• Brandon Glover

Reviews: 3 top search engines and an alternative option

Most people don't know what a search engine is, even though they use one everyday! According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a search engine is "a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web," but that is a lot to take in. A search engine is essentially an online tool that allows you to search for stuff on the internet, like Google.


Believe it or not, there are a large variety of search engines with many advantages and disadvantages. A few examples would be Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ecosia. All of these search engines serve the same purpose but work differently.



Google


Google is the most popular search engine in the world. According to Seotribunal, "Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day." That is a lot of searches, and that translates to "at least 3.8 million searches per minute." The real question is: why do so many people use Google?


Advantages


One reason a lot of people might use Google is how many websites are available on Google. According to Quora, "in 1998 Google indexed 26 million sites, in the year 2000 that number grew to 1 billion sites and today Google is said to have over a trillion (1,000,000,000,000) websites indexed."


Another huge advantage of Google is that it shows the most relevant websites. According to Quora, "Google does this by rating sites based on how many other sites link to it. The more popular the site that links to your site, the better Google search engine ranking you get."


Google has many reasons for being the most popular, but what about why you shouldn't use Google? Well, there are a few reasons for that as well.


Disadvantages


One reason to not use Google is that at all times, the user's location is known. You may say that "I turned off Google's permission to track my location," but that isn't how it works. According to Fortune, "the Associated Press discovered that even after you turn off location tracking in Google apps running on Android devices and iPhones, the tech giant will still track your location."


Google also hides certain websites from searches in favor of advertised sites. Say if you are trying to find a place to watch a show on a specific website, Google might show Netflix or Hulu instead of what you are looking for. "Google has been displaying, on top of the search list, all the misleading pirated links which are infected with viruses and malicious scripts," According to Quora.



Yahoo


Quite a few people know Yahoo as one of the search engines that Google beat. Yahoo is also one of the oldest search engines in the world, but I will admit, I like Google over Yahoo, but Yahoo does have a few features that are better that Google's.


Advantages


Most people don't really associate email with web searches, but Yahoo has its email system intertwined with its search engine. According to Techwalla, "you can easily compose a new email message in Yahoo Mail just by typing !mail abc@xyz.com in the Yahoo Search box."


Yahoo has many search shortcuts as well. According to Technoflix "Moreover, you can conveniently search your beloved websites from Yahoo Search itself. Take for example Google. You can easily search Google in Wikipedia.com by typing !wiki google in Yahoo Search box."


Disadvantages


There is one large issue with Yahoo. Ads are never labeled as advertisements. According to Tech Help, "ads are NOT clearly labelled as ads so it’s hard for users to identify what’s organic vs. what’s not."



Bing


Bing is another one of those search engines that is known to have been beaten by Google, but Bing has a few appealing features. Likewise, Bing has a few unappealing features as well.


Advantages


Bing has a nice, clean interface that is inviting to new and returning users. According to Tech Help, Yahoo "makes it easy to refine your search by providing noticeable query suggestions above search results," and that it is "easy to take note of related searches as they are often fixed on the right-hand side of the page."


Bing is also well known for combining searches and social media. According to Tech Help, Yahoo "uses Twitter integrated feeds to display social media activities related to your search."


Disadvantages


Bing has a lot of advertisements. And because of the large amount of advertisements, searches won't be nearly as accurate as a search on Google or Yahoo nor as fast. Yahoo also is massively slow compared to other search engines because the highly decorated interface.



Ecosia


Most of the aforementioned search engines are well-known, but Ecosia is a more obscure search engine with a cause. Ecosia is an eco-friendly search engine based in Berlin.


Advantages


Ecosia, as previously mentioned, is an eco-friendly search engine. According to Ecosia, "Ecosia uses the ad revenue from your searches to plant trees where they are needed the most." In other words, your searches literally reforest the planet. Ecosia also offers a video explaining more.


Disadvantages


Ecosia's only feature is planting trees. In other words, its not much different than Google in terms of functionality. The only thing that is noticeably different is the interface and eco-friendly aspect.


Personally, I would recommend one of these engines. My personal favorite is Ecosia because of ease of access and the well-being of our planet.