90% of desktop users and 92% of mobile users in the UK used Google for their internet searches during June 2013 and its global statistics were even higher according to net analysis provider Statcounter.
Nevertheless, Google has been criticised for manipulating search results and accused of saturating its result pages with paid adverts.
Google insists it is delivering quality search results and has rolled out new algorithms and updates to achieve this.
Many internet users may be under the impression that Google is the only website that offers this service, but there are many other options available.
Over the next couple of digital blog articles we shall take a look at some of Google’s competitors and highlight the different technologies they have to offer.
Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine is Google’s main rival globally.
Users will be struck by Bing’s colourful photographic background images that contain hotspots with relevant links.
Microsoft has been experimenting with social features that are being rolled out in the United States.
Users from the US are served a sidebar in the results page that suggests Facebook friends who may be able to provide further information regarding their search. They also see ‘boards’ which are images and links that are hand-picked by a group of bloggers and experts.
Yandex is Russia’s most popular search engine; but also offers English, Turkish and Ukrainian language options.
The company is currently rolling out a refreshed version of its results listing that includes a feature called ‘islands’. These are blocks of information that users interact with on the page, avoiding the need to visit third-party websites.
This feature allows a user that has searched for ‘Aeroflot check-in Moscow’ to access a block and send their details to the airline without leaving the search engine results page.
This search engine highlights privacy as its principal feature. It promises not to collect or share personal data, which is a topical subject in the wake of revelations that Google and Microsoft amongst others have supplied the US’s National Security Agency with user information.
The website received a spike in traffic following leaked information regarding the Prism surveillance programme.
DuckDuckGo also highlights the fact that it is less cluttered than its rivals with only one advert being shown on each results page. It also doesn’t personalise results, claiming this prevents users from becoming caught in a ‘filter bubble’.
Most search engines judge their rankings on algorithms that read words and links on a webpage.
Blippex instead bases its listings according to their DwellRank. This is the amount of time users spend on a page once they have clicked through to it. The longer the visit, the more relevant the site is deemed to be.
This information is gathered by volunteers who are asked to install an extension to their browser that gathers user behaviour and sends it to Blippex anonymously.
Blippex launched in early July and visitors at this stage may get some unusual results. Developers promise that these results will get better as more people use it.
Wolfram Alpha doesn’t see itself as a search engine, more a ‘computational knowledge engine’ even though people use it to find third-party information on the internet.
Instead of delivering links to other websites, Wolfram Alpha collects facts and figures from primary sources and then structures and compares the information and presents the data in a range of tables, graphs and charts.
Wolfram also charges for a professional option, which allows users to add their own images and statistics for analysis resulting in a richer and more relevant set of results.
More Google search engine alternatives will be examined very soon in our next blog, please watch this space.