Let’s talk search engines.
Did you know there are search engines other than Google? And that using a different search engine might actually suit you better?
Perhaps you prefer a well-seasoned and reliable search tool. Or gravitate toward more socially conscious and green options. Or maybe privacy is your biggest concern.
Whatever your reasons, you have a choice.
While Google is the most popular search engine, with over 80% of the global market, there are plenty of Google alternatives out there.
This post will highlight the 15 best search engines, some of which may surprise you.
But first, have you ever stopped to think about what a search engine is? According to Techopedia, “A search engine is a service that allows Internet users to search for content via the World Wide Web (WWW).”
So, with that definition in mind… let’s check them out!
15 Top Search Engines
Part of what makes Google so effective is the collection of users’ browsing data (that it shares with marketers). Clearly, privacy is not their priority.
- Filters (Books, Images, Google Scholar) help fine-tune search results.
- “Local Search” and “Google Maps” enable users to find local businesses on the go.
- “I’m feeling lucky” takes the searcher straight into their #1-ranked article.
2. Microsoft Bing
Microsoft Bing is the default search engine for Windows PCs.
With fewer bells and whistles than Google, Bing provides great search results while ensuring more privacy and security.
Bing’s uncluttered appearance makes for a pleasant user experience, especially for its older audience.
- Their reward program allows users to accumulate points for products like apps and movies while surfing the internet for information.
- Searchers can use their voice, an image, or text to search from the toolbar.
- “My Saves” acts as a bookmarking tool.
Originally funded by Silicon Valley investors, Baidu is a Chinese company, compliant with China’s laws and censorship.
This search engine is focused on the needs of the local (not global) market and, although accessible worldwide, Baidu’s search results are displayed only in Chinese.
Their first page results are mainly ads, profiting from the commonly-held Chinese belief that the ability to pay for ads indicates a reliable company.
- “Baidu Maps” covers the Greater China region.
- “Baidu Knows” provides a site for registered members to post and answer questions in order to share their knowledge and experience.
- “Baidu Translate” supports 200 languages.
Yahoo! (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) is a web portal that provides multiple services, including a search engine, email, online forums, news, entertainment, and a whole lot more.
One of the oldest web search engines, Yahoo! is a favorite with the 65+ crowd.
It’s the default search engine for the Firefox browser.
- The “Hotel” tool allows users to compare hotel availability and rates.
- “Price Tracker” automatically compares prices to help users get the best deal.
- “Safe Search” blocks mature and sexually explicit content.
Yandex (Yet Another iNDEXer) is a Russian search engine used mainly in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ukraine.
43% of the Russian people use Yandex.
Its simple homepage displays favicons that make search channels obvious.
Search results are available in 10 languages. And if you’re not happy with Yandex’s results, you can click on the Google or Bing option at the bottom of each search results page.
- “Quick Answers” responds to user queries with details related to each search query.
- Filtering modes (no filter, moderate, family search) help avoid unwanted content.
- “Video Timestamp” starts videos at precise “search term” locations, skipping irrelevant content.
Originally known as Ask Jeeves, this website rebranded to Ask in 2006 with a focus on culture, travel, and entertainment information.
Their mission is “to enable curious people to find the information they need.”
Ask.com owns Ask.fm, a Q&A site where people can ask and answer controversial questions anonymously.
- The Ask home page is full of current and trending articles.
- Results are based on subject-specific popularity which adds an editorial flavor.
- Minimal ads create a pleasant user experience.
If you love privacy, check out DuckDuckGo.
This open-source search engine doesn’t collect, store, or pass on user information. And since they don’t profile their users, everybody sees the same results.
The downside to this privacy is the ads shown aren’t as relevant to the searcher, and search results may be of lower quality.
- “Instant Answers” gives you a quick answer at the top of the page,
- “!bangs” shortcuts allow you to search within 13,564 websites directly from DuckDuckGo,
- Search results scroll infinitely, so no need to click “next page.”
Naver (derived from navigate) is a web portal and Korea’s #1 search engine.
It sports a busy Yahoo!-type home page with trending news stories, weather reports, and plenty of ads.
Its search results are Google-esque, displayed in Korean and English.
Like Google, Naver focuses on the user experience.
- Searchers see 10 – 15 sponsored ads per page.
- “Comprehensive Search” splits results into sections for easy browsing.
- “Naver Knowledge” finds snippets of useful information based on a user’s query and displays it in either text, list, or table format.
Like Yahoo!, AOL is an American web portal and online service provider.
It’s best known from the early days when you “dialed up” your internet connection.
The search engine feature is aptly called AOL Search.
- Homepage displays the latest news on a variety of topics.
- AOL Search results look like an old-fashioned Google page: many organic links with a smattering of paid ads.
- AOL’s “SafeSearch” prevents sites with sexually explicit content from appearing in your search results.
Both AOL and Yahoo are being sold to Apollo Group in 2021 so big changes may be coming to this search engine soon.
Ecosia is known as “the search engine that plants trees.”
This German-based company generates revenue through ads which then pays for tree-planting, forest restoration, and social projects.
Powered by Bing, this alternative search engine has a clean, easy-to-navigate layout.
Like DuckDuckGo, Ecosia doesn’t track or sell data.
If privacy is important to you and climate change is your cause, give Ecosia a try.
- They vow to be transparent about profits, are carbon-neutral, and are privacy-friendly.
- Approximately 45 searches generate enough revenue for one tree; Ecosia funds a tree a second.
- “Green Search” icons indicate whether a website is planet-friendly (a green leaf) or if it contributes to climate change (a fossil fuel factory).
YouTube is a video social media platform that happens to be the 2nd most popular search engine — right behind its parent company Google.
With over 500 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, searchers can find a video on just about anything.
- Hashtags make finding videos on a specific topic super simple.
- “YouTube Music” is the leading music streaming platform.
- “YouTube Go” allows videos to be downloaded and viewed offline.
- “YouTube Originals” presents original content (series, movies, events), often awarding exclusive access to bonus content (ie, director’s cuts and extra scenes).
- “Content ID” identifies and manages copyrighted content on YouTube.
Amazon started as a small online bookstore and has grown into a powerful e-commerce search engine.
In fact, 63% of buyers start their online shopping searches on Amazon.
If you’re looking to buy or research a product, it’s hard to beat Amazon.
- In-depth descriptions, images, videos, Q&A, customer reviews, and pricing make it easy to discover, learn and compare products.
- Amazon matches consumers with relevant products based on their search term.
- More than 1.9 million small and medium-sized businesses sell on Amazon, making up almost 60% of Amazon’s retail sales.
Facebook is both a social media site AND a powerful search engine.
The 3rd most visited website in the world, Facebook claims more than 2 billion searches a day.
Keyword queries find results from friends, people your friends have interacted with, or pages you like.
- Filters target relevant information (posts, groups, videos, events, etc).
- “Places” is a powerful local business directory.
- 600 million people visit Facebook business pages each day.
With 326 million monthly users and 500 million daily tweets, you’ll find real-time information on almost any topic.
- “List” keeps the subjects and people you follow easily accessible.
- “Bookmark” saves tweets too good to lose.
- During a crisis or emergency, Tweeters close to the action often provide the most up-to-date news.
15. Internet Archive
Internet Archive, a legitimate and safe-to-use site, is an American search engine with a mission for “universal access to all knowledge.”
It’s also a member of the American Library Association.
- Free, public access to digitized materials, including websites, software apps and games, music, movies and videos, images, and books.
- Home to the Wayback Machine, a tool that documents the history and changes of websites. It’s been taking snapshots of the internet since the 1990s.
- Most of the information is under creative commons licenses or in the public domain, making downloading generally legal.
Which Search Engines Will You Try Next?
So there you have it: the top 15 search engines.
Some similar, some different, and some surprising.
Now that you know about search engines other than Google, give one or two a try.
If privacy is your concern, hang out with DuckDuckGo or Ecosia. Need to translate a document, try Yandex. Interested in the Asian market, check out Baidu or Naver.
With so many great options, the world is truly at your fingertips.