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Waterlink Web

Search Engine Alternatives

Recently I’ve been following news feeds that Google throws up about Italy or Spain seizing yachts from Russian Oligarchs. Of course, no interest of mine goes unnoticed by Google, even when it is misidentified. The search engine is now adding advertising into my feed for speedboats and pleasure craft.

Am I in the market for a splurge best described by the phrase, Bash Out Another Thousand? No, of course not. 

If you are like me and ready to try a new way to surf the internet, looking for an option that is a little less “stalky”, or maybe just better for the environment, then read on, friend.


Bing logo

Bing

Bing is the 2nd largest search engine but has several features that are an improvement over Google:

  • One of the plusses with Bing are better video search results with larger thumbnails that on hover will preview the video with sound
  • Bing does not provide users with targeted ads based on their workplace identity and, unlike Google, Bing is far less connected to a vast data collection infrastructure
  • Offers reward points for users that can be redeemed for gift cards and prizes or donated as cash to a variety of charities.

You will prefer Bing if you want your top search results to be for websites whose content gets more shares or has earned more Social Media followers. Its search engine rewards sites that are active on Social Media more than Google does.

For business owners, Bing also offers webmaster tools so you can submit your business website for search engine indexing and, like Google My Business, create a Bing Places account.


“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

Edward Snowdon

DuckDuckGo logo

DuckDuckGo

Of the three search engines described here, DuckDuckGo places the highest importance on securing your privacy:

  • No data on your online searches is collected or stored
  • There are no ads targeting you based on your searches
  • No social engineering techniques are used based on your searches and interests.

What this means is that when searching on DuckDuckGo you will not be the victim of ‘filter bubbling’, a situation in which you encounter only information and opinions that conform to and reinforce your own beliefs. 

DuckDuckGo brings in search results from over 400 different sources, uses its own crawler, and partners with Bing for truly excellent search results. Another feature is the infinite scroll. While Google delivers the first page, then a second page, etc., DuckDuckGo presents you with more information on the same page. You never have to click on a new page and lose the initial results from sight.

DuckDuckGo is a secure search engine that doesn’t compromise privacy, store personal information, record users’ IP address or use past history to modify search results.


Ecosia logo

Ecosia

Ecosia’s business is based on the principles of helping the environment and fighting climate change by planting trees. Eighty percent of profits go to plant trees around the world, one for every 50 searches. Instead of directly paying for each tree that’s planted, Ecosia supports local partners or nonprofits who plant the trees. These organizations have hands-on experience in the local areas where they operate and can react individually to their specific climates. 

While Ecosia is funded by ads, it offers privacy features that you won’t find on Google:

  • Doesn’t create a permanent search profile of users
  • Deletes data from its database after one week
  • Doesn’t sell data to 3rd parties or advertisers
  • Has no external tracking tools
  • Encrypted search keeps the user’s privacy safe.

Ecosia uses Bing to power its search engine but also uses its own algorithm to enhance searches. Like Bing, sites with many Social Media followers or whose content gets more shares rank higher.


It’s not easy to pry users away from their accustomed search engine, but there are many reasons why you should try something new. If you are tired of Google tracking your search history, even in the incognito browser, and then selling your search history and personal information, then try an alternative.

This list is by no means complete. Go on your own search if you like. Change is good.

Happy Searching,

–Mary Ann
President of Waterlink Web

By Mary Ann Aschenbrenner

Mary Ann is a website designer and developer working with small businesses and nonprofit organizations. She works and lives in St. Johns, a neighborhood in North Portland.

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