In the realms of online search, it’s fair to say that Google has somewhat cornered the market. This can be seen in the way people now say that they’ll ‘Google’ something when they have a question to be answered. But, if you don’t want to use the all-conquering behemoth then there are a few others available. We show you the best alternative search engines to Google.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your time online then it would be well worth also taking a look at our
Best web browsers 2018 roundup.
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One of the obvious places to start is with Microsoft’s Bing. Over the past few years Microsoft has been working hard to make Bing a serious competitor for Google. This pursuit has resulted in some cool features on offer for users.
Visual search is a great idea that allow you to search for items within an image. Just find a picture as you normally would, then by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner you can highlight an area within the picture, which will then bring up further results that match its style.
This is great for tracking down furniture or clothing that might appear in images you come across while online.
Another tempting part of Bing is the Rewards. These are prizes draws and gift cards that can be earned simply by using the search engine. Once you’ve logged in with your account Microsoft will automatically add points each time you use Bing.
Up until recently this was only available in the US, but now it’s also made it to the UK.
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If you’re concerned about the constant tracking that often goes with the search engines then there are a few that eschew this kind of behaviour. One of our favourites is DuckDuckGo.
This simple app does its job and doesn’t try to predict your intentions. You can either visit the website itself, or use a dedicated plug-in for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, plus there are apps for Android and iOS.
In use DuckDuckGo looks a little basic, search results show less information than on Google and Bing, but there’s enough to know what the article is about. There’s a safe search option available, and we like the quick switch that restricts results to the country you’re currently in.
One nice touch is Bang searches. This allows you to put an exclamation mark at the start of the query followed by the site you want to search, and then the specific item. So, for example, if you want to find suede shoes on Amazon, you type !amazon suede shoes.
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Another option that specialises in privacy is Start Page. In fact, it claims to be ‘the world’s most private search engine’ and has supporting quotes from the likes of Edward Snowdon on its site.
The interesting part about Start Page is that it actually uses Google Web results, so you’ll get the same list of articles and links as you would on a normal Google search. But, as Start Page doesn’t keep your data or pass it on, your browsing remains anonymous.
There are plugins available for Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer, plus apps for Android and iOS.
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Those with long memories might recall a search engine back in the day called Ask Jeeves. Well, the titular butler has now retired to enjoy the quiet life, leaving behind the stark interface that is Ask.
The selling point of this service has always been the ability to pose questions in conversational text rather than explicit search terms. So, for example, you might type ‘What is life all about?’ and receive various philosophical responses.
While this was impressive when it first arrived, Google and others now offer similar features, but that doesn’t necessarily diminish what you can glean from Ask. We’d like Jeeves to return, but fear the estate of P.G.Wodehouse might not be so complaisant.
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Russia seems to be in the news quite a bit at the moment, so to keep up with current trends it seems only appropriate that we mention Yandex in this roundup.
The search engine hails from Putin’s land, but has offices in various countries around the region. Yandex offers good, fast results, plus there are various additional features such as mail and cloud storage facilities attached to the website.
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Finally, there’s the old giant that was once a major player in search. Now Yahoo has refashioned itself to be something more akin to a web portal that also displays news, trending searches, weather reports, and various other ephemera.
It’s a noticeable contrast to the blank slate of Google and most other search engines, but once you type a term into the box at the top you’ll see results just as you would on rival platforms.