Earlier this year when we heard Google was considering stopping Australians from using its search engine, it got many of us thinking: what other search engines are there? After all, Google has about 90% of the web search market in Australia, and is the go-to place to find information on just about anything on the web.
Recent news updates indicate Google’s search engine will continue to be available to Australians, but if you’re still curious about other search engines, there are many notable alternatives.
In this article we take a look at alternative search engines to google. You may have heard of one or two of them, or they may all be new to you - either way, each has its own unique selling point. We also show you how to change your default search engine if you do decide to try something different.
In this article:
How Google brings you relevant search results
Before we take a look at other search engines, let’s briefly look at how Google brings you the results and ads you see when you enter a search. Google collects data to build ‘a profile’ of you in order to bring you more personalised ads and content. They store data such as the location of your device, websites you have visited and things you have searched for.
For example, let’s say you search for a new photo frame on a homewares website. Not only will Google show you results based on your location and the search terms entered, you may also see ads from websites you have previously visited.
Bing is owned by Microsoft and has a similar look and feel to Google. Although, Bing is a little prettier to look at with its image of the day and news snippets. It’s also known for its tendency to return videos in its search to help answer your question. For example, type in ‘best chocolate cake recipe’ and you will see about ten small images (also known as thumbnails) at the top of the page linking to videos for you to see for yourself what each cake looks like. Like Google, they show you results based on your search history.
Bing users also get the added bonus of earning points to spend in the Microsoft store, simply by searching on Bing.
Open Bing in a new window
DuckDuckGo’s unique selling point is its commitment to user privacy. They proudly state on their homepage: ‘we don’t collect or share any of your personal information. Ever.’
Your search on DuckDuckGo is completely anonymous and they don’t store your search history either.
The other notable feature about DuckDuckGo is it displays the search results on one page. So you’re essentially scrolling down the one page to see more results. Because how many people ever make it to page 2 on Google?
Open DuckDuckGo in a new window
If you’re trying to do your bit for the environment, you will love Ecosia. Ecosia describes itself as ‘the search engine that plants trees’. How, you ask? They use the profit from the advertising on their search engine (every time you click on an ad it generates income) to plant trees where they are needed most. To date, over 120 million trees have been planted in countries like Peru, Brazil, Madagascar, and Indonesia.
Ecosia’s search results are brought to you by Microsoft’s Bing, so it has the same look and feel.
Ecosia is another privacy-friendly search engine. They don’t store your search history permanently, or sell your data to advertisers, nor do they use external tracking tools. Yes, you may see ads based on your search, but no data is shared with advertisers such as your device’s general location, your previous search history or the type of websites you normally visit.
You can read more about Ecosia’s commitment to privacy and how Ecosia compares to Google.
Open Ecosia in a new window
Startpage gives you the best of both worlds: they use Google results but without the tracking. Like other search engines that focus on privacy, Startpage does not store websites you have visited, or your search history and general location. They don’t share your data with Google either.
Startpage explains how this works: they ‘submit your query to Google anonymously, then return Google results to you privately. Google never sees you and does not know who made the request; they only see Startpage.’
Even though Startpage uses Google results, you may notice that your search may return slightly different results to Google, and that’s because Startpage does not have access to data like your search history or location.
Open Startpage in a new window
How to change your search engine
You can change your search engine to any other you like, even if you have only been using the default search engine that comes with your device. The instructions differ slightly depending on your web browser, but you can visit the Microsoft support page (even if you have an Apple device) for instructions on how to change your default search engine in a range of browsers including Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.