A List of Highly Capable Alternative Search Engines

April 18, 2019

Alternative Search Engines

A Word About Google

Lately, it seems as if more and more people are ready to give up on Google and instead move on to other companies that provide similar services. Considering that Google is the world’s largest search engine and also offers a variety of useful tools (such as Gmail, Google Docs, or Google Spreadsheets), many wonder why this trend has started in the first place. After all, we can only expect the best from the best, right?

In this article, we will explore the main arguments as to why choosing from the alternative search engines might be a wise move, while also giving updated information and insights on a few alternative, highly capable search engines.

Alternative Search Engines

Why You Might Want to Consider Giving up on Google Search

To kick things off, it’s important to give Google some praise. As part of the ALPHABET conglomerate, the search engine certainly has one of the most advanced search algorithms, and by far, the biggest market share. Its web crawlers are highly efficient, and most search results are relevant. But there are some pretty big downsides. The following covers some reason for considering search engines other than Google.

Tracking and Collecting Personal Data

The protection of personal data has become one of the highest concerns of the decade. Numerous companies have been found to actively track the way you use the web, their apps, your computer, and your phone. Generally, this data is used to facilitate better ad placement, yet privacy-conscious people are in no way happy with the amount of information being collected.

By default, Google collects a wide array of information on its users, and turning this process off completely is quite difficult. When you create a Google account, by default, your search history is logged and analyzed, alongside lots of other data.

To put things better into perspective, Google, unlike certain other search engines, shares the types of data they collect. This can include, but is not limited to, your search history, videos you’ve watched, any ads you saw or clicked on, the websites you visited, and the devices you’ve used for accessing Google’s services.

If you have a Google account, or use other services provided by Google, there are other types of data that are being tracked, stored and analyzed: name, gender, birthday, phone number, emails you receive, emails you send, photos, videos, contacts, events you join, all the documents you create on Google Drive, and more. Additionally, cookies can also be tracked, thus helping with the creation of detailed user profiles of internet users. Just the data tracking is enough to convince some to look into alternative search engines.

Since it has faced quite a bit of backlash over its data collection, Google has attempted to explain why and how this data helps it offer better services to its customers. For instance, by tracking location history, Maps works faster. Tracking the search history helps the search engine quickly autocomplete your searches. YouTube also takes these factors into consideration to recommend new videos.

In hindsight, you aren’t personally affected by this tracking, but many people prefer not to have this amount of personal data stored and analyzed. But consider this: the goal of SERPs is to show you what you really want to see. Therefore, you get results delivered based on your personal user profile, which may cause you to miss out on other searches. The argument for considering search engines other than Google here derives from the fact that you can’t turn off the data collection, although you can opt out of a part of it.

In fact, because of tracking-related controversies, the last couple of years have brought along the appearance of numerous privacy-conscious search engines. We will talk about their main benefits later on, yet some of these other search engines include DuckDuckGo, Gibiru, SwissCows, Qwant, and many more. Even so, studies show that Google still has 92% of the market share.

There Are Specialized Search Engines for Specialized Searches

Generally, Google fails to answer complex questions, since it doesn’t actively compute your search queries. For instance, a question pertaining to arithmetic will be better suited for a search engine like Wolfram Alpha.

Additionally, if you take an interest in the Deep Web, Google is basically pointless, since its crawlers do not index deep pages. There are, however, options that do. We’ll talk about them shortly.

Even though Google owns YouTube, for some reason their video web search results aren’t the most satisfactory. In fact, other search engines tend to do a much better job in this regard.  

Alternative Search Engines Worth Your Consideration

When it comes down to comparing search engines to one another, there are several factors worth taking into consideration. These include privacy, ads, search capabilities, extra tools, and the user interface. For the list of search engines below, we have taken each of these factors into account. Without further ado, here are the best alternative search engines for 2019.

Alternative Search Engines1. Bing

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, has a well-consolidated presence online, granted that it is the world’s second biggest search engine. Unlike Google, Bing strives to focus less on text and more on images, hence providing users with a visually enjoyable experience. In fact, many people swear by Bing’s capabilities for video search, which are apparently much better than Google’s, since numerous features (like selecting the quality/size of the video etc.) are available. Additionally, Bing also has several tools that are targeted to programmers. Needless to say, it’s commonly considered one of the best alternatives to Google.

For a while, search results made with Bing were provided by Yahoo!, back when Yahoo Search was a direct competitor to Google Search. Since then, things have changed, as Bing has created its very own SERP algorithm and web crawler.

In terms of its features, Bing offers several of the general tools you’d expect from most free search engines, alongside some special ones. For instance, in terms of its interface features, Bing changes the background image on a daily basis, thus constantly serving users fresh and beautiful images. The Bing search also comes with several cool media features, including the video thumbnail view (videos being playing upon hovering over them with your cursor), or continuous image search (just like Google).

The search engine also grants users access to instant answers for several types of search queries. These include sports results, finance indicators, currency conversion rates, unit conversion, mathematical computations, general calculations, dictionary results, flight tracking, health information, auto translation, and more. In fact, most of the options on our search engines list offer similar tools.

At this time, Bing serves as the mainframe for Yahoo Search, thanks to a deal made between Yahoo and Microsoft. As such, most searches carried out via this platform will be similar to those queried directly via Bing. Following the deal, Yahoo did state that it will still introduce different perks meant to help the search experience seem different when compared to the one offered by Bing. Tracking still happens, however. For some, this might be a certain downside that leads to looking for search engines besides Google and Bing.

In terms of advertisements, purchasing ads is done directly from Bing for individual users. On the other hand, big advertisers are given access to Yahoo’s account representatives, yet the ads are still introduced into Bing’s back-end.

Alternative Search Engines2. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is by far one of the best internet search engines for everyone who is interested in protecting their personal data online and making sure that their search results aren’t being tracked.

The company’s mission is to set a new standard of trust online by helping empower individuals to thoroughly control their personal information while browsing the World Wide Web. Since personal data is essential for targeting ads (thus increasing profitability for search engines), you may ask yourself how this appealing Google alternative earns money, granted that their service is free. Well, advertisements are still displayed, but under the sponsored links technique. This means that the search engine doesn’t track your interests to determine what types of ads to show, but rather only shows ads that are related to the topic you’re searching for. If you’re against ads, you don’t even need to use an ad blocker, as there’s a setting you can use to turn off advertisements. Because of this, DuckDuckGo is included among the types of search engines that are partially or fully anonymous.

It’s important to keep in mind that search engine anonymity comes with a flaw. The algorithm doesn’t know who you are or what your interests are. Because of this, results aren’t directly targeted to your main interests and may not appear as relevant as Google’s.

On the other hand, browsing through neutral results is a good exercise, as it helps expand your knowledge of a particular topic. Despite the non-targeted results, if you have a bit of skill when it comes down to browsing the internet, you’ll surely find exactly what you are looking for with each search.

DuckDuckGo, as well as a few other search engines, also attempts to further simplify search results by using metadata. For instance, you can target the results yourself by selecting search criteria, or picking the language/country.

While it does miss some of the features associated with Google, DuckDuckGo also offers some innovative tools. One of these is !Bangs, which is a service that allows you to search or specific pieces of information within a website, thus making browsing even faster.

DuckDuckGo allows several customization options, thus you can tailor the experience to your likes. DuckDuckGo, like Google and Bing, provides instant search. It surely isn’t as refined when compared to the two competitors, yet it offers some cool features. For instance, you can use the search bar to generate long-string passwords, find rhyming words, open up a stopwatch, or pull information directly from its source.

The DuckDuckGo search engine is always accessible via URL, but it also offers an app for Android and iOS devices. A browser extension is also available if you decide to make the switch.

So, in a DuckDuckGo vs Google competition, each engine has benefits and flaws: while Google offers better search results, DuckDuckGo protects personal data. However, you should also know that DuckDuckGo is the default search engine for the Tor Browser. This means that you can use it to look for links buried inside the deep web, thus granting users access to a much grander search result potential.

Alternative Search Engines3. Qwant

So far, we have outlined the most important choices, but what other search engines are there? And are they worth it? We definitely think so. In many ways, Qwant and DuckDuckGo are quite similar. With this in mind, Qwant is an increasingly popular search engine that focuses on providing users with privacy assurance. As such, the company promises to never track web behavior, searches, or other forms of personal data for the purpose of targeting ads. This ranks it well it among other private search engines.

The engine’s user interface is certainly pleasing, and search results are well organized under three main categories: web, social, and news. This makes browsing a more pleasant and efficient experience.

Speaking of the user interface, this search engine also offers a quick view for news stories or other trending topics, thus making it dynamic and pleasing to use. Features like this make it one of the more viable alternatives to Google products.

Qwant offers a cool tool named Qwick Search Shortcuts, thus allowing users to search for items on specific websites, such as Amazon. So far, hundreds of websites are supported, and others are constantly being added.

Qwant is also quite popular for its music search engine, which can be used to either look for a particular artist, album, or song or to search for entirely new music based on genres and other preferences. More so, the dedicated music section employs the use of artificial intelligence to further help with discovering new music or finding the lyrics to your favorite songs. So, in this regard, it’s a feature-packed non-Google search engine.

Just like DuckDuckGo, search queries aren’t personalized, so they don’t depict your personal interests. This is also good news since it provides more sources of information.

Alternative Search Engines4. SwissCows

SwissCows has been on the market for quite a while—yet it was initially branded as Hulbee. It represents a more than capable search engine, which can definitely yield good SERPs for those that get used to it. At this time, it occupies one of the higher spots on the list of the top 50 search engines.

There are two main factors contributing to its ascension. First, the search engine is marketed as being child-appropriate, thanks to its multitude of easily managed parental controls. It comes along with a capable filter meant to protect children from seeing violent or pornographic content. Due to the way the search engine is built, this filter cannot be overridden.

Apart from this aspect, SwissCows is also one of the privacy-conscious alternative search engines. The company has often stated that it does not track users, so there’s no collection of personal data, search history, online identifiers, or IP addresses. It is also worth pointing out that the engine’s servers operate from Switzerland, which is known for its protective data privacy legislation. Since no data is tracked, this means that, like DuckDuckGo, its ads are based on the things you search for, rather than your personal location or interests.

In terms of search engine performance, SwissCows utilizes the Bing mainframe when offering intuitive search engine results. This, however, is not a flaw, granted that Bing is known for its strong algorithms, and after all, it is one of the best alternatives to Google.

Conclusion

Based on everything that has been outlined so far, clearly Google isn’t your only search engine choice. Our recommendation is to check out these suggestions, and even research other options, and determine what works best for your current needs.

Let’s not forget that Google’s results remain the best by popular consensus. However, the tools and privacy-oriented approach of the numerous alternative search engines available on the market may make one worth switching too.

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