Google Search Alternatives

Category: Search-Engines

Although Google is often used as a verb that's interchangeable with search, it's not the only search engine. Comscore's April 2013 report shows Google with a market share of 67 percent, but you should know who's giving Google competition. Here are some other web search tools that you should keep handy...

Searching For Search Engines?

When it comes to web search, there's the Big Three, and the rest of the pack. Taken together, Google, Bing and Yahoo power 96% of all web searches. But there are some compelling reasons to look further when you're searching for answers online. Here are some Google search alternatives you should know about.

Yahoo! (and its silly exclamation point) has been for many years the search engine for people who don't like Google or Microsoft. The irony here is that Yahoo has a personality disorder. It started life as a web directory, then morphed into a web portal with a search engine.

Behind the scenes, Yahoo's search results have been provided by a variety of companies, including Google. For a few years, they tried using their own search technology, but it never worked well enough. Since 2009, Yahoo search has been powered by (drumroll, please...) Microsoft.

Google Alternatives

Yes, Microsoft's Bing provides the search functionality of Yahoo, so you may as well jump directly to Bing. But for whatever reasons, people have been slow to do so. Bing ranks second in market share with 17%, and Yahoo still attracts about 12% of searchers. Much of Bing's gains have come at Google's expense. Bing's search results, speed, and presentation compare very favorably to Google's; some say Bing search results are more useful than Google's. If you want to compare results from Bing and Google, try Bing It On.

The One Percenters of Search

If you read Comscore's search engine rankings, you might think that Ask.com and AOL are competing search engines. They're not. Both are powered by Google. So that takes us into the realm of the one percenters -- the independent search engines not powered by either Google or Microsoft. But just because they're not hugely popular, you shouldn't ignore them.

DuckDuckGo is another search startup that would like to someday knock Google off its perch. See my review and analysis here: Can DuckDuckGo Beat Google at Search? One of DDG's selling points is privacy. Like Ixquick (and it's cousin StartPage.com), DDG does not store any information about your searches, or pass it along to third parties.

Blekko's focus is on the quality of search results. They combine their own search technology with human expertise, in the hopes of returning only the most relevant and high-quality websites. Blekko is proud of the fact that they don't try to index the entire web. Instead, they rely on human curation to filter out spammy and low-quality results. Blekko's "slashtags" are a custom search feature that help you narrow down results by focusing your search on a list of trusted category-specific sites.

Yippy claims to be one of the safest, most user-friendly, and private search engines. Yippy (formerly known as Clusty) also clusters search results into what they call "clouds." For example, searching on "spam" yields a screenful of results, but also links to drill down into spam-related topics such as: Blogs / Meat, Luncheon / Spam protection / Monty Python / Definition of spam / Law / Filtering. Yippy also offers an integrated desktop with family/school/library friendly features to protect against malicious and "unseemly" elements on the web.

Wolfram|Alpha can do things that even Google can't. For example, it can tell you how old Queen Elizabeth I was in the fourteenth year of her reign, or how long it would take to fly to Alpha Centauri. OK, those questions may not be on your list. The point is, Wolfram|Alpha can calculate answers to queries as well as look up answers that already exist in its index. It's a rather geeky technology, but it's already powering some Bing searches and helping out Siri on the iPhone.

Business.com is a searchable directory of resources and vendors for business. You can find human resources consultants, accountants, office supplies, commercial real estate, and more. If you're looking just for business results, this directory is worth a try.

LexisNexis.com is the leading source of legal and public records-related information. The Lexis.com database contains current U. S. laws and court case opinions dating from the 1770s to the present. It also includes statutes and case opinions of other countries such as France, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Nexis.com is a searchable database of over 20,000 news sources, company and industry intelligence providers, intellectual property records, legislative and regulatory filings, and other public records. If you plan to sue or avoid being sued, you will want a lawyer skilled in both Lexis and Nexis.

Of course, there are hundreds of specialty search sites on the Web. If you need a dictionary, encyclopedia, or some other specialized search tool, see my list of the best Free Online Reference and Research Tools will point you to over 40 of the best places to search for help with homework, medical questions, government information, movies, lyrics, genealogy, and much more! And if you're looking for a job, see my list of Online Job Search Tools to find job listings, post your resume, and network with people who may be able to help in your employment search.

What's your favorite search engine? Do you want to recommend a special purpose search tool? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Google Search Alternatives"

Posted by:

Darryl
28 May 2013

Ixquick and Startpage are not the same. Same company, and same privacy, but Startpage does Google searches and Ixquick uses multiple search engines.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Quite right, thanks for the update.


Posted by:

Dan
28 May 2013

I use Goodsearch.com. It's powered by Yahoo, and gives a small portion of the ad money generated to the charity of your choice.


Posted by:

JayB
28 May 2013

I have been using Yippy since it was called Vivísimo, well over 7 years. I don't remember who it was that I learned about Vivisimo from, it could have been the Internet Tour Bus (you remember them don't you). I really like the clustering of the results. However, I have noticed that since Clusty was acquired by Yippy, and it seems to have become more noticeable in the last year, the results seem like they are much less robust than they were before the acquisition. Perhaps their filtering has been getting more aggressive lately. I have no contention with their stated goal of providing a safe Internet for families, I just don't recall getting that much unacceptable content in the results before they instituted their current family-friendly policies. As a result I have begun to use other search engines more.


Posted by:

frank klett
29 May 2013

I have a preference for Dogpile...it has no ads and uses multiple search engines to provide results...seems not to favor paid advertisers over others (which is what they claim).
Great newsletter, BTW! Thank you very much...


Posted by:

Carole
29 May 2013

Here are a bunch of search engines I've collected over the past 18 yrs.

ditto.com
dogpile.com
hotbot.com
internet.com
iTools.com
kartoo.com
mamma.com
netcenter.com
Records.com
refdesk.com
savvysearch.com
searchenginewatch.com
searchinternet.com
searchsystems.net
search.internet.com
surfwax.com


Posted by:

Guillermo Aguilar
29 May 2013

Ever tried Dogpile.com? Powered by Metasearch and as Duck Duck Go, it will keep your searches private.


Posted by:

Callie
29 May 2013

www.scirus.com is the top engine for science-related info.


Posted by:

Madhukar
31 May 2013

Thank you for sharing your views on Google, Bing, Yahoo. I personally recommend Google than Bing as Search results are not related to my keywords entered. I searched for "php developer hubli" in both Google and Bing. Google showed related results but Bing showed irrelevant like property developers.
So i recommend to go with Google results.
Thanks
Madhukar


Posted by:

Lucy
31 May 2013

I like AVG search as it warns me if sites are safe or not. I like to see that big green check mark, it makes me feel a little safer before clicking on the link. And I do see the occasional red warning, so I think it is working okay.
I believe the results are provided by Google.


Posted by:

Tim
06 Jun 2013

This Yippy search engine really is quite unique and I love the clustering it does as well. Super slick. I will be using Yippy.com.

Thanks Bob


Posted by:

John Kemp
08 Jun 2013

Very interesting article. But I'm puzzled - Where is COPERNIC in this list? I can't believe it's below 1%!


Posted by:

RF
10 Jun 2013

You already mentioned it but I'd just like to give another nod towards DuckDuck. I finally had enough of Google's march towards bloat and convoluted layouts some years back so I started off with Dogpile, as it was one already known to me at the time. I briefly fell in love with Keyboardr, it was fast and simple, but it (as the name implies) was a bit too keyboard centric for me. Later on I discovered DDG and have been using it almost exclusively since, using Bing for their image/video searches that puts Google's to shame.

DDG is light and fast like Google used to be, and highly configurable despite the simplicity of the entire operation. There have been a few things that weren't to my taste with the layouts that I thought could be easily adjusted with additional options and their development team is very receptive to suggestions for just about anything, unlike Google who act like getting correspondence from their users is akin to contracting the Red Death.


Posted by:

Dave
11 Jun 2013

I take it that Altavista is pretty much now dead is it?


Posted by:

Frank
12 Jun 2013

Altavista died along time ago Dave.


Posted by:

Daryl
06 Jan 2014

I have been using DuckDuckGo ever since you first mentioned it in your e-letter a couple of years ago. Love it. Uncluttered pages and the "official" page is always the first or second displayed. For most things it is all you need. They have to be close to the bottom of the list for the small number of hits they get but I hope they get some traction and survive. It's a great service.


Posted by:

Ian
11 Jul 2015

I'm surprised Pale Moon is not mentioned. I guess it's a "one-percenter" but I used it for the last year or so and have found it light on advertising and quicker than Google Chrome that I used previously.


Posted by:

Norman
18 Nov 2016

Some time ago I started looking around or an alternative to the power of Google. I had a dalliance with Ixquick when they were fairly new but since they claimed their results were based on previous user search results they didn't have enough experience to provide a comprehensive data base at that time. Even though the quantity of results were down the quality of what they provided was impressive, even with some obscure and wonderful searches i did just to try them out.

When DuckDuckGo came over the horizon I gave them a try and liked what they did. Later, when I attempted to install DDG as my standard search engine my browser popped up with a message saying “ Some users have found this to be an unsafe site”. I thought “ I wonder who is behind that little nugget, it looks like they are rattling somebody's cage, this could be the one for me”. After using it for some time, I have no complaints. It provides relevant results for the searches I ask of it and since the claim not to store your information, you don't have to agree to their conditions of how they are going to use the information you provide.


Posted by:

GraemeS
01 Jan 2017

I just tried blekko.com and got "The blekko technology and team have joined IBM Watson!"


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