Google has imprinted itself as the go-to search engine with over 319 million unique searches being processed every single day. Since its inception, Google has evolved from a basic search engine to the biggest brand in the world, boasting numerous online services that millions of users rely on every day. While Google holds a strong lead in the search market, there are a few alternatives that have been gaining momentum over the years and even some that are currently being developed that are giving users more variety in the way they find information online. Today, were going to take a look at these competitors which include Bing, Duck Duck Go and the just-announced ad-free Wikipedia based search engine and how these services affect you.
While Bing is not used in its traditional sense as much as other search engines, the Microsoft platform is integrated throughout Yahoo!, Hotmail, Siri and Facebook, making it extremely popular, even if users aren’t aware of it.
The front page itself is a contrast to Google’s minimalistic approach, flaunting high resolution wallpapers behind the search bar and an up-to-date slideshow featuring the most popular searches at the bottom. The search feature itself is extremely similar to Google and users would have no trouble adapting to the platform, although with approximately 1/3 of the pages indexed on Google, the Microsoft alternative doesn’t have any redeeming qualities that would lead users to consider it as their go-to browser anytime soon.
DuckDuckGo, unlike other Google alternatives, sets itself apart from the competition in a big way. They do this by offering complete anonymity to all users when they search. This important feature is lost with Google and Bing, who work to tailor your results to your previous search history, which while some consider handy, others consider intrusive.
As the results aren’t specifically tailored to any one user, everyone gets the same results which are made up of what DuckDuckGo consider high quality sources. Sites that constantly produce content and articles are considered low quality sources, so instead DuckDuckGo lean towards established sites with content that is reliable and trusted. You will get fewer results using DuckDuckGo, but the results you do get should have no problem in answering your query.
As well as being anonymous to DuckDuckGo, the platform offer privacy options to encrypt your searches which prevent your search term being shared with the sites that that you clock on. With a primary focus on privacy and information quality, it differentiates itself enough from Google to make it a considerable alternative.
Taking the focus briefly away from tradional search engines, Quora is a platform which aims to answer specific questions through user interaction rather than pointing you to endless search results. The user base is made up of experts in various fields and operates under a voting system to ensure that both questions and answers are relevant to the topic of discussion.
This advanced version of Yahoo! Answers is made up of unique and reliable content, allowing you to find information regarding a question without even having to ask it yourself. There are plentiful amounts of interactions which have become great content for those seeking information from credible sources. The platform is a real alternative for users who usually use search engines, allowing them to speak directly to experts rather than read dated content from numerous sources, making learning quicker than ever.
Wikipedia & The Future Of Search
In recent news, Wikipedia has launched it’s claim into the search engine arena with the announcement of a $3.5million plan to build what they believe to be the next stage of online searching. Their standpoint is, that the domination of commercial search engines has hindered the ability of users to access knowledge and information but rather sponsored or lower quality content.
Wikipedia has set a clear list of goals to assert themselves in the search market, including:
- Transparent sources for every piece of information
- Public curation to uphold the high quality of results
- User privacy
- Access to metadata
- No paid results or advertisements
The organisation are looking forward to providing “The internet’s first transparent search engine”, which aims to improve the way people find and share information online without the interference of constant advertising.
As mentioned, the proposed budget to launch such a service has been set at approximately $3.5million AUD which may not seem much when launching a competitor to the global superpower that is Google, although it’s community building business model allows for minimal staff.
The focus now comes back to Google. Will they let Wikipedia simply create an open source version of their product? Or will Google beat them to the punch and create an alternative for their already huge user base? What do you think?