7 Alternative Search Engines to Google: Privacy or Accuracy?
Not a day passes by without “Googling” something up, whether it’s a review, location, information, or else. Google is the dominant search engine worldwide, with a market share of 94% of global search engines. Though Google’s search is highly accurate and gets you to the point in no time, many are seriously considering alternative search engines to Google for various reasons regarding privacy, morals, the environment, and more.
Why looking for alternative search engines to Google?
Regardless of your beliefs, directions in life, or orientation, you might find a reason or two that make you consider switching to an alternative search engine other than Google. Here are some main issues and concerns taken against Google during the past years in many European countries and worldwide.
- Fines: Google has been fined by the EU for a total of $9.3 billion in charge of antitrust, market dominance abuse, and search results manipulation.
- Filter bubble: Google is accused of having a “filter-bubble” problem; i.e., Google search engine tends to agree to the user’s pre-conceived biases towards the subject they are searching for. For example, whether you are enthusiastic or hesitant about Keto diet, Google search results will most likely agree with you and reinforce your ideas; it’s just a side effect to Google’s algorithm.
- User privacy violation: France has fined Google search engine nearly $57 million for violating its GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Google doesn’t comply with the privacy rules the world is seeking; i.e., Google has failed to disclose to users how their data is collected and what it is used for, neither did it obtain users’ consent to show them personalized ads.
- Use of others’ intellectual property: Google depends on information provided by others for its commercial success; it does not even offer anything in return. It’s because of “informational” websites (that has nothing to sell, Wikipedia for instance) that users keep coming back for more and clicking paid results (that’s when Google gets paid). Google is unrightfully displaying content from these websites in its search results.
- Energy consumption: Google’s energy consumption has drastically increased over the past 10 years to reach 10.6 tera-watt hours.
To be fair, Google is admitting all the above-mentioned issues, and the giant American tech company is taking efficient steps towards making a change and appealing to people’s concerns. They’ve made a wide range of changes to their products and updates to their policies. Google’s software engineer is working on the search engine’s algorithm to “provide users visibility and access into those perspectives from multiple sources,” according to the team leader working on featured snippets. The company has also made efforts to make its data centers more efficient through customized high-performance servers, using smart temperature and lighting, advanced cooling techniques, and machine learning.
Still looking for alternative search engines to use on a daily basis? Here are our recommended, most popular alternative search engines, all tried and tested, with cool tips and privacy-to-accuracy comparison to each. We are going to lay down each engine’s pros and cons, then the ball is in your court!
7 alternative search engines other than Google
Bing search engine is the second largest engine with a market share of approximately 6%. Bing holds a great place in today’s rapidly changing world with restless hungry-for-more users due to many reasons.
- User friendly and easy to use
- Beautiful background photos changing daily
- Great for video searches with thumbnails that play when hovered over (no YouTube bias)
- Internal features similar to those of Google: currency conversions, translation and spell check, flight tracking, etc.
- Mobile apps for Android as well as iOS users
- Special features for programmers (showing executable code snippets directly in the search results)
- Good image search across all browsers (as apposed to Google that seems to be optimized solely for Chrome)
- Not a private search engine
- Unsatisfying search results
- Slow website indexing (some are not indexed at all)
- Easy accessibility to child pornography (Microsoft promised to fix this major problem asap)
- Being part of one of the Big Five tech companies
- Displaying ads (less intense than Google and can be turned off or customized as per user’s preference)
Bing has this “Rewards Scheme” which earns you points for every search or shopping action you make; then you can use these points to purchase apps and movies. How cool is that!
DuckDuckGo (DDG) is the “anti-Google” search engine, launched in 2008. DuckDuckGo is extremely popular among users who are concerned about their privacy and safety online, as DDG claims itself to be the best private search engine out there.
- A private search engine
- Sourcing results from over 400 different resources (its own crawler, sites, partners, etc.) Clean interface
- Minimal ads (no ads are following you)
- Infinite scrolling (don’t bother moving to next pages)
- A voice search function
- Not giving the accurate search results users are used to
- Being part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (as DDG is based in the US)
Type “!a Potter’s wand” and DuckDuckGo directly takes you to results Potter’s magic wand on Amazon (‘a’ for Amazon, ‘w’ for Wikipedia, and so on).
Try This Out 😉
Add DuckDuckGo’s extension to your browser and enjoy a private search activity.
- A private search engine
- Accurate search results
- User-friendly interface with customizable themes
- Having a custom URL generator for a cookie-free browsing experience
- Offering proxy service to browse safely and anonymously
- HTTPS support
- Compliance with the GDPR (the EU regulation that protects users’ data)
- The Netherlands (where StartPage is based) being part of the Nine Eyes intelligence alliance
StartPage dubs websites in the search results with an “anonymous view” feature, protecting users against website fingerprinting, cookies, social media tracking pixels, and the like where users’ privacy is forcefully invaded when visiting websites.
Based in Paris and launched in 2013, Qwant is a good choice as a private search engine for you.
- Results powered by Bing and also from Qwant’s own web crawler
- A user-friendly interface categorizing search results into web, news, and social
- Serving as a music search engine where you can search for lyrics and discover trending music hits
- Instantly taking you to results in a specific website (e.g., type “&w” for Wikipedia results)
- Inaccurate localized results (searching for “Chinese restaurant near me” is not likely resulting in restaurants that are “actually” near you
private search engine = no geo-location tracking = bad local results
- France (where Qwant is based) being part of the Nine Eyes intelligence alliance
The “Qoz” meter on Qwant search engine keeps track of how many searches are done from one account. Then it makes a donation of the same amount to a needful cause. That’s a bright side for staying late on your PC!
Try This Out 😉
Type “&ta Egypt” on Qwant search bar to get directly to TripAdvisor’s results for Egypt.
Has it ever crossed your mind that looking something up on the internet harms the environment around you? Have you ever considered the impact of “Googling” on the surrounding environment? If your answer is “no” then you are missing out on a lot. Every single Google search contributes to the harmful creation of carbon dioxide into the air! Here are the pros of switching to an alternative search engine other than Google, like Ecosia.
- Donating 80% of Ecosia’s profit to tree planting
45 searches = 1 tree
- Fairly good search results, being powered by Bing and enhanced by Ecosia’s own algorithms
- CO2 neutral alternative search engine
- A clean and nice interface
- Not being “that” privacy oriented as they claim to be
- Storing personal information for 7 days (they are deleted after)
- Partnering with Bing (all data and search details are sent to Bing)
Choose the video quality that suits your needs or internet connection from the “resolution dropdown” on the videos tab when using Ecosia.
6. Yahoo !
“Oh my God is it still surviving?”
Yes, Yahoo search engine is still the world’s third popular search engine, with a market share of 1.6%. Yahoo is now powered by Bing, and many users prefer it to others as it hosts many services apart from mere search.
- Giving a well-rounded user experience in one place: email, news, shopping, games, and much more
- Offering better image results (it’s integrated with Flickr)
- Providing a shed-load of information on several topics (it’s integrated with Yahoo Answers and Yahoo Finance)
- Supporting nearly 38 languages
- Offering a variety of services, like sports and travel
- The unclear delineation between paid and organic results (a user can easily get confused clicking paid or organic results)
- Not a private search engine
Try This Out 😉
Put your search query between square brackets [riding Honda] and the results will come back with websites with the exact order of your keywords, and not vice versa. Very handy feature for quick and accurate searching experience that you can find only on Yahoo! (and not Google).
Swisscows is a German search engine based in Switzerland that uses its own index, but Bing’s for other languages. It is considered a good alternative search engine for some valid points.
- A family-friendly search engine that filters violent and pornographic content all the way through (a built-in feature that cannot ever be overridden)
- Strong commitment to privacy (fully encrypted searches)
- Switzerland not being a part of the Five, Nine, or Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance
- Using semantic information recognition to offer intuitive answers to search queries (the innovative semantic map shows other relevant or popular queries, helping to give you even more information)
- Using data pools to generate answers quickly and efficiently
- Ads are targeted based on users’ query and not their geographic location
- Showing helpful suggestion tags
- Relying on Bing for pulling data
- Having a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the USA
Swisscows allows you to choose to display only region-specific results, translates texts, and instantly looks up meaning of words and sentences.
Now take a look at this comparison among the 7 alternative search engines based on privacy and accuracy:
Feature Engine Storing IP address Using tracking cookies Saving searches Search results accuracy Ads
|Features||Storing IP address||Using tracking cookies||Saving searches||Search results accuracy||Ads|
|Qwant||No||No||No||Very Good||Not Targeted|
|Ecosia||Yes||Yes||Yes||Very Good||Not Targeted|
What can you do next with these alternative search engines ?
Google is by far the best search engine worldwide, but for some reasons you might want to check one of these 7 alternative search engines on your next search . You can use the extra safety, help planting a tree or two, donate some money and make a difference in someone’s world, or just play around with cool features and tools.
Share with us, and the readers, your experience using any of these alternative search engines : what did you like, what did you hate, and what could have gone better?
Any suggestions for other popular alternative search engines ? Try it out for a couple of days for a better opinion and a fair judgement.