Distracted By Google Search? 4 “Search Engines” You Should Not Ignore

Saikat Basu 19-06-2014

An upstart search engine some 20-something has developed in a Silicon Valley garage? A search engine that could take little bites at Google’s leviathan footprints?

Hardly. Though, the second part of the above is coming true. But let’s dissuade you from the hype of trying out some new-fangled search engine that has recently been unveiled. If your eyes have already travelled down, you will recognize the familiar names. Your first reaction – duh!

That’s what I hope to highlight – the four websites are search engines in their own right – or to be more accurate – “internal search engines“. You could do yourself a favor by opening another tab and diving into their depths when your next search comes along.

The Big Question – When Not To Google?

“Bing it” hasn’t caught on. “Google it” has. We equate Google with research. The comScore report for April shows it holds a massive 67.6 % of the search pie in the U.S. alone. But search is also about discovery. With the large amount of information available today, even Google may not make the cut always. Alternative search engines Pause Google: 8 Alternative Search Engines To Find What Google Can't We probably know all the Google search tricks, but there are still things that Google can't tell us at first glance. Google's a Hercules, but we shouldn't be shortsighted not to spot the midgets. Yes,... Read More look at search in different ways. Some tout privacy…while some go for specialization.

The four below have a common factor – they are all user-curated platforms. They may not be search engines by the strictest definition, but they are huge reserves of data. They do not index with bots but the massive user base is exponentially adding to the information they store every day. So, if you are asking – when not to Google, these four biggies could have the answer.


More than 30 billion pins for your visual discovery.


That’s a BILLION.Pinterest is probably the “search engine” you should head to for seeking inspiration. Pinterest is extremely visual and that’s what works in its favor. It’s also less complicated than Google, so it works just as well for computer neophytes.

Type “cable organization ideas” in Google and you will get links to umpteen sources to trawl through. Type the same on Pinterest and instantly you have hundreds of pins to choose from which show you at a glance just how the finished job would look. You can always click through to the original source of the pin and read in more detail about it.

Visual search only gets better with Guided Search on mobiles. Think of it as Google Image Search on steroids. If you don’t know what you are searching for, Guided Search takes you deeper and deeper into Pinterest with suggestions and visual cues. And – you don’t have to type a thing. That’s definitely more than what Google does.

Places, DIY craft ideas, food & drink, home decor, and fashion are some of the hot areas on Pinterest. As this infographic from Shopify shows, it is also driving retail search with some help from its Rich and Promoted Pins.


100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

If we go by number of searches alone, YouTube is just behind its parent – Google. As I tried to show in an earlier post on alternative uses of YouTube Why These 7 Uses Of YouTube Could Be Better Than Kittens And Music The visual smorgasbord of amazing YouTube channels seems like a never-ending stream. The ease and wide-reach of hosting videos on YouTube makes it an ideal medium for many novel uses. Here are seven. Read More , you can use it to search for how-to videos, Creative Commons clips to use in your projects, homeschooling study material, the right exercises 7 Best YouTube Workout Channels To Exercise at Home Home gyms and personal trainers help the moneyed get up straight from their beds and hit the gym. We lesser mortals have to call on our powers of self-motivation and discipline to trudge the few... Read More to do, or just follow a hobby as my friend Erez does with these YouTube woodworking channels 5 Woodworking YouTube Channels You Should Subscribe To Today Even if you're not a woodworker yourself, watching high-quality woodworking videos is a great way to learn about the craft, and who knows, you might even realize you want to make something yourself. Read More . YouTube sees more searches around products and services than any other social network. If you are searching for something to buy, it makes sense to search YouTube and see it in its animated video glory.

YouTube may not be great with almost real-time results and EVERYTHING but there are three factors in its favor as a constant search source – a) Google displays YouTube video results b) Many companies and publishers are optimizing video content for YouTube…and c) YouTube uses some of the same advanced search operators How to Search YouTube Like a Pro Using Advanced Search Operators Here's how to use YouTube's advanced search operators, including filters, for better YouTube search results. Read More as Google.

If you have a business, you can search YouTube and see what others in your niche are doing. It’s even better if they don’t have too much of a presence here. It could be your spot to promote.


The “Quiet Giant of Content Marketing” with 15 Million slideshows uploaded

Slideshare Search

Slideshare is the largest place on the Web for sharing presentations, since 2006. But that is one of its more direct uses. Slideshare also comes well-recommended as an alternate medium for promoting content and professional branding. It is also a part of LinkedIn and well-integrated with it. You will find individuals like Guy Kawasaki, and public institutions like the White House here as well.

You can view presentations on any topic, or use it more deliberately for research. The Advanced Search feature of Slideshare allows you to search for presentations, documents, Zipcast videos, and also infographics. You can search for content in multiple languages and also get to download some slides.

If you are researching for your site, blog, or business, a search can net you some visual inspiration. Slideshare is also great to scope out what others in your niche are doing as well. The top influencers on Slideshare are the Who’s Who sharing unique content. A very professional user base is the common factor.


The world’s largest retail search platform.

Amazon Search

It is very likely that if you are searching for a product to buy, you start with Amazon rather than Google. Powered by, you can do a lot with Amazon Search – and you can do it for free on Amazon 7 Really Free Things You Can Do On Amazon Without Spending A Single Dime Everything here might be tagged with a dollar sign, but there are many alternative ways to use the resources on Amazon. Yes, they are free. Dive into Amazon's depths. Read More . If you are looking to do some product research or source ideas for a book, an Amazon search could be a good place to start. For instance, Amazon’s Advanced Search for books is armed with the right filters. If you are writing a book, an Amazon search could reveal similar book titles, and enabling you to think of a different one.

Searching and studying bestsellers on Amazon tells you a lot about the target market and how you can tailor your marketing plan for online sales. Top-selling books also indicate the kind of books publishers are looking for. Looking into the reviews (and not only the good ones), is a fair indicator of consumer sentiment.

Amazon has different kinds of search engines. Did you know that you can search Amazon user reviews too? You can see it on the top-right of any Customer Review page. You can limit your search to the specific product or extend it all products.

Amazon Review Search

Are You Too Distracted By Google?

Consider all forms of search when looking for needles in haystacks. Too much information is a boon and a curse. Spreading our search net far and wide helps us discover content that Google might have missed, or might not have caught on its first page. Which are the alternative search strategies you use? Or are you too dependent on Google to give you the best of all worlds?

Image Credit: Todd Chandler (Flickr)

Related topics: Google Search, Pinterest, Web Search, YouTube.

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  1. Sally L.
    June 26, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I'm a teacher so I opened this article with the student search in mind. These are all search engines I use as a teacher. I found this discussion to hold equally valuable information. I'm going to explore Duck Duck Go.

    • Saikat B
      June 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

      A few teachers I know, find a lot of valuable information via Pinterest. Search itself is so much a part of 'educational activities' now :)

  2. Anonymous
    June 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Where is duckduckgo?! "Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests" - Wikipedia. Where in that sentence does it say "search engine"?!? "DuckDuckGo is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the "filter bubble" of personalized search results" - Wikipedia. Words five to six " engine...". Please Update it, Remove Pinterest, and add DuckDuckGo

    • Saikat B
      June 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      You probably are commenting just for the sake of commenting. Do read the article properly. Especially the part where I have mentioned (in BOLD) -- internal search engine. Then, do look up what an internal search engine is all about.

  3. Lee Hamilton
    June 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I use, which aggregates the results from several other search engines.

    • Saikat B
      June 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      That's a meta search engine. Anyone know of a custom meta-search engine for multiple sites which you can use to set up a search over a specific set of sites? The only ones I know of are batchSearch and setting up your own Google Custom Search Engine which is a bit of work.

  4. Tim G
    June 20, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I find many people search within a website using google. For example, if they're searching Youtube; they type "youtube searchterm" or using the site filter, as in "searchterm"; more commonly, the former.

    • Saikat B
      June 20, 2014 at 8:00 am

      At times I find it to be faster than the search tools on the site. Plus, I can use the advanced search tools and filter the site search according to time range. But there shouldn't be any restrictions put in place by webmasters via a robots.txt file on their sites.

  5. Rajaa C
    June 20, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Google search alternatives are plenty and none of them are the above listed in the article in true sense. When we talk Google search alternatives, we usually mean services like Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc. Isn't it?

    • Saikat B
      June 20, 2014 at 3:18 am

      Yes. Those are search engines by their very definition. But Internal Search is also a huge component for any kind of deep search. For instance: the war between Google and Amazon [Broken Link Removed] over product search is pretty well highlighted. Both want to be the first search door everyone opens when they go shopping.

      Pinterest designed its guided search to help users with what Google can't (yet). Pinterest is great for serendipitous discovery and visual exploring.

      Then again, social search (e.g. Facebook's graph search) which I have left out is another type of search which we could do well to tap into consistently.

      It's clearly apparent that many companies are focusing on strong internal search driven by their huge user-bases. It has serious revenue implications.

  6. chuck
    June 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    why is duck duck go not on here. good search engine with privacy.

    • Saikat B
      June 20, 2014 at 1:42 am

      The angle of this post was to look at search with the help of internal search engines, resources we often overlook because we depend too much on Google.

      For DuckDuck Go try this post and this one as well.

  7. chuck
    June 19, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    duck duck go

    • Saikat B
      June 20, 2014 at 11:17 am

      There seems to be good support for Duck Duck Go :) Do you like the new design?

  8. Zivar R
    June 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I don't think these four are alternatives for google , they're just more specific when that google fills you with the hole picture

    • Saikat B
      June 20, 2014 at 1:37 am

      The Web would have turned on its head if there was a complete alternative to Google Search :)

      Yes, being more specific these internal search engines give us options to dive deeper into particular type of content which we otherwise might ignore. For instance, YouTube in itself is a powerful search tool for making buying decisions. Pinterest is playing the search game very well too.