When it comes to web-based search, Google still reigns supreme, so the tendency is for people to miss out on some good results. Although Google has been consistent on upgrading and improving its algorithm, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. What people don’t know is that there are several alternative sites which might have already aced what’s lacking from the monoculture that Google has created.
This is not to say, though, that you should stop turning to the search giant that officially entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006 as an official verb. All I’m saying is that, it’s not too bad to take a deeper dive every once in a while and look at things from another search engine’s perspective. That being said, here are three (3) non-Google search engines that you might want to try.
Launched in 2010, Blekko tags itself as a spam-free search engine. The good thing about the service is that it taps human-generated feedback from its users to keep quality and spam-free results. However, the subjective nature of its search mechanism is also its Achilles’ heel, as some results tend to be ranked low if users don’t consider them as useful. Furthermore, it can be noted that Blekko closed a $30 million funding round with Yandex, a leading Russian search provider that recently overthrew Bing in the leaderboards, so perhaps good things are coming for this new player in the search engine battlefield.
Wolfram Alpha, the so-called computational knowledge engine, describes itself not as a search engine but rather “a synthesis of the world’s knowledge in a computable form.” It wasn’t able to gain much traction until Apple announced that it will be partnering with the Stephen Wolfram-founded company to deliver results for Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant for the iPhone 4S (and higher). True enough, as of February 2012, it’s been reported that 25 percent of the traffic handled by the search engine comes from the iconic knowledge navigator.
A search on “RingCentral” via Wolfram Alpha instantly brings out pretty much what you need to know about the company – its headquarters, its official website, the number of daily page views and visitors it gets, and even a location map of its head offices. Meanwhile, a query on “Phoenix” provides vague answers, but suggests on the onset what possible matches could work (a city, a constellation, an NBA team, a musical act, etc.) complete with hyperlinks that would help narrow down the search. If you narrow down by clicking on the link pertaining to the musical act, it will show you basic information about the band’s origins, members, discography, plus a band photo to boot. Sometimes, you won’t even need to click on a link because the returned results pretty much summarizes everything you need to know about something.
Duck Duck Go
If there’s a search engine that blows each of the alternatives offered above out of the water, it’s Duck Duck Go. It’s just a simple and straightforward search engine that will remind you of the early days of Google when there were no ads, no maps, no real-time results, and no fuzz. All the information you’ll get from doing a search are fairly relevant and you don’t have to worry about privacy because the service promises not to track your movements. Funny name, yes, but I bet you a dollar you’ll be amazed of what it can do. Besides, it wouldn’t be named by Time as one of the 50 best websites of 2011 if it wasn’t that good.
So what are you waiting for? Break free from the bonds of Google and try out these non-traditional search engines!