Google Search Alternatives
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.
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 28 May 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Google Search Alternatives (Posted: 28 May 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved