According to recent statistics from Net Applications.com, Google has almost 80% market share for search engines globally. Whilst Baidu (the Chinese equivalent of Google) has 10% market share, Yahoo and Bing have around 8.5%, Ask has 0.5% and ‘Others’ have around 1% of the market share. This article will be looking at some of the ‘other’ search engines that occupy 1% of the market share and recommending 5 of the best alternatives to Google. Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.
1. Duck Duck Go
Duck Duck Go is based in Pennsylvania and was the brain child of entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg. When asked about the name of the search engine, and in a similar manner to the name of Crimson Penguin, Weinberg stated that he ‘just liked it’. Duck Duck Go prides itself on putting the user’s privacy first and it does a pretty good job. It doesn’t store ip addresses, log user information and cookies are only used when needed. This is a far cry from Google’s method of collecting and storing as much information as possible about its users, sometimes even with questionable legality.
Duck Duck Go’s search results are somewhat reminiscent of the early days of Google, before images, videos and various other pieces of information used to pop up, with just a long simple list of relevant results. The search results have been described as a mashup of various sources such as Wikipedia, Yahoo and its own crawler bot (DuckDuckBot). However, rather annoyingly, it doesn’t present search results in pages and instead gives you one long page that you continually have to scroll down. Overall though, DuckDuckGo is a great alternative to Google and certainly provides you with much more privacy, if that is a priority.
Blekko has the ambitious goal of attempting to provide better search results than those offered by Google. A tall order indeed for any search engine but what blekko offers is a unique ‘slashtag’ system to help further categorize your searches. You can use a range of built-in slashtags such as /blogs, use a range of topical slashtags created by experts such as /politics or even create your own slashtags by setting up an account.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of blekko, and especially pertinent to the subject matter of this blog, is the exceptional slashtag /seo, which provides valuable seo data for a given site. This data includes inbound links, anchor text distribution, duplicate content, pages indexed by blekko, crawl data and a handy site comparison feature.
Ixquick is another search engine that’s big on privacy. It bills itself as ‘the world’s most private search engine’ by not capturing ip addresses or tracking cookies. In terms of the usability of the search engine, it has a very nice interface that returns the top ten search results from multiple search engines. It uses a star system that awards a star for every result that’s been returned from a search engine.
Another great feature is the ability, using a sister site called startpage.com, to search using Google whilst keeping your privacy intact. It does this by using a proxy to allow you to view third party pages such as Google, which are loaded through Startpage’s servers. All this means you can get Google search results without sacrificing your user privacy.
Last but by certainly no means least, is this semantic search engine. Hakia describes its search engine as ‘meanings based web search’ which basically means that it can search for the meaning in the words rather than just how often a word is searched and used. It is based on QDEXing technology which the company invented itself that uses a semantic based algorithm. Hakia’s mission, as stated on their site, is ‘to deploy semantic search solutions to meet the challenges of elevated user expectations, business efficiency, and lowest cost.’
Although it looks rather simple on the outside (much like other search engines) it is actually a very powerful search engine and has become one of my personal favourites. The search results provide drop down categories including web, news, twitter, images and video search results all on one page. The category lists are also collapsable so if you would rather just see the image search results you can just close the other category labels.
If you feel I have missed your favourite search engine or would just like to mention it, then feel free to use the comments below.