2013 Usenet Guide : Search Engines

In the last couple weeks we’ve covered the basics along with newsreader setup.  Now we’ll dive a little deeper and look at how to find content.  The mystery that can confuse and frustrate many users as they start to use newsgroups.  If you’re downloading headers to find content then props for the old school technique but there are often easier ways.  Today we’ll take a look at Usenet clients with built-in search engines and some NZB sites.

Usenet Clients with Built-In Search

We’ll start by looking at the capabilities of the popular Newshosting client.  It is offered free of charge to members.  With their current special you can enjoy unlimited Usenet and full access to their client for $9.99 a month.  It’s not just the price though.  The Newshosting client includes a number of advanced features that make finding content easier.  Along with a new auto-search feature that will grab new content as soon as it hits.

Newshosting search engine

We can never get enough Ubuntu distros.  As you can see above we searched for the term Ubuntu inside the Newshosting client.  In turn it brought back all the results that matched our query.  From there we narrowed the search by filtering the results to just include ISO images.  Other options include video, audio and software.  You can use the newsreader to search, preview, download and repair your favorite content.

The most exciting feature was just recently released.  With the introduction of a new auto-search.

Newshosting auto search

With auto-search you can set up the Newshosting client to watch for content.  We’re using Ubuntu as our sample query.  In this case we set the engine to look for anything that matched our query with some additional filters.  The search was set to be valid from April 30th until May 7th.  We could have set a much larger scope but went small for our sample.  The file size was set to between 800 MB and 1 GB to narrow the results.

You have some additional choices.  We told the client to “Only show results”.  Letting us choose whether or not to download the content.  Let’s say you want the latest edition of your favorite podcast to download as soon as it hits Usenet.  If so you’ll want to set auto-search to either “Download one search result”” or “Download all search results”.  You can test out the settings and choose a different option for each search.

Newshosting isn’t the only client with advanced search features.  Other premium clients like Newsbin Pro and NewsLeecher also have built-in engines.  You will incur some additional cost with either of those options.  The price is around $2-$3 a month for search.  Newsbin calls their feature Internet Search and NewsLeecher calls theirs SuperSearch.  Both clients recently rolled out auto-search features as well.

Using NZB Sites and Search Engines

Now a days we’re seeing more and more users shift to search inside of clients.  In the past that wasn’t the case.  With popular sites like Newzbin and Nzbmatrix.  Where a community of users would share comments on their favorite posts.  Unfortunately both of those sites closed in late 2012.  There are several new sites looking to fill the void.  We keep a list of NZB sites with open registration to help you get started.

Along with NZB sites there are also automated search engines.  Our favorite is Binsearch.  We’ve recommended the site for years.  It has a simple design and easy to use interface.  For us though nothing can beat the convenience of searching from within the newsreader.  The additional step of using an outside site was useful when a community provided good comments.  That might be the case again as some new sites grow.

Next week we’ll cover mobile access to newsgroups.  With some of our favorite iOS and Android Usenet apps.