The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them

google classic   The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use ThemGoogle has been the leading search engine for as long as I can remember. Launched as a small beta start up in 1996 at the domain google.stanford.edu using inexpensive hardware, you wouldn’t think then that it would ever become the success it is today with so few useful Google alternatives available.

In fact, in 1998 when it first went live on the official Google.com domain, the beta was publically labeled by its creators as a “might-work-some-of-the-time-prototype”.

While the mechanics of it have improved dramatically since then, it still relies on the number of backlinks to theorise how important a webpage is. A lot of us have grown sick of what could be called an outdated way to display results and maybe even resent their market dominance.

If you want to shed that mentality of instantly “Googling it” then you’ve got to take the leap, here are five excellent Google alternatives – each one has their own specific goals and a different way of doing things; and no, they’re not Bing, Yahoo! or Wolfram Alpha.

FactBites

Normally, when you search for something on Google, or any of the big search engines for that matter you’re returned results based on the popularity of the page. That’s because search engines link relevance with popularity. FactBites however draws on the web’s vast amount of encyclopedias and information websites such as Wikipedia and more specialised ones to provide you with factual information.

This search engine is great for things such as school work and research for articles or other such works. To put it bluntly, it cuts off all the excess fat that you don’t need and gives you the best of the best.

fact bites   The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them

For example, in the search results above I have searched for ‘American Civil War’ and the results returned are purely factual including many educational websites, Wikipedia and historical sources. The same search on Google returned some educational websites though poorly organised amongst various online stores and enthusiast websites which would not be very useful for those in search of facts.

Quintura

quinturq1   The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them

This search engine I liked a lot because it redefines how search results should be displayed. Instead of just showing you a list descending in order of relevance, they have this accompanied by a tag cloud to the left of the screen. This allows you to quickly display alternative results by just hovering your mouse over them. This tag cloud can also be shared or embedded using the appropriate buttons.

Quinturq uses the same method to display results for web, images and videos.

Clusty Search

Ever been doing research for a topic or just searching for stuff in general and get pretty annoyed at how disorganised the results can be? A more organized Google alternative is in order. Often, when I’m looking for sources for an article I have to perform multiple refined searches to get the kind of results Clusty Search could get in one – and organize them into their respective categories too.

clusty thumb   The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them

Say you’re looking for articles and material relating to Nintendo. Instead of doing five or six different searches, just search for Nintendo and Clusty will gather them into their respective groups while still displaying traditional style results as you can see in the screenshot above.

Results can be clustered into different ways depending on what you’re searching for. Examples include sources, type of material (blogs, reviews, news etc..) and size, quality and so on for images and videos.

Dog Pile

dogpile thumb   The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them

Surprisingly, over 85% of everyday searches return different results when you use different search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask. DogPile performs multiple searches for your term and then aggregates those results into one quality set of results.

Their mission is to have a simple yet effective search engine to give universal results instead of what one engine thinks may be best suited for you.

They have all the standard search functions too for filtering your results and search categories such as Image, video, Web etc, as well as the Yellow and White Pages!

Cuil.com

(no longer online)

cuilmain thumb   The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them

The homepage of Cuil is minimalistic, mostly black with your run-of-the-mill search box in the middle. You can also select what language you want your results in. They index websites in English, French, Turkish, Italian, Polish and much more.

The way they display search results is most intriguing. Firstly, you have your traditional results as per usual. In the right sidebar, depending on what you have searched you could have a map, historical timeline, streaming results, category tags and other specific features relating to your search.

For example, I searched for NASA and in the right sidebar there was tag clouds for ‘Space Agencies’, ‘Space Centres’, ‘NASA Problems’ as well as a timeline and resources.

cuilsidebar thumb   The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them

They also have tabs along the top which refine where your results come from. Examples seen in the screenshot are NASA TV and NASA Ames. Thumbnails and favicons are also displayed beside the search results for better presentation and to help you decide if it’s the one for you.

So there you go. Five great Google alternative search engines enabling you to break free from Google and other traditional search engines in style. Do you have any suggestions for other alternative search engines? What do you think of the ones profiled?

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37 Comments -

Crazy Dave

Thanks Dean,

These search engines are now all bookmarked… I’ll play around with them at some stage… :)

David.

James

Now, this still uses primarily google, but i think i’m starting to prefer it over google:

http://keyboardr.com/

plus it has keyboard shortcuts and the dev has some other cool projects.

Virendra

Cuil rules!!!!!

woodrackets

Yeah, but I hate the black. Bad choice.

Christophe Jean

Exalead ( http://www.exalead.com/search/ ) is not bad too

Alan

See http://www.SeeSpend.com for an organized shopping search that shows like a shopping mall.

Dean Sherwin

Some great suggestions coming! I really liked See Spend – what an innovative way to search for products! :)

Alan

Thanks Dean, glad you liked http://www.SeeSpend.com. We are adding new features and tweaking the search all the time, so any feedback on what everyone wants to see is a great help.

Mark

I just tried FactBites, which is great, but the first thing it shows at the top is Google AdWords!

Spiffy

The URL for Clusty is http://clusty.com/

Sachin Bhatt

I have played with cuil earlier and I did not like the results it was throwing out. So went back to Google.
Whereas for dogpile have used it quite a bit and generally go there IF I DON’T LIKE GOOGLE RESULTS.
I have started playing with Kartoo which is recommended here ( makeuseof ) a few days back

Melissa

For a visual search engine, I really like http://www.viewzi.com

the old rang

The five search engines were tested, for a simple, commonly used topic, by me.

The top two failed miserably.

A search for “climate gate”

found NOTHING by those two. You would almost think they were run by the UN/DNC/Main Stream Media.

Politics aside, finding nothing for that search (with quotes. Without quotes only gave things about chinese ‘gates’ or various weather minutia… nothing on the topic I was searching for. With quotes returned NOTHING… as in nothing found.

That is no search tool, but something guided worse than most.

The other three returned very good and expanded data results.

Cut your list by those two, or get them off the top, and you might have something.

I have been using search tools for many years on the net. I have used many search tools. For a topic of this nature, the ‘null’ returns by anything of the nature you described, is a ‘deleted’ return, meaning, the search engine manages the topic, and nulls it out.

Kink of like searching for porno on the Chinese search tools.

Tselby

Its not a left wing conspiracy its your spelling. If you spell it climategate you will find tons of results. Matter of fact its the very first search suggestion when you start typing climate on Google.

the old rang

Avast, little one…

I tried that variation…

But, even if your criticism was correct, Google does indeed return on the one I specified, and so do the three that I said did return.

Maybe your politics differ than mine, But, I have been known to know how to find things even the people that developed them could not. But, that was in the days before search engines took money for placement of ‘finds’… And before more places learned much about keeping ‘finders’ like myself out.

They may have changed what they ‘find’ and how. BUT… I did the testing several ways, several combinations, including the school, country, county, city and NASA… nada…

Limiting it to the actual text I described…

Got what I described. I don’t divulge all the tricks I know. But Simply put…

If it can find nothing on that, and other tools can…

And if it can not find other combinations of same data, and other tools can…

The data is managed.

Dean Sherwin

Hi Old rang,

I think two of the sites you’re referring too may be two bogus links that I somehow posted by accident. My bad, they’re fixed now.

– Dean

Someone

You should take a look at http://www.etools.ch
It is really amazing

Joe Thomas

http://www.duckduckgo.com blows all of these out of the water.

Aminul Islam Sajib

But I will always live with Google. :) I think it gives me all I need to lead a happy and healthy life in cyberspace.

Rahul – Web Guru

These are alternative to Google right… Google… that makes Google even bigger :0

Google rocks man.

Confused

Tell me again why we need an alternative to Google? It didn’t become a verb in the English language because it is inherently flawed. It became a verb in the English language because it works, To google is synonymous with to search. Or is this merely just another instance of coporatism? A company starts small, markets a novel idea, executes the idea, we love the idea, we love the company, the company makes money off of the idea, becomes a successful profitable corporation, we hate the company.

the old rang

There were other search engines before Googel, and some were even better. They were not ‘successful’ for several reasons, one, being the business model that Google used, that they didn’t (they sold positions, and had more money coming in, than the others. They got more positions on web sites, and took off.)

That does not mean they were or are a better search tool. Nor, does it mean they are not. It means they are a better profit making business.

Some searchers do not want to ‘wade’ through many of the ‘non-correct’ answers, or would rather have answers better suited towards their areas of expertise. The search ‘engine’ often have pre-screened locations or data areas, and may even use Google to help scan those locations.

The point is, some are trying to make a profit, or a name, in a niche market.

Some are even trying to take on Google (like Microsoft).

I noted many years ago, niche search tools find some things easier than Google, Yahoo, or even Web Ferret (when it was top dog at searching).

They will succeed, fail, or get bought out, depending on how well they do.

Or, is you objection, that there is only one way to do things, and Google has found the best, because they make money?

Matt Bacak

Now the stuff on this post brings back some old memories :-)

Dog pile I totally forgot about that!

Mutantone

I have to agree with the Old Rang there have been many other search tools many far better than Google As he has stated theirs works and has a proven record now that exceeds what the other search engines have or had to offer

Inside the Webb

As much as I have to say I like your list, it does have it’s pointlessness. Think about how popular Google is – not only the brand, but how many people work for Google and how many tools and web applications they have. There’s no reason to use any alternative, they run the internet!

the old rang

Always allow for alternatives.

When there is no competition, you get crapware or worse. The practices of monopolies by and large are the reasons we are 20 years behind in real computing power.

Intel slowly fed low speed processors until AMD made real competition. Since then Intel, with many times the R&D budget compared to all the money AMD has, has to cheat on the playing field to stay ahead (Google, if you will about Intel software crippling AMD and Via’s chips since 2003 or so. Couldn’t beat them so they sabotaged them. I remember when computers cost so much more, not because of cost to make, but Intel kept stodgy chips in the line, forever. Reaping fortunes for the 286, 386 and 486, until AMD wiped their clocks. The only reason you are not paying $2,000 for a 100 mhz processor is because there are alternatives.

I am not saying Google is ‘bad’…

I am saying if there are no alternatives, the temptation is large. Google may relegate Microsoft to a similar pile as Commodore/Amiga. Both failed when they lost a battle to inferior products, and poor management after Tramiel left (may have spelled that name wrong… sorry). The old Amiga would run, in real time Animation of a dancer, while she was dancing, display the picture of her dancing next to the animation.. and run 18 other processes at the same time.

Way before GPU, and with a 486 speed processor. Try that on many computers today…

It isn’t better that wins. It is better business and good competition.

Microsoft is reaping the losses today, of sometimes considered shady practices of yesterday.

Competition from Linux, a tad from Mac, and other options, is showing it will have to really write (or take over) some good software that is worth the ridiculous prices for what the deliver. (Don’t tell me what the invitees to diners hosted by Redmond say. Google the anti-Redmond opinion, or the Courts world wide to see what is happening.

Competition keeps the leaders on their toes, instead of our butts.

Is Google good… Somewhat. But, most commentators don’t do serious searching. I have, for years done such. The search engines of today find a lot.

Are they better? No. But, there is a lot more to find. Most have trouble going back a few years. Some don’t. Most have trouble with essoteric searches (Google included)

As long as you are looking for ‘pop’ information about topics of today, Google is great. It is even getting better on older topics. I can usually guarantee, before I start a search, IF Google will find the answer… With out knowing how to track some things down, Almost all search engines today are not that good… But, getting better.

That is why you have to have alternatives. Competition makes for better products.

Without it, you have Yugos and Windows ME abd Vista.

d

i cant believe u didnt mention ixquick

http://www.ixquick.com

Carol

Agree with you “d”

aya

The old fashioned search engine but truly worthy :)

Bas

http://www.startpage.com/

not in your list, but good and very un-google since the search data is NOT recorded. So, unlike Google and co, this engine is privacy-SAFE.

As they say on their website: “When we search, we share our most private thoughts with our computers.
These private thoughts should be safe.”

In my ears this sounds like it should be.

Carol

That IS Ixquick !

Mark Johnson

Clusty is an old favorite of mine, *especially* when it gets the categories spot-on. You should also check out Kosmix (my former employer). They have a very different take on search that I find refreshing and appealing, especially when I’m researching a topic and know that it’s not a single page that I need.

-Mark, Program Manager at Bing

benny

i use this instead of google :

http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm

it scrapes google’s results, but doesn’t store your search terms or implant long-lasting, user-unique cookies like google does. i like using google alternatives because i think it’s dangerous to blindly trust one company with such a massive amount of data. never know how it might be used in the future….

Neomotion

Nobody mentioned the new awesome searchengine Wolfram?

http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Love how they present the results, awesome for scientific research.

Carol

For secure searches, and entry into websites – Ixquick.com – and their HTTPS v. is slower but more secure. Isn’t it time Google stopped harvesting our lives?

1fastbullet

Scroogle.org. The name is a fair indicator.

Google search without Google’s nose up your butt.

Dwayne

Its good to say my old timer website when i was back in school: DogPile :D It’s a very great search engine.