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When it comes to search engines, most internet users only know about Google. However, there are many other little-known options out there that can get the job done. The good news is that some of these alternative search engines even come with privacy enhancements that protect you from being tracked on the internet.
Here are some of the search engine alternatives you can explore:
Microsoft’s Bing, the second most popular search engine, stands out because of its attractive visuals. Its homepage is has a very dynamic background that displays beautiful images of people, sports, places, animals etc. The video search displays a selection of thumbnails that provide a review when a user hovers of them. Bing comes with features such as flight tracking, sports scores, spell check, translation and conversion. It also has mobile apps on iOS as well as Android, thus making it a formidable opponent to Google.
Though Yahoo was created long before Google, very few people use Yahoo! Search to look for information. Besides offering search results, this web portal serves as a travel directory, online shopping center, games center, email service and much more. In addition, Yahoo supports almost 40 languages and comes with enhanced privacy features. With all its services and features, Yahoo is definitely a search engine worth checking out.
DuckDuckGo has become increasingly popular because of the level of online user privacy it provides. The site never monitors your online activities, meaning that there will be no annoying ads following you everywhere. To keep your activities private, all you need to do is add the site’s extension to your browser. DuckDuckGo displays search results from other search engines such as Yandex and Yahoo, and also allows users to search directly on sites like YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon.
Based in France, Qwant is another search engine with advanced privacy settings. The website does not harvest your personal data or record your searches for ad targeting. One of its most notable features is the ‘Qwick Search Shortcuts’ that allows users to get direct results from any website.
Qwant comes with a pleasant interface that highlights news and trending topics in an organized fashion. Search terms are displayed within three categories; Social, News and Web. For music lovers, this search engine has a specific section where people can find new lyrics and music with the aid of artificial intelligence.
Previously known as Hulbee, Swisscows is a search engine based in Switzerland. Using semantic data recognition, this search engine provides users with faster results to queries. Its built-in filter for violent and pornographic content has made it very popular with parents all over the world. Just like DuckDuckGo and Qwant, Swisscows does not store any search queries, IP addresses and personal data, making it one of the most preferable alternative search engines. Switzerland is well known for its very stringent privacy laws.
This is a metasearch engine that has privacy as its core value. Search Encrypt does not monitor personal information about its users since it uses advanced SSL encryption to secure your searches.
One of the most notable features of this search engine is the ‘expiring search history’. After 30 minutes of inactivity, your browsing history is deleted automatically. This means that you don’t have to worry in case another user has access to your computer.
As the name suggests, the Internet Archive is a huge library of music, software, websites, movies, books and other documented materials. Like a physical library, this search engine provides free access to scholars, historians, the print disabled, researchers and the general public. Through the Wayback machine, users can access over 20 years of web history. The Internet Archive also has a program for digitizing books, with 1,000 books being scanned daily in different locations around the world. Users can create a free account and upload media directly on the site.
Ecosia is an environmentally friendly search engine that uses its profits to plant trees all around the world. Its servers run on 100% renewable energy, thus reducing the CO2 produced in the atmosphere. This privacy-friendly search engine does not have any third-party trackers and does not sell information to advertisers. In addition, all searches are made anonymous within one week.
This is the perfect search engine for anyone looking for free content under Creative Commons licenses and in the public domain. You can find content that can be used for commercial purposes, as well as content that can be modified or adapted. Results are drawn in from platforms such as Flickr, Wikimedia, Rawpixel, PhyloPic, Behance and Thingiverse.
However, a disclaimer on the site states that CC search does not verify if the licensing and attribution information for images is complete or accurate. Users must therefore independently verify the attribution information and licensing status before reusing the content.
Though CC Search only searches images currently, they plan to add other media types such as audio and text.
StartPage does not collect or share your personal information. You can search in peace without being bothered by ads recommending products.
This search engine comes with a custom URL generator that allows users to search without having cookies installed in their devices. In addition, you can alter the theme of the search engine using modes such as Night (Dark mode), Black, White and Air (default).
SlideShare is a unique search tool that allows users to search for content in form of presentations, infographics, documents and videos. You can search for content uploaded in the last 7, 30 or 365 days. In addition, you can translate your search results into any of the major languages of the world. The SlideShare homepage displays results such as featured courses from LinkedIn Learning, Daily Top Headlines, Latest Conferences and Trending in Social Media. Users can also explore the editor’s picks, as well as popular topics such as business, design, economy and finance, career, food, healthcare, law and real estate.
Baidu, the most popular search engines in Asia, is used by almost 80% of China’s internet market. Its main competitors are search tools such as Haosou and Shenma. Besides search services, Baidu also offers a mapping service called Baidu Maps, a keyword-based discussion forum and Baidu Baike (an online encyclopedia).
Haosou, the second most popular search engine in Asia, is growing rapidly and taking over a large market share from Baidu. Owned by Qihoo 360, this search tool offers a wide range of search options including Images, News, Web, Wiki, Music, Video, Q&A, Doctors and more. Besides a search engine, Qihoo also offers services such as a web browser, antivirus software, a mobile app store and a directory.
SearX is another alternative metasearch engine worth mentioning. With the objective of making the internet more decentralized and free, this search engine does not harvest your information and offers unbiased results from a wide range of sources. This includes well known sources such as Wikipedia, Google, DuckDuckGo and Yahoo. Being an open source search engine, you can customize it as your own and even host in your own server.
Unlike many other search engines, SearX allows users to adjust the settings in the ‘preferences’ section. Torrent fans will especially have a great user experience when searching for files using this search engine.
Yandex is one of the favorite search engines in Russia where it is based. It is also popular in countries such as Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. Yandex provides a wide range of services including cloud storage, analytics, a mailing service, translator, map, browser and mobile apps. This makes it one of the top alternative search engines to Google.
Yandex boasts a very neat interface and a layout that is much cleaner compared to Google. Just like Google, it displays search results in three categories; news, videos and images. However, if privacy is a priority, it would be advisable to avoid Yandex (unless you are based in Russia).
Gibiru not only addresses privacy matters but also censorship. This engine provides uncensored and free anonymous search results. A disclaimer on the website states that Gibiru does not log your IP addresses, searches or place cookies on your device. This means that your personal information cannot be used to retarget you.
Mobile users can install the Wormhole Mobile App and browse the internet anonymously without having their searches recorded. Downloading an Express VPN on your device will also help hide your location and keep websites from spying on you.
Unlike the other Google alternatives mentioned above, Disconnect does not show search results on its own page. Rather, it makes you anonymous by redirecting your query through its servers, and then displays search results in any search engine of your choice. Since it does not have its own search results pages, Disconnect is basically just an extension that you can add to your browser. The Basic and Pro versions are free and offer limited protection. The Premium version comes with a full tracker and VPN protection for Mac computers and all mobile devices. Users pay as little as $50 annually for 3 devices.
Previously known as Ask Jeeves, Ask is a search engine that was founded in 1996. It has become popular with many users due to its simple question-answer format. However, just like any other search engine, it also displays search results for queries not typed as questions. Ask also displays related queries on the side, which can come in very handy for users.
Originally created and released under the name Clusty, Yippy is a unique search engine that divides search results into clusters. For instance, the query ‘food’ displays the top results, as well as categories for cooking, fast food, food safety, FDA, health foods, recipes, food stamps and food ingredients.
Bitclave combines all the elements of cryptography, cryptocurrency and blockchain to offer security and a pleasant experience to users. This search tool allows users to choose what information to share and who can get access to their data. Users can even earn some money by sharing their data.
Bitclave offers the following services:
- Limitless Reward – This is a personalized cash back service that allows you to select your interests, take surveys and earn rewards for your time and data
- Vault – This is a data storage platform that encrypts user information. User information is kept safe and protected on the cloud
- Desearch – Powered by blockchain, Desearch is a search engine that allows users to enjoy great results and rewards
Based in London, UK, Oscobo is a search engine committed to protecting the privacy of its users. This search tool does not monitor search history or retain server logs related to personally identifiable information. In addition, Oscobo blocks your ISP from tracking your search terms and hides your search history on your device.
There is no doubt that Google is a very effective search engine. It uses intelligent and powerful algorithms as well as AI features to provide a personalized and seamless experience for users. However, using Google means risking intrusion by third parties such as the NSA and internet service providers (ISPs). This is why it would be advisable to switch to some of the private search engines listed above. When it comes to protecting your information, it is better to be safe than sorry. So go ahead and try out these alternatives and share your experience with others.
And if you know of any other Google alternatives out there, feel free to share with us in the comment section.