The wrong type of search engine?

If you only use one search engine then you are probably not getting the most out if your on-line research experience.

There are so many options out there to choose from.  Depending upon your research needs some search engines are better than others. Different search engines have their strengths and their weaknesses. It pays to know some of the other choices out there so you can maximise your online researching time.

In this blog, I will cover a few of my favorite and possibly not so favorite search engines.

Search engines!! So many Search engines

I’m not sure exactly how many search engines are out there.

I reckon there are a lot more than anyone could fathom.  Wikipedia have a list of search engines, however there are some gaps in it. The big problem with this list is that there is almost no description about each item in the list.

Whereas “the search engine list” not only provides a description it is possibly more comprehensive. But there are gaps.

I encourage you all to check both lists and have a play.

Google

Yes I know, Google probably has been critiqued to death, however I wouldn’t be much of a commentator if I ignored the biggest player in the market.  It is the biggest, it is the most popular, it has the best PR, but is it the best?

Well that depends, on what you want to use it for.  Overall for general searching purposes it’s pretty good. You will most likely come away from a search thinking you’ve got what you are after.

However, there are some issues.  The big one being the perceived quality of the top ten listings.  Most people won’t venture past the second page  for a range of reasons. One reason being laziness (who has the time to look at a million results), the other being trust.  During a recent conversation on forum a person said to me that they don’t bother going past the 1st page because “they rank all the sites, so you know that the number 1 site is going to be the best”.

That may have been true in the past.  That was the main intention when the team from Stanford had when developing it.  It is kind of true today, well kind of.  My biggest issues with Google is that with the rise of Adwords and SEO most search results on the first page are there mainly due because someone paid for them to be there.  My online research senses get all tingly just thinking about it.

So you think you can research?

So you think you can research?

Bing

The 2nd most popular search engine. Bing is  Microsoft’s answer to yahoo and Google and also a case of third time lucky. Although it only gets around 20% of the market share, it’s users do tend to trust it more.

There is a bit of debate as weather Bing Outranks Yahoo or not.  Seeing that Yahoo uses Bing for it’s engine, I’m calling it in favour of Bing

How good is it? Well I’m not all that convinced. I’ve used it many time and my results don’t differ much from it’s biggest competitor. I did a couple of test searches for this this blog and there was no significant different between the results between Bing and Google.  If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck your searches are going to be Googlesque.

Duck Duck Go

Duck Duck Go (DDG), is a meta search engine that promotes itself as respecting the privacy of it’s users.

A meta search engine is quite simply a search engine which searches search engines.  DDG collects it information from over 100 different sources. This makes for one powerful search engine. It also doesn’t seem to suffer from “bought ranking syndrome”.   The best thing about DDG is NO PAGING.

I know it’s a personal issue, but I to prefer scrolling over page clicking any day.  I absolutely love the look and feel of this page.  I use it a lot. One of it’s biggest advantages I found is that I get less adverts on Facebook which relate to the searches I am doing for clients.  I suspect this has something to do with the respecting privacy thing.

Dogpile

Dogpile was set up in 1995 as the researchers discovered that users were typically using more than one type of search engine.

I discovered this meta search engine about 6 years ago. I loved Dogpile so much I set this site on all the household computers as the home page.  My wife didn’t like it much because it favours sites from the USA over others. As a researcher I know of ways to get around this, so at first it didn’t bother me, but now it bugs me to no end.

What I really liked about it (then) was that it would list the search engine it collected the information from. Sadly it doesn’t do that anymore, so I’ve stopped using it.  🙁

BSBS favicon 3Much Much More

As I said above there are lots of search engines out there in the world wide web.  I could go on and on, but I won’t.  Those four mentioned are the ones I’ve had the most exposure to.  I tend to use Google and DDG more these days as they tend to suit my clients needs.

If you want some more information about alternatives to google please read  Chuck Price’s article  in Search Engine Watch from last year.  He lists 12 alternatives to google. Some of these I haven’t had the pleasure of using.

Or if you want something newer, look at Paul Gil’s Best list of 2015.

Looks like I got a bit of extra research to do. 😉

Online Research Matters

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