Life Beyond Google Search: Try Other Search Engines

Search engine DuckDuckGo – notorious for not tracking users – has recently fallen out of favor after its CEO had to admit he Is users sometimes follow:

Security researcher Zack Edwards revealed this week that DuckDuckGo’s mobile browsers allow some Microsoft sites to bypass its blocking on trackers.

While the browser blocks Facebook and Google trackers, DuckDuckGo makes an exception for some from Microsoft. Edwards found that browsers allow data to be sent to Microsoft’s LinkedIn and Bing domains

DuckDuckGo said the exemption was due to a research agreement with Microsoft.

Thomas Macaulay“DuckDuckGo faces widespread backlash over follow-up to Microsoft deal” at The Next WebMay 26, 2022

CEO of DuckDuckGo Gabriel Weinberg pointed out to disappointed users that the company was stuck with the Microsoft deal and we learn from the App Store that

Although we block all cross-site (third-party) cookies on other sites you visit, we cannot block all hidden tracking scripts on sites other than DuckDuckGo for a variety of reasons, including: new scripts appearing all the time, making them hard to find, blocking some scripts creates breaks making parts or the whole page unusable, some we are prevented from blocking due to contractual restrictions with Microsoft.

DuckDuckGo is still generally conceded to follow much less than Microsoft. But it’s a chance to learn and try other search engines.

Explore search engines for fun and freedom

Different search engines use different algorithms and/or layouts, so using more than one reduces the risk of missing useful results. Here are some industry ratings:

RapidAPI ranks its top 8 (January 24, 2022). They put Google first for up-to-date technology and, well, greatness – but admit that it tracks users and shares data with advertisers.

The second biggest is Microsoft’s Bing, which RapidAPI staff appreciate: “For starters, search engine filters result in different tabs such as ads, images, maps, videos, and news.”

Then there’s Yahoo, which is good for shopping searches although “unclear ad labeling makes it difficult to distinguish between organic and non-organic results” and the results are undated.

Reliablesoft Digital Marketing Agency offers its own top 10 list that adds the Internet Archive, sorted by web pages, books, videos, audio, images, or software.

The archive includes the “Wayback Machine”. You need the Wayback if you are looking for a page that is no longer online: “720 billion web pages saved over time”.

At LifeWire, Paul Gil offers a list of the best (January 3, 2021) that includes Dogpile which “pulls multiple databases for broad results.” Despite the name, Dogpile’s presentation of multiple topic headers is clean and simple. This is very handy if you start with a very broad domain like “India”. Gil adds Google Scholar to his list – it’s the place to go if you’re looking for a research paper.

Feeling adventurous? You can also try Baidu (China) which is subject to government censorship and Yandex (Russia) which follows you.

Then there’s Brave, which doesn’t follow you. This comes in handy if you’re writing about an assigned topic and would equally like to research it confidentially. For example, if you use Google to search for an evening class assignment on poisonous spiders, you may find spiders crawling around the internet after you for a while, in the form of ads, promotions, and suggested topics. That won’t happen with Brave.

IT pro Russ White recommends having a number of search engines on the desktop, to avoid relying on just one. and to prevent any of them from knowing too much about you. Good research !


You can also read:

How search engine results can be distorted. Search providers such as Google are able to increase their advertising revenue by misrepresenting the search results provided to users. Human data collectors (HDCs) have been able to escape responsibility for the preventable harm they cause by shifting blame and shifting risk to users.

and

If Google thinks for you, use THEIR search engine. If not… Google’s monopoly affects the free exchange of ideas in the public square and our electoral process. Brave Search offers the first real alternative to Google since Bing by introducing a third English-language index and protecting user privacy.

Rosemary S. Bishop