With Google’s recent announcement regarding their potential break up with the Australian market leaving everyone in a tizzy, it seems we’ve all forgotten that there are plenty of alternative search engines to Google and plenty more search engines in the sea.
Google has been a constant staple in our lives for so long. Our source of knowledge, our looking glass, our window to other worlds, our magic 8-ball. The search engine became so popular that “Google it” became one of the most used verbs in the world.
In 2002 Google (as a transitive verb) was named “the most useful word” by The American Dialect Society. In saying all that though, as many of us got caught up in the Google hype over the years, putting all our eggs in one basket, we’ve forgotten some big players in the search engine space. I mentioned before, there are plenty more alternative search engines to Google, and we’re going to call out five of our favourites.
Bing at first glance is a very attractive looking search engine. It’s got good functionality which is easy to navigate, and search results are displayed quite similarly to Google. Bing also has a Microsoft Rewards incentive program for users to sign up to. You earn reward points every time you use the search engine, which you can then redeem later for games, gift cards, or even donations to a cause you care about.
You have the option to customise your homepage by showing or hiding the homepage menu, a background image, and news and interests based on your searches. Once logged in to your account, it also directly links to your Microsoft Office applications which you can access easily via the homepage.
Yahoo is one of the OG search engines, coming onto the scene in the early 1990’s. This search engine is known for being very news heavy, with rolling news articles as you scroll down the front page and a news menu across the top outlining different topics of interest. Since Yahoo acquired Flickr in 2005, the image search results have improved significantly due to the world class image library on hand. They also offer their own email, finance, weather, and news apps that can be downloaded through Google Play, or the Apple App Store.
One of the major features that makes DuckDuck Go stand out from other search engines, is the fact that they don’t collect or store any of your information! In a time where privacy is becoming more and more important, and harder to find, engines like this know what the people want, and how to keep them happy.
With private searches, tracker blocking, and site encryption, you’re safe as houses! The flip side to this, is that all those targeted ads and news articles that pop up that all happen to be specific to things you’ve searched for, or things that you like, won’t show up anymore. Everyone gets the same ads and the same news.
Qwant is another search engine with a major focus on respecting your privacy. Based in France, they’ve been operating since 2013, and like DuckDuck Go are quite popular with search engine users due to their stance on choosing not to use personalised search results or user tracking.
Their reasoning behind this is that they don’t want their users to be trapped in a search bubble, limiting their exposure to a variety of information. When evaluating your search results, you can toggle between multiple categories for your results, such as: Web, News, Images, Videos, Maps, and Music. They also have a product called Qwant Junior, which is adolescent friendly internet browsing.
For those who will find it a little hard to move on from Google and start using another search engine, StartPage might be for you. Startpage is based in the Netherlands, and they pay Google to use their search results.
What is the point of that, you ask? As another business that puts the privacy of their users at the forefront of their company values, they are providing you with access to Google standard internet results, but with a much higher level of protection of your personal information. No saved data, no third party trackers, and a completely anonymous web viewing experience.
Whilst it would be a real game changer for Google to leave Australia, it’s good to remember the endless options we have in other search engines. Based all around the world, each one of them unique, and all of them coming with their own benefits.
Sorry Google, it’s not me, it’s you, and I’ve found someone else.
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