Beyond Google: The Other Search Engines

Category: 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.

Search Engine Alternatives

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.

Some call these sites privacy heroes, but I see them in a more nuanced way. None of them do the "heavy lifting" required to scan and index the World-Wide Web, but they paint those who do (primarily Microsoft and Google) as villains, and profit from their work. Personally, I have no qualms with the privacy policies of Google or Microsoft, and believe that much of the talk on this subject is hype or hyperbole. (See Is Google's Privacy Policy Evil? and Google Security and Privacy Dashboard.)

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...

 
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This article was posted by on 6 Aug 2019


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Most recent comments on "Beyond Google: The Other Search Engines"

(See all 25 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Cold City
06 Aug 2019

DuckDuckGo showed improper ads, so I stick with Google. But from one comment I might try Bing.


Posted by:

gene
06 Aug 2019

I've been using Startpage since it was Ixquick. I like that it has an advanced search page that you can enable that looks just like Google Advanced but which does not track you nor serve up ads. It's easy to add to browsers except Chrome (thought it's possible) so you can use it as your default. I've got no issues with it at all. Nor the searches it returns. I like DuckDuckgo too but wish it had an advanced search feature.


Posted by:

bill
06 Aug 2019

Tried others (including Bing that Microsoft keeps trying to stuff down our throats) and have never found any that gave nearly as many relevant answers. Bing seems to be especially poor and getting me what I want.

Would never even try one that is based in a government that tracks everything - Russia and China.


Posted by:

Bill Pfeifer
06 Aug 2019

For someone to whom grammar is important, your comment about Wolfram Alpha is interesting:
"Although it's volume is comparatively small ..."
("it's" means "it is" or "it has")


Posted by:

RandiO
06 Aug 2019

StartPage seems to agree with me as it provides me the *placebo anonymity, *lack of ads, *2-click capability to refine searches based on date (past day/week/month/year) and all this without having to log-in to some google account.

American English Grammar: It's a whole mess and I see that it's gotten to be a whole bigger mess, since 'someone' has decided that "it has" has been shortened to be the same as "it is"! Was that your idea @BillPfeifer?


Posted by:

Granville
06 Aug 2019

My problem with Google has far less to do with Privacy and lots to do with their dishonest and unscrupulous gross bias. Their results are dishonest, biased and slanted and therefor inaccurate.

If you want a far left globalist slant on search, by all means use Google. If you want to be constantly pushed towards Democrat Party views, policies and propaganda with every search result, use Google. If you want to start on the 2nd, 3rd or 100th search page to start trying to winnow out objective results, use Google.

Unfortunately, they have such a complete and total market dominance and since many (if not most) of their competitors simply repackage their search results, I am not sure they can be avoided. If ever a company (even more than Microsoft in the 1980's & '90's) required application of Anti-Trust Laws it is Google. They are the single most powerful propagandist in the history of the world and unfortunately for the rest of us they are bound and determined to utilize that power in very nefarious ways.

Their motto perhaps always more accurately should have been "Do Evil", they are the definition of a bad actor. I guess if you agree with their Politics you may not mind, but for most people they are far too powerful, far too unconstrained and far too willing to harm their product to achieve their political ends.

You would think that a company that is selling access to you and your data would care enough about its putative "customers" (actually "product" would be more accurate) to care whether the Product found them to be honest, trustworthy and unbiased. However it is quite clear that they believe their power over their Product (and regulators & governments) is sufficient that they have no need to even pretend to be any of the three things mentioned or to have any compunctions about the exercise of that power to shape opinion.

Again, I wish I could offer more than simply an admonition not to trust ANY results from Google Search, but sadly, there is no known viable alternative that I am aware of and your article does not point to any.


Posted by:

Granville Alley
06 Aug 2019

I would add that at various times I have been hopeful that Apple would in fact release its own Search Engine and I believe they have spent a significant amount of time, resources and money trying to develop such a product. Not that Apple is not also run by Leftists, but I have found they have a much higher appreciation for their customers, for personal privacy than Google has ever shown.

Do they have their own issues and problems and do many people find their desire to control a product from beginning to end, (hardware, services and software) irritating and sometimes aggravating and limiting. Yes. But, personally I have found the trade off in dealing with a company that cares whether I am happy and satisfied with my products and which does not overtly try to make me their product (and I hope does not do so covertly).

I believe as well even the "walled garden" approach Apple takes to extremes is in their minds an attempt to provide their customers a product that works the way they believe the customer wants it to. Are they always right about that? No. But again, I would argue their intent is to make the customer experience as optimum as possible.


Posted by:

jim
06 Aug 2019

Cold City, just WHAT are 'improper ads'?


Posted by:

Eli Marcus
07 Aug 2019

I have often tried Duck Duck Go, because it is the default search engine on my regular home operating system Linux Mint these days, and found it to be OK, but not great...
I can tolerate and learn to deal with Google's privacy invasion for the most part, but the one thing that really annoys the hell out of me, is their insistence on going to a local version (google.co.il) and local language by default, as I live outside the USA (in Israel). Sometimes it is very difficult to find the link to return to Google.com or to an English interface. Why can't google respect the fact that my entire computer is set to English as the working language, or that I prefer to search on Google.com, or at least in an international mode? Why can't it present the local modes as an option instead of forcing it upon me by default according to my IP address?In my mind, google has become a bully, just like Microsoft's approach until recently...


Posted by:

ffonz
07 Aug 2019

jim

read 'olamoree'
immediately above 'Cold City'


Posted by:

Gadge Prince
07 Aug 2019

Bob, you neglected to mention www.qwant.com, which I believe you tipped we subscribers to many posts in the past. I use it exclusively and am happy, and best of all completely private, including no tracking or ads.


Posted by:

SharonH
07 Aug 2019

Granville - You beat me to the punch! Almost every search on Google is liberal, leftist and one-sided. It promotes the globalist agenda, literally "in your face" with their biased views. Just try some image searches like American Inventors. What bothers me is that school children use mainly Google searches for their studies.
Be very cautious about Wikipedia as well. Looking up some topics on that online encyclopedia made my blood pressure soar. Encyclopedia Britannia, which prides itself on being fact checked and unbiased (no agenda) is a much better and honest source.
There's no rating system here, but your post would get 10 stars.
I applaud Bob for giving alternative search sources. Perhaps one may find better and more truthful search results for interests that go beyond shopping, in which case almost any of them will do.


Posted by:

top squirrel
07 Aug 2019

I have just done a search under "google firing software engineer" on Duck Duck Go and under Google. Google carries on a high position entries that use words critical of the memo written by software engineer James Damore and that got him fired. One source said Damore claimed women are high in "neuroticism" while the original memo explained the word's meaning by saying women are higher in anxiety.
The very fact that Damore was fired for releasing his blog posting (hardly rises to the level of a "manifesto," does it?) gives evidence supporting his point that certain viewpoints are considered "bad" and should not be discussed within Google. At the same time Damore encouraged conditions that provided for psychological safety, i.e. the freedom to express oneself without fear of retribution. He pointed out some of Google's biases and freely admitted his own as that of a classical liberal (which I interpret as meaning "libertarian").
Meanwhile Google's new VP who seems to be in charge of diversity and lack of bias, admitted free expression should prevail within Google, BUT not the ideas presented by Damore, and she explicitly declined to include a link in her statement that would make it easy to refer to Damore's posting so that readers could see for themselves what Damore actually said, and in context.
Her posting, and Google's summary firing of Damore for a blog posting disagreeing with aspects of Google's culture tells me all I need to know about Google and why it is ideologically "purer" to deal preferentially with its competitors.
The Duck is my choice for a search engine. Its (not "it's") choice of search results for the Damore firing showed far less bias. Thus does politics show its ugly head in something that should be as straight-forqward as search results.
And Damore's firing revealed something ominous.
There was a comedy sketch with Carl Reiner interviewing Mel Brooks in which Brooks was playing a young citizen of the post-WW II "New Germany," and asked where would all these new policies, if enacted, lead.
The answer (as if it was obvious, German accent):
"To ze final solution of ze Nazi problem."
The lesson that should be learned:
If you have found principles that you consider to be "good," well, that's great. But don't kill (or fire) people who disagree with you. Or just raise and ask for calm rational discussion about aspects of the "truth" you think you have discovered.
And if you dislike "bad" speech, please realize that attempts to stamp out calm, rational discussion about potential problems in the existing idea structure is itself "bad."
It is not OK to support free speech only for ideas you agree with. Which is what Google seems to be doing, and it also seems to be influencing its (not "it's") search choices.
If the real Nazis are not free to march peaceably and express their views, no matter how repugnant, that reflects very poorly on your ideas of openness, democracy, lack of bias and even-handedness.
Ironically, especially for any Vice-president of
lack of bias and even-handedness.


Posted by:

rocketride
07 Aug 2019

My problem with Google is not with any privacy issues, but rather with the very obviously politically-motivated elevation of some search results and suppression of others. They don't even try to hide their support of leftist causes/parties/candidates and disdain for others any more.


Posted by:

rocketride
07 Aug 2019

@Bill Pfeiffer, @RandiO
That's because both phrases ("it is" and "it has") get elided to the same sounds in normal speech-- we're stuck with either using the same contraction for both or changing one (and I don't see a good way to do that).


Posted by:

top squirrel
07 Aug 2019

One additional observation came to me:
Suppose you have no problem with Google's left-wing bias in searches (or suppose you don't even notice it).
Does it bother you to have all your searches through Google recorded and grouped under your name? It bothers the crap out of me, even though all the Google searches I have done for the last 10 years or so have been via YouTube and involve recordings of classical music. I'm not ashamed of my liking of classical music pieces but I hate the feeling that someone is breathing down my neck while I'm trying to decide things like whether I prefer the Slava Rostropovich or the Sol Gabetta version of Shostakovich's cello concerto (Gabetta wins--that gal's playing is glorious!). Every piece I have accessed for years, all listed on "my" account. Fortunately I could delete it all--but it's not easy. They keep on coming up with suggested pieces for me to hear, selected "especially for you."
I don't think one could delete one's account in the "Politically Correct" archives, if they ever came to power. The Nazis of proper speech would undoubtedly not allow it.


Posted by:

RandiO
07 Aug 2019

I am in the mind that Bob Rankin's great blog is really about 'tech support' and that is probably the biggest motivation for us to continually lurk here soaking up and participating in geeky topics.
We may all have political preferences (some w/even motivations) yet I believe that most of us here prefer to NOT get drawn into tangential political discussions, which some of these tech companies may be involved in or who maybe agenda driven.
If I may ask: Would it be really that difficult for us to not extend our discussions beyond tech and w/o the related politics here?
Not easy but please try. 😶


Posted by:

Granville Alley
07 Aug 2019

If you fail to deal with the elephant in the room, Social Media and Google being flagrantly and if not openly, at least clearly to any objective user and proven by multiple independent studies bias. They have just fired yet another employee that dared to expose their internal bias.

They have been caught on video multiple times expressing their willingness and desire to utilize search results to influence or control public opinion, they have been caught multiple times changing supposedly neutrally objective algorithm driven search results to reflect a particular political slant they support.

As most of the world and as Bob clearly states substantively more than 95% of all US Search Results either originate from Google directly or come from a source that merely repackages their results, it is in fact directly pertinent to any examination of search engines to discuss any and all biases that impact the search results. To fail to discuss this is to stick your head in the sand, your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes from the simple truth that Google's Search Results are not in fact objective, algorithm driven and based on actual popularity of the result (as Google as claimed for years).

Rather the algorithms themselves have been intentionally manipulated to get a desired political result, to favor Google preferred speech, to favor Google preferred and often Google owned Products and Services and are used explicitly to change users behavior in a way Google prefers it to be changed without clearly disclosing that to users. This is a major "Feature" or "Bug" of the Search Engine and everyone utilizing Google for search should at least be aware that this is in fact what is happening.

They should know that they are being aggressively and intentionally manipulated and that the Search Results they are getting are not in fact the most responsive or the most popular results but rather are the most responsive or most popular that fit Google's Political and Economic Desires. Quite Frankly, for Bob not to acknowledge this in his article is a serious shortcoming to the article and analysis itself.

It is not as though this is conjecture, these are actual known facts. If you do not wish to deal with the fact that you are getting inaccurate and based Search Results that are being filtered through a very specific political and economic Agenda that is your issue not those who point out the indisputable fact it is happening. These in fact are technical and technological "features' of Google Search and those other Search engines that repackage Google's results.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
08 Aug 2019

I do care about political issues, especially when it comes to Freedom of Speech. But, when any company begins to "monitor" anyone's language, I am not talking about expletives though I do know that is part of Freedom of Speech, but be it Left or Right Speech ... I do not tolerate that kind of behavior. We all have the right to express our opinions.


I did enjoy using Google Search Engine, in the beginning. I was able to get loads of "hits" on the topic I wanted to find out about. Then Google Search Engine began having more and more Ads, with some of them looking more like a "research response" instead of Ads ... I was very upset.


I kept clicking on those Ads, thinking they were part of the Internet research and then became mad when I found out they were nothing more than Ads paid to Google to show. Yes. Google Search Engine is FREE, but that doesn't mean that I need to be fooled into clicking on an Ad, when that is not what I am using a Search Engine for.


Then I read on one of Bob's articles about different Search Engines that truly found the good information one would need to get the answers they wanted. DuckDuckGo was one of several mentioned. I tried using DuckDuckGo at first and I will admit it was harder to use. I was quite used to Microsoft's first Search Engine, not Bing. Then I began to use Google Search Engine and loved it.


I kept on trying DuckDuckGo and finally got use to it and am very comfortable using this Search Engine. As it stands now, I am beginning to get upset with DuckDuckGo due to the results have not been as good as they have been in the past. I am finding less and less good results within the first page of the lists. I will continue to use DuckDuckGo until I am completely dissatisfied with the results presented.


As for Ads ... I rarely see any Ads on DuckDuckGo result pages. Unless, my uBlock Ad Blocker stops any Ads from being shown.


Posted by:

Marsha P.
18 Aug 2019

Remember when Google (Alphabet) used the slogan "Do no evil"? And then it disappeared. Why? Because the public started realizing how absolutely vile this company is. They openly admit to political bias and that they want to defeat Trump in 2020.

How flagrantly corrupt is that? And as far as their searches being 'superior' to, e.g. Duckduckgo which I use, when you give politically biased search results, how superior is that?

I hope the government eventually crushes these tech monsters.


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