An alternative to Google – Exploring the other search engine options

Mar 22, 2019 by
An alternative to Google – Exploring the other search engine options

Google is a name that meant nothing 20 years ago. Now, it is the tech giant that provides the software and devices we use every single day.

From Google Docs to the Android smartphone platform, Google is a name synonymous with just about everything when it comes to tech and user-friendly interfaces. Yet it’s the search engine that started it all that continues to be the company’s heaviest hitter, with 73% of web searches made using Google search.

However, although Google is still the most comprehensive and popular search engine available (by some margin), it is also notorious for sharing user data. Google is a remarkable platform for SEO web marketers, but for consumers and professionals alike there a few other less celebrated options that deserve their moment in the sun.


Microsoft’s popular endeavours might often be the butt of jokes (does anyone remember the Zune?), but Bing is a different story altogether. Offering a more visual search experience than Google, the homepage alone is worth visiting – a constantly evolving background framed by comfortably-sized thumbnails of recent news stories. It also boasts many of the same features as Google such as ads, conversion, translation and more.


Don’t let the silly name fool you. DuckDuckGo is actually a deadly serious search engine when it comes to privacy. The site is completely free of targeted ads and will not track any of your online activities. The interface is also clean and user-friendly and the results are pulled from reputable outlets like Yahoo. It also allows you to directly search sites like Amazon and YouTube by starting the search query with an exclamation mark.


It might seem to many older millennials like more of a reminder of a bygone era, but AOL is actually still used as a search engine by approximately 0.06% of web users according to a survey by netmarketshare. It was acquired by Verizon back in 2015, and AOL is still around and works in a very similar manner to Google. Indeed, it uses an almost identical interface.


It might have been around for almost as long as AOL, but Yahoo is still one of the world’s most popular email providers and still boasts a powerful search engine that’s used by just under 4% of the market. Essentially offering the best of both worlds, Yahoo’s modern searches are powered by both Google and Bing and it is the default search engine of the enduringly popular Firefox browser.


Once known as “Ask Jeeves,” this search engine is still used by many due to its simplistic approach and how it handles question-based searches. The general results are not quite as comprehensive or as relevant as those you’ll find elsewhere, but if you have a rather vague question, there are few better places online to ask it.


Offering something a little different, SearX is an open source alternative to Google that can be completely customised to act as a metasearch engine. With hundreds of preferences that can be tweaked and the ability to search Torrent sites for downloads, it’s a favourite search engine of users who long for a more open, decentralised internet.


Finally, how would you like to use the search engine of your choice, but be assured that you’re browsing the web completely anonymously? Disconnect allows you to do this by rerouting your search query through its servers. Technically more of a browser extension than a standalone search engine, Disconnect is still a service that those who value their online privacy (and can’t bring themselves to use DuckDuckGo) should really consider investigating.