My friend who worked with the once mighty Yahoo search engine once told me, Googling “Yahoo” was a common practice among his teammates. Even though it sounded strange back then, it marked the transition of Yahoo! from being the top search engine to what it is now.
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin stayed back late nights to complete a University project, Jerry Yang and David Filo – the founders of Yahoo, never suspected that the geeks were giving shape to their nemesis – Google!
That was until 1998, when I first heard of Google. The search engine landscape has been toiled many times by corporations that I thought may stay here forever. However, innovation and disruptive technology had different plans for these corporations, sending them off to the history books.
Today, there are several alternative search engines that can provide quality results like Google. Some of them are region-specific, and some are accessible to a global audience. However, the search functionalities of the best search engines remains the same.
Search Engine List Watch out for in 2020 and Beyond
No king has ruled forever! But Google still remains a search engine behemoth in 2020, having more than 90% of the global search market share. Google is, without a doubt, a cut above all the other competitors in the search engine landscape when it comes to user engagement. This is one of the reasons why Google is crowned the title the “most used search engine.”
The defining factor for Google’s success is the algorithm that fetches users the most relevant results, and above that, an unmatched personalized user experience.
The pure organic SERP page of Google is a thing of the past. Google SERP Features such as Ads, Knowledge Graph, Snippets, Map Pack, etc., have taken up prime positions on the SERP, leaving no chance for websites to get the same visibility as before.
The more personalization you prefer, the more user data Google will collect from you. So, if you’re concerned about privacy, Google is not the search engine for you, at least in 2020.
Over the centuries, empires have risen and fallen. If Google continues to run the show without giving credit to websites and without asking for the user’s consent before sharing their data, Google’s omnipotence as the most used search engines may be short lived.
The Microsoft-owned Bing is the second most visited search engine in the world (at least in 2020). However, the hype around it ends soon after you realize that it owns just 2.39% of the total market share. Whoops! That means it will take a long time for Bing to beat Google’s share of 92%. But wait, what if Google kills itself?
The Bing search engine is the result of Microsoft’s crafty mix and match. Microsoft came to the search engine landscape back in 1998 with MSN. However, like other search engines that were obliterated by Google’s competition, MSN also failed to entice the target audience.
Microsoft was never willing to give up on something that they knew was a gold mine. In 2006, Microsoft rechristened MSN to Live Search. Even though they tried making it the default search engine for their popular browser Internet Explorer (now Edge), the users were never happy.
Changing the default search engine to Google was one of the first things that people used to do soon after buying a PC. In 2009, Google finally rebranded Live Search to Bing and finally, in 2012, Yahoo approached Bing with an offer to share their platform for search.
Bing uses its own algorithm for crawling and indexing purposes, which makes the SERP entirely different from what a Google search provides. In addition to this, the homepage of Bing is much trendier with dynamic background images, unlike the plain white offered in Google.
- Local Search Results: The local search results in Bing are highly customizable and very pleasing to the eyes. A casual search term “restaurants near me” gives you a lot of options to filter. In addition to this, the Bing Mobile app brings you the 360 feature to help you find local businesses using your camera.
- Image Search: Bing Image Search is way more advanced and organized than what you can find on Google. It provides a lot of information to users and many more options to filter the photos.
- Video Search: Interestingly, videos that are displayed on Bing are mostly from YouTube, which is owned by Google. However, the way Bing has showcased the videos makes it a cut above Google. The video search results are displayed in thumbnail grids, and users can watch videos within the SERP environment.
- Links vs Content: It is well-known that Bing algorithms are more focused on finding and showcasing quality than counting the number of links. Bing tends to rank sites with very few quality links provided the content is top-notch.
According to recent figures, these features have helped Bing acquire a larger share of the search market in the US. Oberlo reports that Bing has a 6.11% share of the US search market, which is an indication of the Microsoft-owned search engine making steady progress.
The previous search behemoth Yahoo! Search has not given up in the race of the best search engines. However, the market share of Yahoo came down from 36.7% in 2001 to 1.64% in 2020. The search engine is now powered by Bing, which essentially means Yahoo gives the same results that Bing displays.
It’s hard for Yahoo to make a comeback. However, it’s important to note that Yahoo was the first search engine that inspired and envisioned possibilities of the search. During the initial days, Yahoo worked more like a search directory that required manual entry of the information.
However, in 2001, Yahoo approached Inktomi to share its searchable index and then later Google in 2002. Interestingly, Yahoo never had its own index until it purchased Overture Services, Inc. in 2003, which owned the AlltheWeb and AltaVista search engines by then.
In 2002, an attempt was made by Yahoo to buy Google. However, there was an internal disagreement regarding the buyout cost, which was $1 billion. By the time the red tapes were cleared, the price of Google had rocketed to $3 billion, marking it as the biggest missed out opportunity of the 21st Century.
Founded by Robin Li in China, Baidu has a lot of similarities with Google. Baidu is the go-to search engine for Chinese citizens as the government has put an indefinite blockade, popularly known as the Great Firewall, on all Google products.
Robin Li first came up with a search engine named RankDex in 1996, which used an algorithm similar to Google’s PageRank. It has to be noted that Larry Page acquired the patent for the PageRank algorithm two years after Li implemented the concept in RankDex.
In addition to this, Baidu is also into AI and voice-assisted search. As of 2019, Baidu performs an average 2.37 billion voice searches per month, thanks to the popularity of its DuerOS voice assistant.
It also has 1.1 billion global mobile users and more than 90% of internet users in China rely on Baidu. According to the latest figures, Baidu has 174 million daily active users.
Yandex is the Russian counterpart to Google and going by age, Yandex is much older than Google. The founders of Yandex – Arkady Volozh and Arkady Borkovsky, came up with the idea of a web search engine software back in 1993. They named it Yet Another Indexer, which later came to be known as Yandex.
Looking at history, Yandex was the first search engine that was monetized to sell ads. They started delivering contextual advertisements on the search engine results page in 1998, two years ahead of Google.
Till July 2019, Yandex had a clear win over Google in Russia. However, the trend started changing since then with Google taking an upper hand. Currently, Google has a search market share of 50.6% when compared to 46.83% of Yandex.
If you’re concerned about the privacy of your data, DuckDuckGo is the search engine that you should be using. Founded by Gabriel Weinberg in 2008, DuckDuckGo has earned itself a name as a non-profit search engine.
If Google highlights the personalized search experience as its USP, DuckDuckGo does the opposite. It’s known that Google gives personalized search experience at the cost of taking advantage of your user data.
According to the official source, the search results provided by DuckDuckGo are generated from 400 different sources (algorithms), including Yahoo! Search, Search BOSS, Wolfram Alpha, Bing, Yandex, Wikipedia, and its own Web crawler (the DuckDuckBot) and others.
The way DuckDuckGo is progressing makes us think about the humble beginnings of Google. Currently, DuckDuckGo has 86 employees, and they are focused more on giving users organic results than personalized ads.
As of 2020, DuckDuckGo has 0.5% of the global search market share. However, when it comes to the US search market share, DuckDuckGo has managed to get 1.33%
Yippy is not a conventional search engine but rather, a Deep Web-based search engine. We know that thousands of websites fail to get indexed by Google and other popular search engines. Yippy uses the data from Deep Web to find and index pages that otherwise go unnoticed.
Yippy is a good example of a metasearch engine as it uses the user search query to take inputs from a user and immediately query search engines for results. Interestingly, Yippy provides results in a cluster format, which allows users to filter the results based on different subsects.
If you’re looking for information that you feel may be only available on the Deep Web, Yippy is a search engine that you should consider.
CC Search is a search engine tool that lets people discover public domain and openly licensed works online. It was founded in 2001 and launched its first license in 2002. Creative Commons is the non-profit behind CC Search. They make licenses that are used more than one and a half billion times to help creators share their creative knowledge online.
This is an ideal search engine is ideal for those who want to use images from the web without getting hit by copyright claim. The search engine draws its results from sites like Behance, Flickr and Thingiverse to display the Creative Commons material in the results.
Gibiru was founded in 2009 and it is a web browser that allows users to conduct private searches without tracking their online activities. The browser doesn’t log IP addresses or place cookies on computers, which means there’s no data that can be sold to advertisers. Hence users using the Gibiru browser are free to access the web without worrying about getting their browsing activities or other online information tracked.
Search Encrypt is a privacy-based search engine that allows users to browse the web without compromising on the user’s personal information. It was founded in 2016 by a team of developers who noticed how big search engines store personal information and browsing details about the users and felt the need to create a private search engine.
The browser uses local encryption to provide an additional layer of protection. This is done by transmitting the search terms by the users to the browser’s servers in encrypted form and are decrypted and sent through their private search engine.
StartPage is yet another private search engine founded in 2006 that offers users an entirely private browsing experience that doesn’t let companies mine your personal data or allow cookies to hamper your browsing experience. The “Anonymous view” feature of this browser lets you go completely private with your search activities. Startpage.com is held by Startpage BV privately. The browser is based in Europe, a place where privacy laws are among the most stringent in the world.
Swisscows is a private browser founded in 2009. It doesn’t store your data and offer your complete privacy. It also pays great importance to family-friendly content and keeps a check on the type of content displayed on the web to the children. Violence and pornography are strictly prohibited for individuals below 18 years of age. Unlike other search engine giants that store your information and manipulates your online behavior, Swisscow offers you quick search results with 100% privacy.
Ecosia is an environment-friendly search engine that uses revenues generated from search engine queries to plant trees. It was founded on 7th December 2009. Typically the Ecosia team plant a tree per 45 searches. They produce their monthly financial reports so that users can see where the revenue generated from their searches go exactly. The browser’s servers run on 100% renewable energy and don’t encourage third party trackers or sell data to advertisers.
These are the top seven search engines that you can use to search for things on the internet in the coming year. If you ask “what is the best search engine among these?” You will easily get Google as the answer out of the search engines list we’ve provided.
However, nobody knows what the future holds. You might see some of these search engines raise the rank and get popular among people.