For years we’ve recognized Google as the undisputed superpower of search engines. Processing over one billion search requests a day and outnumbering every other site in visitors by a huge margin, it seems safe to say that Google is the largest and most popular search engine on the web. However, there are may other search engines that our obsession with Google deprives us of that have their own merits that many users may even prefer over the features of Google. Here are some amazing search engines you may have missed.
You’ve probably heard of Bing, but you may not have ever used the search engine. Though it trails Google by a rather large margin, with about a fourth of the traffic to its website, it is widely accepted as the second largest search engine. It appeared in the popular sphere as Bing as recently as 2009, but the technology behind it has been in production by Microsoft under different names like Msn Search, Windows Live Search, and simply Live Search since 1998, so it still has the years of research and trial and error necessary to create a well functioning search engine. Since its outbreak in 2009, Bing has solidified its position as the first alternative to Google in the public’s eyes.
What is really very pleasant about Bing is its sleek presentation. Somehow, it gives off the impression of being softer and less commercial than the page eating white and standout font colors of Google. On its homepage is always an aesthetically pleasing and constantly changing picture ranging from beautiful landscapes and nature scenes to historical landmarks to poignant scenes of human beings. Every time you open Bing, you are treated to an image that could have come from National Geographic. Beyond its drawing appearance, Bing offers a large range of convenient services for its users like money conversion, spell check, sports updates, translation services, and many others. Another good feature of Bing is its compatible and easy to use mobile compatibility, easily integrated and offering its own range of mobile applications. It’s easy to see why Bing is considered the best search engine after Google.
2. Yahoo! Search
Closely trailing Bing in popularity is the well-known search engine run by Yahoo. Before Bing’s emergence, Yahoo! Search was always considered the second alternative to Google. A constant presence since 1995, Yahoo! Search has proved itself as a reliable and friendly service for its users. Previously, Yahoo has experimented with how to power its search results, moving from Inktomi to Google to its own independently run service, but in 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo produced a deal in which the Yahoo! Search would be powered by Bing, which was an intelligent decision considering Bing’s recent success.
Yahoo! Search is certainly convenient and easily accessible for the less tech savvy populace. The homepage offers a go-to place for many of the features the everyday person wants from the Internet. All in one easy to navigate location is email, news headlines, sports highlights, celebrity news, resources for online shopping, and much more. Yahoo! Search is a perfect place to go to find out what is going on in the world, especially by using its trending topics below the search bar, an excellent resource to get you up to date on what everyone is talking about now. Yahoo! Search’s incorporation of other Yahoo services like Yahoo Answers and Yahoo Finance provide reliable and user friendly results every time.
3. Wolfram Alpha
Most college students will recognize Wolfram Alpha as the go-to for help on math problems. However, Wolfram Alpha provides more than just answers to those infuriatingly complicated problem sets. While the search engine can provide the answers to even the most challenging mathematic quandaries, it also incorporates many more academic resources for the inquisitive mind. Because it collects its data from well-respected college publications and libraries as well as other highly reputable resources, you can be sure of the accuracy of your results. You could spend an afternoon on Wolfram Alpha and come away having learned more than you would in one of those tedious college lectures.
The presentation of this search engine caters very well to its target audience. Everything from the font to the circular patterned background suggests that Wolfram Alpha is a place for students, not only in the sense of enrolled members of a university, but also of the post-school public who still thirst for knowledge. Their homepage boasts the many specialties of the website that read like a list of college majors: mathematics, linguistics, history, physics, astronomy, music, etc. There is an incredible range of subjects you can explore through this search engine. It’s not all academic articles and math solutions, however. Click on surprises and you will discover a range of quirky responses to questions, as Wolfram Alpha also acts like an experimental AI you can play and converse with.
DuckDuckGo is a relatively new search engine that is very quickly growing. Launched in 2008, DuckDuckGo is only now capturing the public interest. Its main draw is its transparency. In an age where most of the big websites are tracking your activities and watching your Internet usage and using this information for commercial purposes, privacy is a huge, valid concern for internet users. DuckDuckGo boasts perfect privacy for its users. It promises not to profile its users or save any of your personal Internet activities for any purpose, commercial or otherwise. The downside of this is that your search results are not personalized to your own preferences. However, there is a certain safety in knowing that the page you are given is the same as the one given to everyone else and there is certainly safety in knowing that your search engine is not watching you back. In line with its transparency policy, the search engine is entirely open-source. You can even find the code written to run the website on GitHub, so the site is incredibly trustworthy.
The page itself is simple, evoking the feeling of trust and transparency that DuckDuckGo focuses on. In order to combat the lack of personalization from other search engines, DuckDuckGo offers customization options that you can control like a variety of languages and themes for the site. In 2014, DuckDuckGo launched a redesign designed to make it even more accessible and easy to use. It focuses now on answering searches intelligently without using your personal information. What you are looking for is now easy to find without using invasive methods. The idea is that you can find your desired result in fewer clicks by narrowing your search to more specific categories that you can even personalize yourself. For example, you could create a search category of recipes that you could specifically search under. These methods create a personal and non-violating experience for the user.
Ask.com, once known as Ask Jeeves, is another popular search engine founded back in 1996. Though it followed much of the same system as Google in the past, Ask.com has moved more towards a question and answer site as the pure search engine competition proved too steep. This provides the site with a little more quirk and character than the big search engines that just spew out the endless stream of links and information. Ask.com provides answers to your burning questions on a large range of subjects similarly to Wolfram Alpha including art & literature, business & finance, history, etc. but it caters more to the layman than the academics of Wolfram Alpha, especially with topics like beauty & fashion, food, and home & garden.
Ask.com definitely feels more like an everyman’s search engine. It is simply set up for your everyday inquiries without the clutter apparent on other sites or the focus on academics and political Internet conflicts. The name Ask Jeeves will also bring back a lot of pleasant nostalgia for some users as we remember that beloved internet mascot, and if you go to the UK version of ask.com which still provides all the same services, you will still find that beloved butler bringing you your results on a silver platter though he has had a more modern redesign in recent years. The nostalgia and friendly atmosphere of Ask.com keeps you coming back for more.
Gibiru is much smaller and relatively unknown compared to all the previously mentioned search engines. Founded in 2009 by Internet Privacy advocates, Gibiru promises complete privacy and anonymity. It is made in rebellion against the big sites and their apparent violation of human rights in the functioning of their search engines. Utilizing super secure search encryption, un-personalized results, and a pointed non-partnership policy with the NSA, Gibru does seem like the most secure option if you are worried about your Internet privacy. Gibiru also boasts an uncensored system of information delivery. Many of the big name search engines shape their results to follow mainstream media, whereas Giburu uses its own system to investigate the vast amount of information on the web and focus on the more alternative views and promote these results that are silenced in the larger search engines in its uncensored news section. Giburu is a search engine focused heavily on Internet and information freedom for the populace. Its less commercially designed page is a small price for the security it provides.
Regular Internet users know Wikipedia as a fantastically useful online encyclopedia full of easily accessible information that is constantly being updated. Well, there is good news; Wikipedia has launched a program to build its own search engine. Though the project is far from finished, it is eagerly anticipated as it promises a transparent search system. It does not intend to immediately replace Google as it will not provide the search of Google’s vast accumulation of data but only information from Wikipedia and its related free knowledge projects, eventually incorporating open sources of knowledge. This is an extremely exciting development, as anyone who has used it will know of its phenomenal collection of information that can provide discovery after discovery. Even more exciting is that this new project; along with providing the services we know and love from Wikipedia, promises perfect privacy and absolutely no ads!
There are many features of Internet search engines you could miss by committing solely to Google. These may be less popular because they do not appeal as widely as Google, but their individualities that make them less largely applicable and popular make them more unique and compelling than a search engine superpower. The smaller search engines here make your searching more personal. So explore your options before you result to Google; you may be surprised by the variety of search engines out there. You could find something perfect for you.