Google is the most popular search engine in the world. It handles about 5.6 billion searches a day, which makes up over 90% of all internet searches. But there are search engines other than Google you can use for different purposes and reasons – including privacy concerns. We’ll discuss some of these alternatives here and why they’re worth checking out.
Search engines fall into two categories – horizontal search engines and vertical search engines.
Horizontal search engines allow you to explore the entire web. You can do a horizontal search by entering any topic into the engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing and hopefully find a web page that satisfies your search intent.
If you’re searching for something specific, such as a product or service in your area, vertical search engines are the way to go. YouTube, Amazon, and GIPHY are three examples of vertical search engines.
First, we’ll look at horizontal search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. Horizontal search engines use crawler software to index the whole public web. Then, when a user enters a query, these search engines choose the most relevant sites from their index and display them in the form of a search engine result page (SERP).
Next, we’ll talk about vertical search engines like YouTube, a search engine for videos, and Listen Notes, a podcast search engine.
In the penultimate section, we will explore how you can use social search engines for hyper-specific intent searches.
The final section will cover search engines that are deployed in the enterprise environment. Algolia, Yext, and Elastisearch are some such search engines.
Table of Contents
- 1 Reasons for Not Using Google Search
- 2 Close Alternatives to Google
- 3 Vertical Search Engine
- 4 Country Search Engines
- 5 Ultra Local Search Engines
- 6 Social Search Engines
- 7 Enterprise Search Engines
- 8 Conclusion
Reasons for Not Using Google Search
Google is the most popular search engine, and it provides a great service, but there are some downsides.
Privacy is a major concern for many people, and Google has a poor record in this department. Google gathers a ton of data on its users. It tracks everything you search, including anything typed into Google autocomplete, your location, browser fingerprint, and more.
Not only does Google track you when you are using Google search, but it also continues to track you across their product ecosystem like Google Maps, weather updates, and across the web via Google Adwords. This can be invasive to people who do not want their browsing habits tracked.
Another downside to Google is that it can leave out sites that don’t comply with Google’s webmaster guidelines from its SERP. As a result, websites that don’t play by Google’s rule book have a lower chance of appearing higher up in the search result – despite good content. Other search engines might provide less biased information or better results for specialized queries.
Many users are also concerned with Google’s dominance in the market and want to switch away for this reason.
Some users have switched to other search engines because they don’t like the quality of results from Google. Google favors large sites over smaller ones. Large websites have more “authority” than smaller ones and can rank with inferior content.
Finally, there are situations where Google just won’t cut it.
For example, you can’t search the deep web with Google. Exploring the deep web requires alternate search engines.
Math is another area Google doesn’t shine. Google is good for some math, but Wolfram Alpha can go deeper.
Close Alternatives to Google
The three most popular search engines other than Google are Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo. Their search results are most like Google. Just like Google, they crawl the entire public web and store the data in their index. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each of these.
Microsoft Bing is a search engine birthed in 2009. Bing SERP operates on a similar algorithm as Google – it ranks results based on relevance and popularity, which are indicated in part by back-links and social shares.
As of 2020, Bing had 2.71% of the worldwide search engine market share, increasing 11.06% since 2019.
Bing SERP may be similar to Google SERP. But it is not a Google clone. Bing has several features that make it different from Google.
Bing lets you set your search engine preferences, allowing easy access to the sites and topics most important to you. It also offers personalized newsfeeds with breaking headlines on significant events worldwide and quick links to download apps.
Bing has many features that make it unique. You can learn about all of Bing’s features on Bing’s help page.
The Bing search engine has a “Knowledge Graph” where it shows you data related to your search result. For example, suppose you search for Harry Potter and Philosopher’s stone. In that case, Bing will show you a knowledge card with additional information, including the author, pages, and preview.
The Bing search engine also offers an “Action Graph,” which provides links to other websites that are relevant for what you want to know.
Bing Action Graph and Bing Knowledge Graph are also available via an API.
Bing also offers Bing Predicts, which forecasts future trends.
The Bing search engine features a translator that can convert text into more than 100 different languages, making it perfect for travelers.
Lastly, Bing integrates with third parties like Facebook (Facebook Connect) or Twitter, making sharing Bing’s results on social media sites super easy.
DuckDuckGo is an innovative search engine that puts users’ privacy first. DuckDuckGo does not track you across websites as Google does. DDG does not collect your data and browsing history to deliver intrusive advertisements.
DuckDuckGo was founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg. DuckDuckGo started because Weinberg was frustrated by the idea of having to trade personal information to get good search results.
In the beginning, DuckDuckGo did not even have a website – it was just an app with its search engine embedded into other sites.
DuckDuckGo recorded a total of 23.65 billion search queries last year. In comparison to 2019, the yearly volume of searches increased by 56.8 percent.
Suppose you are a privacy-focused individual and worried about the zillion ways in which tech companies can track you online. In that case, DuckDuckGo is the search engine for you.
The primary focus of DuckDuckGo is privacy and not tracking users’ data across multiple platforms. In addition, searches on DuckDuckGo are anonymous, which means that your searches can’t be traced back to you.
Bang is an excellent feature on DuckDuckGo. Bang is a feature that allows you to get instant answers to your queries from a particular website. For example, searching “!w mars” will take you directly to the page for the planet Mars on Wikipedia. This feature is similar to Google’s “I am feeling lucky” button, only more powerful.
It is effortless to change your country of search on DuckDuckGo. The option is right below the search bar. In addition, since DuckDuckGo does not track your IP, you don’t have to use a proxy to pull the SERP from a different country.
The search engine also has many excellent features like password generation, calculator, conversions, translation, and more.
Are you interested in an open-source search engine? Gigablast has your back. It is not always accurate, but it does provide a nostalgic look and speedy results that mimic Google Instant before Google pulled the plug.
Gigablast is an independent search engine and web crawler founded in 2000 by Matt Wells, a former Infoseek employee. The company is based out of New Mexico, where it has been developed and maintained for the last decade.
Vertical Search Engine
If you’ve ever searched with a specific intent and found that the top results are not what you were looking for, then congratulations. You have experienced the need for vertical search.
Vertical search engines allow users to tailor searches to their specific needs, which can be time-consuming and difficult in traditional search engines like Google.
What is a vertical search engine? A simple definition would be an engine that focuses on one particular industry or type of content, such as jobs, podcasts, recipes, financial information, and market data. The idea behind these types of engines is that they allow users to find what they are looking for without wading through pages upon pages of SERP.
Vertical search engines work best when you know what you’re searching for or have a particular question that a vertical search engine can answer.
You may already be using a vertical search engine and not even know it.
YouTube is a vertical search engine for video content.
Wikipedia is a vertical search engine for high-quality information on anything from history to current events, grammar and vocabulary rules, or the geography of countries around the world.
Google Images is also a type of vertical search engine because it provides images instead of text-based results.
Let’s look at some fantastic vertical search engines that are worth checking out.
YouTube is the most popular video-sharing website on the Internet. It has a diverse and vast library of videos that cover every topic imaginable. It’s safe to say that YouTube is our generation’s answer to television, but with one significant difference: you can watch anything, anytime. The only problem? When you have so many choices at your fingertips, how do you know what’s worth watching?
Luckily for us, YouTube is also a powerful search engine capable of searching billions of videos in its library.
But do you know that YouTube is also the second-largest search engine after Google search?
YouTube ranks videos based on popularity and relevance. YouTube’s search feature allows you to find a video of your choice.
You’ll also find different categories on YouTube, such as “news” or “entertainment.” These categories will help guide you through all of these new videos in an organized fashion.
Podcasts are one of the best ways to relax and learn new things. The problem is that it can be challenging to find a podcast that matches your interests. Listen Notes solves this by helping you search for podcasts based on your interests. It’s like Google but for podcasts.
GIPHY is a vertical search engine for GIFs and animations. GIPHY has recently launched its video player, allowing users to upload their videos directly to their site or embed them on other sites. Videos can be searched by keywords, tags, or topics such as “funny” or “cat.” Users can also create custom playlists of their favorite clips.
GIPHY offers analytics tools that allow you to see how many times your GIF has been viewed and who shared it most often with others. The app is available on mobile devices and browsers alike, so all of your GIF needs are always at arm’s reach. Some marketers create their own GIFs for brand exposure – if it’s used a lot in the right context, you can stay top-of-mind in a playful, non-intrusive way.
The possibilities for creative expression are endless! With GIPHY, you have access to over 10 million GIFs, with new ones being added daily. GIPHY is a one-stop-shop for all your GIF needs.
Charity Search Engines
Charity search engines are websites that find charities and link to them for the user. They typically allow you to search or browse through charity listings, view their mission statement, recent projects they’ve completed, recommended donation amount, where their money funds go, and how much of your donation gets spent on administrative costs.
Charity search engines have proven extremely useful since they save a significant amount of time for people looking to donate but find it difficult to locate a reputable charity among so many options.
Ecosia, Ekoru, and giveWater are some popular charity search engines.
Country Search Engines
Did you know that some countries have their version of a search engine too? For instance, if you live in the United States and want to find out what is going on in India, you can go to google.co.in Google’s local search engine for India.
Similarly, China and Baidu. Baidu is China’s largest search engine and the world’s 3rd, behind Microsoft Bing. The company was founded by Robin Li and Eric Xu in 2000 while they were students at Stanford University. Baidu means “hundreds of times” – a reference to its goal of searching faster than any other site on the web.
Yandex Search is a Russian search engine that has been around since 1997. It’s the biggest in Russia and one of the most popular on the Internet, with more than 85 million monthly users. Yandex is often used for searches about shopping, flights, hotels, news, and weather.
Yandex also offers services like Google Maps (which includes public transportation), News, Photos & Videos so you can stay up to date on everything going on in Russia.
Looking for an EU-based search engine that protects your privacy? Qwant is a Paris-based, all-inclusive search engine. They are the first to protect user’s privacy and preserve the “digital ecosystem” by remaining neutral.
Ultra Local Search Engines
An ultra-local search engine is a search engine designed to find local results only.
If you’re looking for a restaurant nearby, try Yelp or Opentable instead of Google.
LocalHarvest is a search engine that connects people looking for good food with the farmers who produce it. This company has a database of over 40,000 family farms. It allows users to search through their extensive list by zip code or state to find local producers located nearby them.
Private Label Local Search
Local media companies are changing the way they operate to serve their communities better. Traditional local newspaper publishers and broadcasters have started adding search engines to their websites to attract more viewers, readers, listeners, or customers.
Information on these websites is curated by journalists who know their city like the back of their hands. They also come with a strong sense of ownership and internal knowledge.
Visitors to these sites can find ultra-local information that would be difficult to find on Google.
Social Search Engines
All of us have tried, at some point, to find information on social media websites and felt overwhelmed with the sheer volume of data. Copious amounts of information are generated on social media making it difficult to find the signal in all the clutter.
Thankfully network-specific advanced search is a quick and easy way to find what you are looking for. Let’s look at some of them.
Social media is a vast and intimidating ocean of information. We’ve all tried to find the needle in the haystack, but it feels like there’s no end in sight.
Fortunately for us, social networks have solved this problem by implementing advanced search features that can help you get the information you need. Let us look at some of these implementations.
Facebook has been working hard to improve its search algorithm, and it’s showing. If you are looking for something specific on Facebook, use the “Advanced Search” option. Type in your query and hit enter to see search results filtered by people, pages, or other criteria that might interest you.
LinkedIn People Search
LinkedIn is a popular social media site where you can find and connect with professionals worldwide. It’s also possible to use LinkedIn as an effective people search tool.
In addition to the standard search features, advanced searches allow you to find new connections by narrowing down your results with filters like location, company, title, industry, and seniority level. Premium members even have access to additional filter options such as company size or years of experience.
LinkedIn Job Search
LinkedIn offers an Advanced Job Search feature that enables users to refine searches based on experience level and other variables like specific industries or salaries offered. Premium members can refine their search by the salary offered.
LinkedIn Answers Search
LinkedIn Answers is a powerful tool for building your reputation. Using LinkedIn to answer questions allows you to show your expertise, strengthen connections with other professionals in the field, or just be helpful.
Twitter’s Advanced Search is a great way to find better results on Twitter. It’s especially useful for businesses looking for a local audience by allowing them to filter their search using the Near this place field, which narrows down tweets based on your location or desired radius around that area.
Keyhole is a social search engine that allows you to find relevant information from social networks. You can type in hashtags, keywords, or @mentions and see how they are trending on social media worldwide.
Want to see how your latest blog post was shared across social networks? Just select the URL option on Keyhole and put in the URL to track. You’ll be able to find out who has been sharing it, as well as which content is resonating with followers of those accounts.
Enterprise Search Engines
Enterprise search software is an essential tool for any company trying to keep its information organized.
It is good to have an enterprise search engine in place as soon as possible because it will go a long way towards helping increase productivity and efficiency among employees across the company.
Enterprise search engines help businesses find the right resources without spending countless person-hours looking through databases and company intranet.
Let’s look at some popular enterprise search engines.
Algolia is an innovative, on-demand enterprise search engine that helps organizations deliver relevant content to the right person in milliseconds.
Algolia powers an insane amount of requests each year (1.5T) for 10,000+ customers all over the world. They put a lot of emphasis on performance and scalability with their APIs since it’s key to providing high-quality search results.
IBM Watson Discovery
IBM Watson Discovery is an AI-powered search engine that helps enterprises find critical information from their data. With its AI-powered enterprise search technology, it helps enterprises cut through the noise of Big Data so they can focus on what matters most and make better decisions more quickly.
IBM Watson Discovery can locate data buried inside enterprise data systems and cut research time by over 75%.
IBM Watson Discovery uses natural language processing to uncover meaningful business insights from text, webpages, and big data. This service can transform any content into a structured semantic graph of words that can be analyzed for sentiment or preference with an easy-to-use interface.
Swiftype is a search engine that your business can use to improve the usability and efficiency of its website. With Swiftype, companies can increase conversion rates by delivering better customer service through enhanced site navigation.
Swift type also gives e-commerce websites increased ability for content curation with category pages where there are relevant articles or products in each subject area.
Yext has created a modern, AI-powered Answers Platform that instantly responds to people when they ask questions about businesses online. This platform understands natural language and can give you direct answers instead of links that are often not helpful in finding the right information related to your inquiry.
Elastic Enterprise Search
Elastic Enterprise Search is a suite of products for any search application. With Elastic Enterprise Search, enterprises can get their users the answers they need with just one click. Elastic Enterprise Seach gives companies all the tools and resources required to bring together insights quickly and seamlessly.
Google search is ubiquitous, but it’s not the only way to find what you’re looking for online. If you’re tired of scrolling through pages and pages of irrelevant results, try out some alternatives that might provide more accurate information tailored just for you. Vertical search engines focus on a specific topic or industry. Enterprise search is used by large companies who need customized solutions to help them find data inside their networks.
What are some ways that you have found for using different types of search engines? Let us know in the comments below.