile was compared with MetaCrawler, which is a search engine that was launched prior to Dogpile with a multi-threaded search platform. Most were not aware that Dogpile was actually a more advanced search engine and that it searched from Usenet and FTP via other channels. It had a larger scope of information channels than MetaCrawler, but this is something that the public didn't realize, nor would many who were not familiar with the way search engines work even understand or care about. In other words, it was a lot better than what people gave it credit for.
4. Dogpile changed ownership twice in a year
Dogpile went through a few big changes from 1999 through 2000. Thy were first acquired by Go2net in August of 1999. At the time the new parent company was operating MetaCrawler. The following July, Infospace acquired Go2net and all of its subsidiaries with a price tag of $4 billion. It was under its first year of ownership by Infospace that Dogpile received a new design.
5. Dogpile thrived under Infospace
Dogpile went up in its popularity with browsers and it also earned other types of recognition. In 2006 and again in 2007, it was named as the best Residential Online Search Engine by J.D. Power. This award was a direct result of public polling that J.D. Power performs, so it gave an honest review of what Americans thought about the engine. This was very good news.
6. Dogpile supports animal charities
Dogpile partnered with an organization called Petfinder in August of 2008. The following November the search engine company launched a new program that was called "Search and Rescue." The program makes monetary donations to charities that are related to animals. It also assists people in finding the help that is necessary for animals who are in need. Later in 2008, the total amount of funding that Dogpile had raised for the Search and Rescue program was $100,000.
7. Dogpile changed owners again in 2016
More changes were in store for Dogpile. In July of 2016, its parent company was sold to a company called OpenMail. The total cost of the acquisition was $45 million. At the time of the purchase, the company was named OpenMail, but they later changed their name to System1.
8. Dogpile was involved in heavy research
Dogpile was approached by University of Pittsburgh and well as Pennsylvania State University researchers about the possibility of a collaboration. They agreed to the proposal in April of 2005. The studies sought to measure the ranking differences among leading web search engines along with the overlap, so they could assess the advantages of using a meta-search engine in web searches.
9. The Research studies were helpful in understanding the differences
In short, the studies conducted through the collaboration between Dogpile and the two university research teams discovered that a comparison of Google, Yahoo and ask Jeeves resulted in only a 3.2 percent similarity. When they repeated another study with Google, Yahoo, MSN Search and Ask Jeeves, the percentages went down. Only 1.1 percent of the results on the return of the first page was the same. This showed that the kind of results a user would receive from a web search depended on which engine that they used and they were not even close to being the same. Identical queries were used in the studies so it's obvious that each search engine operates through different channels to gather indexed information.
10. The studies led Dogpile to make changes
When the researchers revealed the results of their studies, Dogpile realized that there was a need to make some big changes. People who were searching the web were not getting the information that they were looking for returned on the first page of search results. Dogpile was inspired to redefine their own existing meta-search engine so they could improve on the results that were being delivered to those submitting queries.
11. Dogpile offers search by category links
Dogpile seeks to continually improve the quality and relevance of the results that their search engine fetches for users submitting a query. They offer category links which aid users in focusing their search on specific categories. Some options include, News, Audio, and other broad categories so they can begin by defining the type of results that they are looking for. By adding this extra definition, the results of the search are even more defined over conducting a more broad search in all or any category.
12. Arfie is the Dogpile mascot
Dogpile has an interesting representative who appears on their front page. Arfie is the dog that all users see. Underneath Arfie you'll find the search bar that is located in the middle of ht home page. It's a clean page that doesn't contain a lot of clutter, so it's easy to use. The use of this really cool visual brings together the jargon under a canine themed search engine that retrieves fetches. These are terms that other search engine uses but having the name Dogpile and the Arfie character representing the site just seems to wrap the dog theme together in a neat and tidy package. There is even a section for searching that is called "Arfie's Most Wanted."
13. Arfie's Most Wanted is useful for research
Here is a fun fact about Dogpile. Their Arfie's Most Wanted turns up information about the things that most people are searching for at any given time. It's a good way to find out what's on people's minds and how the most popular searches change from one week to another. When it comes to conducting an informal study about how popular interests change over a period in time, this section will let you know what most people are looking for.
14. Dogpile has a different structure than Google
There are some people who believe that all search engines are pretty much the same, but as recent studies have shown, this simply isn't true. When you compare a search on Dogpile, to on on Google search, you'll be able to tell the difference. To start, Google uses a variety of different search engines to retrieve information on queries. This includes Google, Bing and others. When you type in a query on Dogpile and then do the same thing on Google, you're going to get different results from each on the first page. There may be a few similarities, but there won't be many in most cases. This is because they are structured slightly different and use different resources to obtain their fetches.
15. They have amazing news articles for kids
Dogpile news features some great educational resources for kids. For example, their Dogpile News: Amazing Facts about dogs provides some very interesting information about dogs and it's presented in a format that makes it easy for kids to understand. It includes images and fact that educate kids about some interesting facts that most adults don't even know. This is just one example of how diverse and useful this classification and service under Dogpile's offerings are. Dogpile is a great resource for home schooling parents as well as for kids that are hungry to gain more knowledge on a topic.
16. Dogpile has received high honors
Here is yet another interesting fact about Dogpile that most people are not aware of. They were named by PC World as the winner of their "Best of the Web" feature. They made their announcement in the February 2004 edition of the magazine. Dogpile also placed very high in the category of Browser Toolbar Plug-Ins and they won the "PC World Best Bet Award" that was placed within that classification.
17. Dogpile was lauded for its options
Reviewers gave Dogpile very high marks for its Dogpile Toolbar and other useful features that makes it easy to use. Their Web Search, the popup blocker and its built in option for highlighting search terms within a page were all things that the reviewers believed make the site one of the best search engine options on the web. Even though it isn't as well known as the top rated search engines, there are those who use it the most often to conduct their searches because they are aware of its capabilities and they benefit from the more precise and relevant results that it returns from their search queries. When Google won a search engines award from PC World, Dogpile was right behind it as a runner up within that category. The searching of multiple leading engines simultaneously is one of the attributes that makes Dogpile so highly favored among those more familiar with it.
18. Dogpile takes results a step further
Another interesting fact about Dogpile is that after it fetches the results of your search it automatically organizes the results into separate groups by category. It offers an option that is considered to be quite innovative that is called Refine Your Results. This helps users to make their search results even more relevant so they can more precisely find the information that they are looking for in a faster time frame.
19. Your feedback counts with Dogpile
Dogpile is a company that is interested in continually improving their services for the end user. When they solicit your honest feedback on the services, it's not just for show. They want to have your opinions both negative and positive. A consumer who doesn't like some aspect of a feature or service may be the person who inspires them to make yet more innovative and helpful changes that improve the service. It's this kind of attitude that has helped them to become so popular and well-respected among their current user base.
20. Dogpile is one of the internet's best kept secrets
In all of the information about Dogpile that we reviewed, one comment surfaced several times. There is an acknowledgement among users that Dogpile is a search engine that is extremely well-liked among its users, but there are a lot of people who have never used it or even heard about it. The reason for this is because they are constantly bombarded with advertisements by Google sponsored ads as well as word of mouth from peers. Google has become a pop culture name and term that indicates it's "The" search engine of choice. That's exactly what it's become for many users who haven't tried other search engines, or who have tried one of the lower performing engines and decided not to stray from Google again. If you're willing to give Dogpile a try, you might like it!
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson