A meta search engine is a type of search engine that gives results based on a combination of results from other search engine databases. It specializes in concatenating databases from a variety of search engines and linking search results to relevant sources.
A meta search engine is also known as a metasearch engine.
Meta search engines use a complex algorithm that allows virtual databases to be generated on the fly. A virtual database "virtually" mirrors the physical database results of other search engines.
All search result information and data are listed in a virtual database, and searches may be concentrated according to varied criteria. Thus, no two meta search engines are alike because they all operate with different criteria, such as news sites and newsgroups, depending on the algorithm designed to perform specified search functions.