A Complete List of Google Alternatives: Not Just Incomplete but a Reflection of Misinformation

July 10, 2019

Let’s start with the title: “A Complete List of Alternatives To The Google Search Engine.” Why? Google is not a particularly useful system if I understand the argument in the Collective Evolution write up. DarkCyber believes that Google is useful, but it is one source of Web content pointers.

What is on the complete list? How about 10 search systems. Here they are:

  • StartPage – StartPage gives you Google search results, but without the tracking (based in the Netherlands).
  • Searx – A privacy-friendly and versatile metasearch engine that’s also open source.
  • MetaGer – An open source metasearch engine with good features, based in Germany.
  • SwissCows – A zero-tracking private search engine based in Switzerland, hosted on secure Swiss infrastructure.
  • Qwant – A private search engine based in France.
  • DuckDuckGo – A private search engine based in the US.
  • Mojeek – The only true search engine (rather than metasearch engine) that has its own crawler and index (based in the UK).
  • YaCy – A decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer search engine.
  • Givero – Based in Denmark, Givero offers more privacy than Google and combines search with charitable donations.
  • Ecosia – Ecosia is based in Germany and donates a part of revenues to planting trees.

Several observations:

  1. StartPage (formerly IxQuick, created by a former Wall Street type) is a metasearch system. The company uses results from other sources, passes the query against these sources, and displays a single list of results. Like DuckDuckGo, MetaGer, and similar systems, one is getting spider output from third parties. Sources can range from Bing, Common Crawl, or other sources. DarkCyber is not enthusiastic about metasearch engines because it is very difficult to know what’s in and what’s out, if the de-duplication function actually works, and the rate of refresh for the system.
  2. Omissions include Bing.com, Yandex.com, plus Exalead. Despite the unusual marketing of the Exalead Web search system — that is to say, none — you can use it at this link. DarkCyber recommends running queries against Google as well as these systems for general search results.
  3. DarkCyber makes use of specialist search systems as well. Some of these are provided to us by the intelware companies with which we interact. Two sources worth mentioning are Talkwalker and Webhose. Neither is based in the US, but each provides affordable and useful content to those serious about information spidered from open sources.
  4. Those who want to access information may find the list of tools compiled by MK Bergman a helpful place to begin. Many are not specific to searching via an ad supported system, but there are some gems in the list. DarkCyber also consults sources like Swiss Leaks, which can be quite useful.

DarkCyber’s point is that calling the systems in the  “complete” list “complete” is not helpful. In fact, it is filled with information that is unlikely to result in a thorough search.

Is DarkCyber surprised? Nah, par for the “experts” who are writing about search today.

Stephen E Arnold, July 10, 2019

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