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 A lot of us have grown sick of what could be called an outdated way to display results and maybe even resent their market dominance.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
(no longer online)
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.
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?
Explore more about: Web Search.