For the longest time, the almighty Google dominates the search engine landscape. So much so, in fact, that Google’s popularity garnered it an official entry in the Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries in 2006. None of the other search engines have that feather to decorate their caps.
“To Google” is to perform the online equivalent of scouring the local library. But the multinational Internet and software corporation is not the only available search engine on the World Wide Web.
Here are the top 3 alternative search engines aside from Google:
Microsoft’s brainchild Bing was officially launched in 2009, but its history dates back in the late ‘90’s. Marked by major revamps and notable changes, Bing was formerly known as MSN Search (1999), Windows Live Search (2006), and Live Search (2007).
The computer giant settled on the name “Bing” for pragmatic purposes: it is memorable, short, easy to spell, and would function well as a URL. Also, the name reminds users of that familiar Bing! sound made during times of discovery and decision making. In fact, this search engine is being advertised as a “decision engine,” where people will find the answers they need for a faster and more informed decisions.
Its features include:
- Interface – daily change of background images, video and images homepage, left side navigation plane for search results, right side extended previews, and sublinks.
- Media features – hovering over video thumbnail preview will automatically play it, image and video searches has adjustable settings, and advanced filters.
- Instant answers for a multitude of queries
- Local info on businesses, restaurants, and the like
- Integration with Hotmail and Facebook
NASDAQ-listed firm Yahoo! Inc. launched its website in 1994. Founders Jerry Yang and David Filo initially created a website named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” as a hierarchically organized directory of other websites. The name “Yahoo!” was officially coined in April 1994, and its domain launched in January 1995.
The word “Yahoo” is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” The founders, however, insisted that they picked the name based on the slang term made famous during the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, referring to an unsophisticated, rural Southerner.
Yahoo! gained popularity during the ‘90’s and eventually branched out as a web portal. Its products and services include:
- Storing personal information and tracking usage of its half-billion web visitors per month.
- Communication services, such as email, messenger, and social networking features.
- Media content and news on a wide range of topics, such as sports, finance, music, games, and movies.
- Mobile services that enables blogging, online searching, and video chats.
- Commerce for individuals and small businesses through secured online transactions.
- Advertising for businesses who wish to establish an online presence.
Pennsylvania-based DuckDuckGo is a search engine established by entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg in 2008. The name came from “Duck Duck Goose,” a traditional children’s game.
- Search results gathered from crowd-sourced sites, such as Wikipedia, Yahoo! Search BOSS, Wolfram Alpha, and DuckDuckBot (its own web crawler), in order to pad its “zero-click info” boxes with topic summaries and related topics.
- Filtering search results to show mostly shopping and info sites. Weinberg also deleted results from sites with lots of advertising and those he touts as “content mills”—sites with content specially targeted to rank high in Google’s index (e.g. eHow).
- Anonymous and encrypted searching through Tor.
Bing, Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo versus Google
And so, the battle begins. On which front does one search engine trumps the other? Which services are better delivered on which platform?
With these search engines gaining more popularity, Google’s hold on the top is being continually challenged. Hence, comparisons among its users are inevitable. Read on to find out how each challenger fares against the almighty Google:
Bing versus Google
Bing and Google differ significantly in terms of keyword match types. For account owners on both platforms, this may spell the difference between their pages gaining a high or low rank.
There are basically four ways in which a user can set each search-targeted keyword: 1) Broad Match, which allows ads to show on searches with similar phrases and relevant variations; 2) Phrase Match, which allows ads to show for searches matching the exact phrase; 3) Exact Match, which allows ads to show for searches that match the exact phrase; and 4) Negative Match, which ensures ads do not show for any search that includes that particular term.
Google and Bing interpret match types differently. Broad Match, Exact Match, and Negative Match all produce different results if a person uses either of the two search engines. Google and Bing, however, are similar in displaying results for Phrase Matches.
Yahoo! versus Google
Google and Yahoo! are both advancing their steps in the world of social media. In terms of strategy, these two search engines seem to go on separate ways.
Yahoo!, for one, exerts more effort in closing partnerships with various social media and incorporating it into their system. After its failed attempt to acquire Facebook in 2006, Yahoo! almost fell into the hands of Microsoft two years after. With a change in leadership, Yahoo! has now integrated social giants Facebook and Twitter into its system to generate more traffic.
Google also failed numerous times on the social media front, as seen in Google Friend Connect, Orkut, Blogger, Jaiku, and Dodgeball. Aside from YouTube, which the company acquired in 2006, its social media strategy basically falls short. That is, however, before the introduction of Google Buzz. Google’s strategy is to dominate the social networking aspect through its own product rather than acquisitions.
DuckDuckGo versus Google
DuckDuckGo prides itself with presenting its users with better results and better privacy settings than Google.
In terms of search results, DuckDuckGo provides a “Zero-click info” box right above the results. It gives the readers summaries, images, and related topics to the query. Also, with the use of semantic topic detection, DuckDuckGo can ask users to clarify ambiguous terms so it can deliver more targeted results.
DuckDuckGo also delivers results with less spam and less ads. In order to do so, DuckDuckGo only provides sources with titles and descriptions written by people rather than those that are computer-generated.
Lastly, privacy issues are often a controversy for most search engines, including Google. DuckDuckGo, however, does not keep a record of IP addresses and user information. Cookies are only rarely used.
Google Stays on Top
The almighty Google continues to stay in the lead of other search engines. It is still the best search engine in existence, as seen in the traffic it generates every month. Users find Google to be:
- Simple and user-friendly
- Fast and reliable
- A search engine with fewer ads on display. Those that show up, however, are relevant to the query.
- A search engine with an algorithm that places the most relevant search results on the top.
Every search engine has their own characteristic that attracts users worldwide. However, considering all the features of Google, it is no wonder that it stays at the top of the search engines’ race to number one.