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The Information Age we live in offers everything in just seconds. Information hunger has become an inevitable part of our daily lives. But to get information, we need a tool. A good search engine is just this kind of tool. Search sites determine what information we consume, how fast we get it, and how well online searching is adapted to our tastes.
While Google Search is a no-brainer for most people, it’s not perfect. Mainly because of blatant data collecting for monetizing your digital personality. Are there good search engines other than Google? It depends on your goals. To find the best search engine, let’s take a look at other search engines and how they work.
What Are Search Engines
Top search engines are primarily commercial enterprises. The goal of running a major search engine is to make profits. Profits can be received from contextual advertising, other types of advertising, or pushing certain sites to the top of search results. The largest search engines can be monetized in an endless amount of ways.
The profits of popular search engines depend on how many visitors they have. The larger the audience, the more people will see the ad. Accordingly, advertising will cost more. Top-ranked search engines can increase their audience by improving service quality, algorithms, and search convenience. The most important and challenging thing here is developing a fully functioning search algorithm that would provide relevant results for most user queries.
All of the most popular search engines work roughly the same. They search for web information, then store and sort it for better information delivery to the end user. However, the algorithms of advanced search engines might differ considerably. Such algorithms are top secret, of course. When you’re searching for the same thing, each popular search engine might show you different results. This is why algorithms matter so much. A proper algorithm should take into account the following points of a site:
- Content quality;
- Navigation and structure;
- Related behavioral factors.
How Do Search Engines Work
In simple terms, major search engines do scanning, indexing, and ranking. The number of sites is growing at an astronomical scale. World search engines need to deliver each piece of web information to the end user. Scanning, indexing, and ranking are about managing this scale.
Sites for searching roam the Internet to collect new information that can be delivered to the end user. This work is performed by special web crawlers. They automatically visit sites and collect all the necessary data. After a first-time visit, the web crawler enters the site into the database. Then, the web crawler monitors the site for any changes. The main goal of a web crawler is to find information and deliver it for the next phase – indexing.
Searching websites deal with information within their databases. If scanning implies a data search, indexing is about entering information into an internal search engine company database. New sites might need to wait before they’re included in the database. On the other hand, already indexed sites are one step closer to the database. This means all the changes will also be indexed much faster.
So indexing has introduced certain information into the database. What’s next? This information should then be ranked to know what to deliver to the end user first. Ranking directly works to serve visitors of search engine sites.
Biggest search engine servers process and form information for a huge range of requests. That’s when top search engine algorithms matter the most. All sites listed in the database are classified by topics, which are divided into request groups.
The best search engine
Habits can make us ignore other things around us. We can miss the most advanced search engines with unique functionality or design. But what if habits are the best overall option? Google Search is undoubtedly the top dog when it comes to top search engine ranking. This is both a good and bad thing.
The bad thing is that Google Search can leverage your personal data for business purposes, like contextual ads. Given how good Google is at collecting data, its advertising business is safe for decades to come. This is why a significant amount of people look for private alternative search engines to Google, which we will talk about a bit later.
The good thing is that Google Search offers the best feature package among the most used search engines. This is why Google Search is the biggest search engine in the world. Google perfectly knows that the more third-party businesses are involved – the more stable a search site is. Things like Google passage ranking and the E-A-T algorithm keep most competitors far behind. Not to mention AI-based features that are yet to reveal their full potential.
However, monopoly is never a good thing, as it leads to industry stagnation. Google can easily increase the number of annoying ads or other monetized projects at any moment. This is why paying attention to other search engines besides Google is so important for the end user. While most of them are not as comprehensive as Google Search, not everyone needs fancy algorithms to search for something like a cookie recipe. Fortunately, there are plenty of decent alternative search engines with handy killer features.
The best alternatives to Google Search
Google Search is where most SEOs optimize their projects, but you can miss out on other traffic opportunities by ignoring alternatives to Google.
Bing offers the same core features as Google Search, but there are some advanced features that people usually underestimate. That’s why Bing is first among the best alternative search engines.
- Offers a better visual approach to searching;
- Users can choose the format for displaying snippets in the search results. For example, a short or long description, etc.;
- Provides advanced features such as machine learning predictions (for example, sports scores and elections);
- Image search is a step above Google’s (it offers object detection within the image search function);
- Provides the ability to save search queries as “collections”;
- Has a Bing Rewards feature that rewards users by giving them credits just for using the platform;
- Integration with Microsoft Office. For example, a built-in search for word meanings in Microsoft Word;
- Provides the ability to choose the number of displayed sites on one search result page and a way to open new pages (in a new or current tab/window).
Yahoo used to be at the top of the most used search engines. Today, Yahoo is not just a search alternative but a multi-vector service with a large set of useful user tools. Yahoo mail service is still very popular, which was also one of the first of its kind.
One shouldn’t overestimate Yahoo’s declining popularity over the years, as it is still the third-largest best search site in the US. Yahoo’s search results look a bit like Bing’s (which isn’t surprising since Bing supports it), albeit less attractive. However, many users report that Yahoo is the best search engine for news, sports, and financial services.
Yandex is the Russian analog of Google. It used to be the most used search engine in the post-Soviet space. Yandex has a lot of side services and neat AI-based features. However, in recent years, the Russian government has taken full control of this search engine platform. It became a geopolitical tool with a hazy outlook. For the moment, it’s better to wait until this search engine company retakes operational control.
Baidu is similar to Google in many ways. It’s the most famous search engine in China since the government has imposed an indefinite blockade on all Google services, commonly known as the “Great Firewall”.
Baidu currently has a market share of 76.65% in China, ahead of Google (2.41%) and other Chinese top search sites such as Sogou (14.28%), Haosou (1.34%), and Shenma (1.28%). Baidu imitates Google not only in providing quality search results but also in providing side services and features that are important to users.
Baidu is also active in artificial intelligence and voice search. As of 2021, Baidu averaged 2+ billion voice queries per month, thanks to its DuerOS voice assistant functionality. It also has 1+ billion mobile users worldwide, and more than 90% of users in China prefer Baidu.
The best private search engines
Top search engines in the world have become more proficient in collecting personal data in recent years. It’s obvious that users have begun to devote more time to cybersecurity issues. Marketers have noticed a significant increase in different search engines that put privacy at the forefront of their policies. Here are the best privacy-focused alternative search engines.
While DuckDuckGo has grown in popularity in recent years, it still only accounts for about 2.52% of the US search market.
DuckDuckGo is considered one of the best search engines for privacy, which is why it has increased its market share in recent years. This search engine does not collect any data about your queries or personal information. This means you can search without worrying that someone is watching your activity or using your data.
StartPage boldly claims to be the best search engine for private browsing in the world. This message led to media coverage and an independent review by the European Privacy Seal.
StartPage’s claims are backed up by its “no logs” policy: this search engine doesn’t know who its users are, doesn’t store IP addresses, and doesn’t store tracking cookies. If you just want to search for relevant results with the confidence that your data remains private, then StartPage is for you.
Unlike some other privacy-focused biggest search engines, Qwant uses its own indexing engine in conjunction with Bing results. This highlights the need to avoid personalized search results so that users don’t get stuck in a filter bubble.
This search engine is based in Paris. Its work is subject to European privacy laws, which are generally much stricter than in other parts of the world, such as the United States.
Swisscows is another available European search engine that places great emphasis on the privacy of its users. Its marketing campaign is based on three core promises that make it a great Google Search alternative. Swisscows claims to have created an innovative, accurate search engine. Swisscount doesn’t store your data, and it also attaches great importance to family-friendly content.
Allowing children to surf the web is a concern for many parents. Swisscows is committed to building a number one search engine that offers a secure online environment for families.
The best specialized search engines
It’s a fact that Google can find anything. However, time matters a lot in the modern, fast-paced world. Let’s say you need a cookie recipe video. Instead of googling the recipe, it’s faster to use dedicated international search engines for video content. Let’s talk about the best specialized search engines more.
YouTube needs no introduction. It’s the second-largest, most common search engine that most people use every day. Whether you’re looking for videos, movies, podcasts, or original content creators, YouTube is the place to go.
Sure, you can search and find videos on Google as well. But when it comes to finding the content you want quickly, you should go straight to the platform in question and use its internal comprehensive search engine.
Unsplash is the best alternative search engine for photos that helps you find free images to use for your projects. So before you turn to Google Images and worry about getting the rights to an image, it’s worth knowing that Unsplash gives you the freedom to use all its photos without any additional conditions.
The best charity search engines
If you’d like to contribute to charity by searching the web, you might be pleased to know that there are common charity search engines. They make donations every time you search. Here are the best ones to look out for.
Using Ekoru helps clean up our oceans. At the head of the search, the site is a charitable organization. This service is gaining momentum as the world becomes more aware of the damage we are causing to the seas and oceans. Ekoru says each search helps raise funds for the Big Blue Ocean Cleanup. All of its servers are powered by hydroelectricity. This is a genuinely ethical alternative search engine; everything is thought out with an ecological approach.
Ekoru can also be considered an alternative to Google as a privacy-focused search engine. Its commitment to encrypting all data and not storing your search queries on its servers is another benefit of this new search engine.
Unfortunately, the reality is that many parts of the world still lack access to clean water. You can change this by using giveWater as your preferred best search engine and clicking on the platform’s ads. You can also install its browser extension to contribute to this worthy cause.
Even though Ecosia has a mere 0.13% share of the US search market, its popularity is growing rapidly. Ecosia aims to promote positive environmental change and use its earnings to plant trees worldwide.
Bing supports search results in Ecosia. Therefore, you will still get those great search features that Bing has to offer.
What is the best search engine overall?
The best search engine overall is undoubtedly Google. It provides the industry-best variety of tools that are handy both for commercial and regular users. Not to mention the tools themselves are cutting-edge. Besides, Google’s ecosystem can make searching seamless across your devices.
What is the best private search engine?
It depends on the perspective. Some consider Google the best private search engine, as all your data is properly secured. However, the data is still exposed to Google. Thus, DuckDuckGo, StartPage, Qwant, and Swisscows can be considered the best due to zero data collecting.
Are there any charity search engines?
Yes, there are some search sites to make your web surfing help the planet. Ekoru, giveWater, and Ecosia are designed to fight water shortage, clean oceans, and grow trees. If your web activity doesn’t require extra functionality, the search engine list mentioned above is worth considering.
Can platforms like YouTube replace traditional top search engines?
YouTube itself is the best mobile search engine. It can’t compete directly with, let’s say, Google Search or Bing. However, it’s designed for video-searching. If this is your main goal – YouTube is the best option.
The same goes for other popular search engines dealing with specific content, like Unsplash for images. They save you a lot of time by offering the exact content you need.
A few years ago, only a select few predicted the emergence of a real competitor to Facebook. But with the launch of TikTok, everything changed. Will these alternative search engines compete with Google Search?
Despite the existing major search engines like Bing, Yandex, and Baidu, Google’s market share is still insanely high – about 85-90%. Even with full support from its maternity company, Microsoft’s Bing has about 6-8% of the market. Yandex for Russia and Baidu for China is a real danger for Google Search. However, it makes them more local projects than worldwide competitors.
Google’s monopoly cannot benefit the market. But Google’s problem is not just about monopoly. The company doesn’t hide the fact that search results depend not just on users’ requests but on their geolocation. This often relates not only to cultural differences but political topics as well.
Users have become more actively interested in different companies’ data privacy policies. People are afraid that their data is collected by mobile applications and then misused. These trends were partially influenced by data leaks, like the story of Cambridge Analytica. After millions of Facebook users found out about data sharing with this political consulting company, it changed their attitude toward online privacy. Therefore, different search engines that promise improved data privacy and Google-matching quality are and will be in demand.