In search of search engines

25th May 2011
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Google is a verb. Google is all pervasive. Google is even synonymous to life for many. Many search engines have tried to eat up Google’s market share but Google keeps on getting stronger. There have been many which came and went. There are many which are trying their best to shake Google including Microsoft’s Bing but all efforts have been futile.

In spite of this, new search engines will come up and sometimes it’s worthwhile to give them a shot. The list of search engines is large: Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Altavista, AOL, AskJeeves, Lycos, Duckduckgo and many more.

Search Engine

All these charts show the dominance of Google over other search engines except in China where local search engines top the chart. In India too, Google steals the show. To find reasons for this dominance, we did a search on few of these search engines with the same query- “Start-ups.” An analysis of the results on these engines threw up some interesting results which are summarized in the table following the screen shots of the engines in comparison.

Search Engine
Search Engine
Search EngineAdvantageDisadvantage
GoogleBest search resultsStores every user detail
BingAestheticLoads slower despite claims to the contrary
DuckduckgoGreat interface
No advertisements Doesn’t track user information
Less popularity
AltaVistaObsolete

Google will remain the number one search engine in the near future without a shadow of a doubt but if you’re a ‘privacy freak’ or want to try out something interesting, ‘Duckduckgo’ is the way to go. The site was launched in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg and currently does about 2.5 million searches a month. The founders turned their inability to store user information (because of being in the infancy stage) into a strength and marketed DDG on that front. The other plus point is that there are no advertisements whatsoever and the search results are also extremely good.

Then there are other kinds of search engines called the meta-search engines. This is a search tool that sends the user query to other search engines and aggregates the results into a single list or displays them according to their source. Examples of meta-search engines are Dogpile and Browsys.

There are local search engines as well like Khoj and Guruji in India. Baidu is the google for China as Baidu takes away the largest piece of the Chinese search engine market. The search engine space has a clear number one but others have their advantages as well. They may not be anywhere near to grabbing the numerouno spot right now but there’s no harm in challenging the status quo.

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