Following our previous digital blog article, we shall take a look at a few more search engines that are available on the world wide web and can be used as an alternative to Google.
Blekko offers a unique way of searching on the internet by the use of ‘slashtags’ which allow users to filter the results they want to see.
If, for instance, a user wants to know where they can buy fresh bread, they might enter ‘fresh bread / shop / bakery’ but if they wanted to read articles about this topic with the latest articles at the top they would type ‘fresh bread / blog / date’.
Blekko would then group the results into different categories such as shopping, baking and home cooking to help visitors focus on the results they want.
Naver is South Korea’s leading search engine and dates back to 1999 when it was built by former Samsung employees.
Search results are delivered as a long list of links that are grouped according to their source; such as blogs, social networks, apps or advertisers etc.
Very often links point users to information sourced from Naver’s own services including its ‘cafes’ area where people share similar interests and post articles about their niche subject matter.
Pipl’s speciality is in unearthing information about specific individuals or material that they have posted to the internet. It allows users to search for queries based on name, email address, username or telephone number.
Developers at Pipl claim their product finds results that their rivals fail to discover because it “crawls the deep web” including data from social networks, court records, membership directories and similar databases.
Results can also include photographs and names of people that are connected to the individual being searched for.
Baidu is China’s most popular search engine and reduces Google’s market share to single figures.
Baidu points out its strength is that it doesn’t just provide links, but in many instances, the actual information that the user is looking for. This can include audio and video clips embedded into the results and even interactive apps.
At the moment Baidu requires the user to be proficient in Chinese. However it has recently launched an English language website that allows overseas developers to use its services to sell apps to the Chinese mainland.
Yacy’s technology is based on the principle of a peer to peer network.
The service is provided by users’ computers on a peer to peer basis using software Yacy provides. The information is gathered and shared on a common database and distributed across the network.
Yacy insists that because queries are found from other volunteers’ computers rather than a central server the results cannot be censored.
However, because its ranking algorithms are not as advanced as its competitors, Yacy’s appeal is limited to a dedicated audience.
StartPage describes its search engine as being ‘enhanced by Google’, but in reality it depends on the internet giant for all of its results.
Its selling point is privacy. StartPage strips away all identifying information about users before submitting their queries, preventing Google from collecting data about their behaviour and installing cookies on their device.
The company behind StartPage is based in the Netherlands and claims the location places it beyond Prism and other United States data collection programmes.
Following recent revelations, this may appeal to privacy-conscious web users, but results cannot be personalised to take into account their location and search history. However, StartPage insists this makes its results more ‘pure’.