As someone who grew up in the 90’s, I remember using lots of different search engines before Google came to the scene. In those days, people were pretty split up between different options. There were a ton of search engines to pick from. Today however, Google is the universal favorite. Like other websites from the 90’s, Google has gotten much better. And while over 75% of internet searches are conducted through Google today, there are still other options.
Why Use a Search Engine Other Than Google?
It’s true there are lots of reasons why Google might be your first stop when doing an Internet search. And there are good reasons for this. But what about the bad reasons? Let’s talk briefly about the 2 primary reasons why I sometimes use other search engines.
SEO Doesn’t Matter
For lots of businesses, showing up in a Google search result has become a pay to play game. I consult for a local power washing company, All Touch Power Wash & Paint. When people do a search on Google for a power washing service provider in Baltimore, MD, what do you think they type into the search bar? Most of the time, they type: power washing Baltimore. If I do that search on Google, here’s what I get:
You may notice that even using an HD desktop monitor, all of the visible search results are paid advertisements. I have to scroll all the way down before I start seeing real organic results. This is an example of Google telling businesses, “If you don’t pay us, we’ll bury you out of sight”. As a small business owner, this can be infuriating as larger businesses with big advertising budgets dominate the top slots even if their SEO sucks. As a potential customer, I don’t want to have to sift through ads before I find real search results. Worse yet, I might find myself doing business with whoever is at the top of the list simply because they paid to be there.
Google is massive. Their Chrome browser tracks everything you do and Google Analytics tracks site visitors in scary detail. Look up a pair of new headphones on Amazon and then your favorite news site is serving up headphone ads in the sidebars. While targeted advertising does have it’s advantages to consumers, it’s still kinda creepy. You may also simply want to shop online for something specific without related items showing up in your ads.
The 8 Search Engines You Might Want to Consider Instead of Google
While some of the search engines presented below may be familiar to you, others might be completely new. And although Google might still be the overall better search engine, each one of these other options illustrate a strength over Google in one way or another.
Bing is the 2nd most used search engine on the web. Owned by Microsoft, about 10-15% of US-based searches are preformed on Bing.
Bing has an excellent video search and preview function that’s superior to Google. If you like fresh new looks, Bing’s homepage changes daily with high-quality images.
If you have to troubleshoot a Microsoft product, searches with Bing tends to give more relevant results. In fact, that’s one of the primary reasons I use it. And it makes sense that Mircrosoft’s search engine would have a complete index of Microsoft’s documentation.
Hearkening back to the 90’s, Yahoo! has come a long way while still holding onto some of those more nostalgic elements of old school Internet.
Yahoo! is more than just a search engine. While other search engines have moved towards minimalism, Yahoo! offers up the latest news and trends right on the homepage. It reminds me of a time when nobody typed in urls; your homepage was essentially your gateway to the Internet.
Yahoo! has managed to still feel like a great jumping off point for your Internet adventures while leaving behind the 90’s clutter and garbage.
Dogpile has actually been around for quite a long time. It’s pretty fast and has a nice clean interface. Believe it or not, Dogpile was a major player before Google came onto the seen in the late 90’s.
Unfortunately Dogpile has a similar pay to play layout like Google, leaving the top results for paid ads. This is the primary reason I don’t use it. That being said, it’s a nice change of scenery and it also keeps a recent search list on the sidebar which is useful for people who do a lot of research online.
If Google’s data mining freaks you out, then DuckDuckGo is a great option to switch to. Whether you’re in private browsing mode or not, DuckDuckGo won’t track you.
DuckDuckGo presents a clean, no nonsense approach to Internet searches. It’s also fast, and returns very good search results.
Previously known as ixquick, StartPage is another fully private search engine alternative to Google. While they pull the majority of search results from the Google index, it gathers zero information about the user.
One nice thing about not being tracked by your search engine is that you get search results based on the search instead of your location, etc… If you’re looking for general information that shouldn’t be location-specific, it ensures you’ll get the best result instead of the geographically closest one.
Yandex is a Russian multinational technology company. They specialize in a wide array of Internet services and products. It’s one of the top search engine providers in Russia.
One of the nice things about using a search engine based in a different country is that they run on a different set of rules. While that could be a double-edged sword, it’s nice to have a results based on a different set of rules.
For searching the Deep Web, you can’t beat Yippy. It searches other search engines on your behalf.
Yippy is perfect if you’re searching for something very niche or obscure. It’s especially useful for low-traffic sites that aren’t normally indexed by conventional search engine crawlers.
Plenty of Search Engines
Just as Google isn’t the only choice with search engines, neither are the 7 alternatives we’ve mentioned here. Do some research and you’ll find that the Internet still has hundreds of other search engines to offer.
What’s your favorite search engine? Let us know in the comments.
Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He's also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.