Beyond Google: The Other Search Engines
We’re used to thinking of the Big Three in search engines: Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! But a pie chart of search engine market share will show you a difference picture. There's really only one dominant player, and plenty of smaller search tools vying for attention. Here's what you need to know about alternative search engines...
The Whale in the Fishtank
In the USA and most of the world, Google has a commanding lead in search, handling about 92% of all queries. Along with Microsoft Bing (2.61%) and Yahoo (1.85%), these three comprise almost 97% of the search market share. (Google's search kingdom is actually divided into three parts. Of the 92% total, Google.com handles 69%, Google Image Search handles 20% and Youtube handles about 3%.)
On a global scale, there's a huge fourth player in the search game. Baidu (BY-doo) is a Chinese Web services firm that was incorporated in 2000. Search is only part of its business, just as it’s only part of Google’s business. Baidu also has social networks, and a Wikipedia-style online encyclopedia. Baidu handles only 1.21% of all searches worldwide, but in China Baidu has a 76% share.
So what's left? Globally, Yandex (RU) comes in at 0.55%, trailed by DuckDuckGo with 0.54%. A bunch in the "Other" category include Shenma, Naver, Sogou, Haosou, and Seznam, all under 0.1 percent in search market share. If you're wondering about AOL, Ask.com, or Lycos, they don't even show up as a blip on the radar. Although it's volume is comparatively small, Wolfram Alpha is one important search engine in that “other” category, because its unique “calculated answers” technologies are licensed by Google, Bing, and Yahoo! But you can access Wolfram Alpha directly, too.
What Else is in the "Other" Category?
What is a REAL Search Engine? I don’t think AOL should be considered a “search engine.” Its results all come from Google, with some AOL content thrown in for ad revenue. I could say the same about Yahoo, which has a checkered history as a search engine. Starting in 2001, Yahoo search results were provided by Inktomi, now defunct. They used Google for a few years, and then went "legit" in 2004, creating their own search engine technology and web index. But from 2009 to 2015 it was "powered by Bing." In 2015, they began using Google's "power" for search results.
I would not use Ask.com to find a nearby hospital even if my femoral artery was spurting blood clear across the street. It’s owned by InterActive Corp., maker of adware, bogus dating sites, and the infamous Ask.com Toolbar.
On the fringe of popularity are "privacy enhancing" search sites like Startpage, and DuckDuckGo. These sites promise not to share your IP address or personal information with other sites or advertisers. DuckDuckGo queries several search engines and present the top results. StartPage acts as an anonymous proxy to Google.
In addition to general search sites like these, there is a myriad of searchable databases, directories, and Wikis. Some of the most useful and popular ones are:
The Internet Movie Database was started in 1990 by computer programmer Col Needham to index, rate, and discuss movie titles, characters, production staff, and stars. It proved to be a blockbuster idea, and the database was expanded to include TV programs and even video games. In 1998, the IMDB was acquired by Amazon.com, a natural fit for a company that sells digital entertainment.
Wikipedia has singlehandedly decimated the paper encyclopedia industry, with the full approval of tree fans. The collaborative encyclopedia ranks among the top ten sites on the Internet, and is widely considered the most-used reference resource online.
Quora combines a database of writings on many topics with a community of users who may be just the experts, mentors, or sources that you need. You can post questions and helpful experts will answer them.
Dogpile is a “meta-search tool.” It queries multiple search engines and online databases to answer your inquiries.
While it’s handy and simple to “just Google it,” you may also want to check out some specialized searchable resources. Do you have a favorite "alternative" search site? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Aug 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Beyond Google: The Other Search Engines (Posted: 6 Aug 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved