The Other Search Engines
We’re used to thinking of the Big Three in search engines: Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! But on a global level, there’s a Big Four. And there are plenty of smaller search sites vying for attention. Here's what you need to know about alternative search engines…
Whales in the Fishtank
In the USA and most of the world, Google has a commanding lead in search, handling about 65% of all queries. Along with Microsoft Bing (20%) and Yahoo (13%), these three comprise 98% of the search market share.
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 is second only to Google in the number of search queries processed with 13%, according to the April, 2015, figures released by research firm Net Market Share. And in China, Baidu has a 56% share of the more than 4 billion searches conducted each quarter. With Baidu in the mix, Bing and Yahoo! are tied for third place with 9% each.
So what's left? The combined market share of AOL, Ask.com, and Lycos is under 1%. The “Other” category (about 1.5% of all searches) is chock full of search engines you’ve probably never heard of (unless you’ve been reading me for several years).
The continued existence of Lycos surprises me. Once a pioneer of Internet search, Lycos vanished from most people’s radar about ten years ago. Headquartered in Massachusetts, Lycos has only 72 U. S. employees. Since 2010, it has been owned by India’s Internet marketing firm, Ybrant Digital.
In my opinion, Wolfram Alpha is the most 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?
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.
Even more on the fringe of popularity are "privacy enhancing" search sites like IxQuick, Startpage, and DuckDuckGo. These sites promise not to share your IP address or personal information with other sites or advertisers. IxQuick and DDG query 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 8 Jun 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Other Search Engines (Posted: 8 Jun 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved