Google is by far the largest and most popular search engine in the world, and has become such a staple of modern life that the term Google is synonymous with searching a term. But Google isn’t always the best option for everyone, despite what Google would have people believe. Depending on what is needed, there are a few alternatives that are definitely more suitable.
Google has long since dominated the market when it comes to being the most known search engine, and has grown as a company so that it is possibly the most recognisable name in the modern world. They have created their own proprietary OS for mobile devices (Android) and have even moved into design and manufacturing of devices (i.e. the Pixel). Google has some fantastic accomplishments, but their search engine leaves alot to be desired.
As far as number of pages searchable goes, Google has the most at over 135 Billion. But this is still only 0.004-4% of the total number of pages on the internet, leaving alot of content to be explored. These pages are mostly in the ‘deep web’ or even ‘dark web’ and Google deliberately does not search for them; password protected content or that which used a custom browser like Tor.
Because Google is the most popular, it is also the one most used for advertising and marketing purposes. Sponsored links are rife with any search, usually taking the first 3 results on any page. Other search engines tend not to have this problem, as their advertising revenue is much lower. Similarly, many search engines except Google allow adblock extensions to block their own sponsored adds, leading to a much more streamlined experience.
The main competitor to Google as a search engine is Microsofts 2009 creation of Bing. Bing is the default search engine for Microsoft products like IE, and has many useful features which are not present with Google. Bing allows users to specify their search terms very heavily, for instance refining searches on how far words are apart on a page, not simply that they’re on the same page. Using Bing to search for [cat near:20 dog] will only show pages which have cat written within 20 words of dog. This is not an option with Google, and is extremely useful for detailed searching. Bing also has the advantage of analysing inbound link data, something which Google needs extra permissions or extensions for.
One of the other top competitors for Google is a privacy based search engine; DuckDuckGo. This engine does not collect any location or cookie data from its users, meaning that there is not only no record of searches, there is also no location based results. This is perfect for anyone wishing for a true search engine experience, not results based off of an IP address. DuckDuckGo is the preferred search engine for people wishing to not have any tracking, and those searching for SEO purposes.
There are quite a few other alternatives to Google, such as CrunchBase for businesses and Quantcast for traffic stats. All of these engines have a specific niche which may prove useful to the user, and it’s important to test any alternative as a potential mainstay before choosing a main engine to use.