According to an article in Business Insider, Google is tracking enormous amounts of user’s personal data including purchases. It maintains an exhaustive list of things users have bought online whose digital receipt has been sent to their Gmail accounts. So, Google is possibly mining data, although it claims that this is private data only seen by users and not for advertising purposes. Google has also, for some reason, made it very difficult to erase this history and users have to select each item to delete individually.
Do you still want to “Google” it?
“Google” has become a generic term for search. If you don’t know it, “Google” it! Google has become a habit. We normally do not even consider any other search engine because we are so used to the way Google works, its interface and the sheer volume of search results it throws at us. Google has become almost instinctual because it is user-friendly. However, different search engines have different strengths and can give better results than Google, depending on your need. Here is a list of some of the big search engines and what they are good for.
Bing is a Microsoft search engine and second most used search engine. It is especially useful if you need solutions to problems with Microsoft products. Bing has a very good image search capacity. Its results yield sharper and higher quality images than Google. Video search is also better on Bing. Not only does its video search page have a better interface than Google but it allows you to preview videos (without sound) without having to leaving your search results page (SERP). Its picture of the day is interesting, and the interface has some information about the photograph. Overall, the look of Bing is more appealing than Google and is a good alternative to Google.
Ask is powered by Google. However, it claims to have a special and unique algorithm that ranks its searches according to expertise rather than popularity like Google. It claims that its algorithm provides the most relevant results to searches by identifying the most authoritative sources on the topic. It is a good alternative to Google if you are looking for content that is to the point and perhaps even more organized.
DuckDuckGo is a fast search engine and provides results that are quite accurate. Most importantly, unlike Google it does not track user data. Its USP is that personal data should be just that- personal and should not be for sale! It also does not believe in ads. It shows the same results for the same search irrespective of the user (i.e. it does not filter results according to previous search history like Google). You can add DuckDuckGo to Chrome as a widget.
Dogpile is an aggregator- it displays results it gathers from Google, Yahoo, Yandex and several other popular search engines. They have based their USP on studies that showed that different search engines offer vastly different search results, and when not satisfied with the results users would use more than one search engine. Dogpile’s USP is that they combine results from the most popular search engines to provide the user the best results.
Ecosia is a search engine based in Germany. Like DuckDuckGo, it claims to protect the privacy of its users. It also claims to donate 80% of its profits to NGOs that focus on reforestation and conservationism, and that it is a CO2 neutral organization itself. Ecosia has positioned itself as a social business which is financially transparent. According to Ecosia reports, it has supported the planting of over 43.5 million trees as of 1st December, 2018.
Baidu is the largest search engine in China. Founded in 2000 by Robin Li, Baidu also offers services like: image search, book search, maps, mobile search etc, quite like Google. It is the fourth most-visited site in the world (according to Alexa website rank) after Google, YouTube and Facebook (which are all blocked in China). Baidu’s algorithm is openly in favour of anything Chinese whether it is server location, content language, domain, business address, backlinks, mentions, or citations. Interestingly, although the interface is in Chinese you can do a search in English and results are displayed in English although the indexing for English sites may not be very extensive or very reliable.
Yandex ranks fifth in the category of largest search engines. It is the most popular search engine in Russia. It also has a strong presence in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey. Yandex, whose name stands for ‘yet another index’, is available in two languages, English and Cyrillic. Given its heavy presence in the region, Yandex places high importance on Geo – targeting.
If you have not used any of these search engines, try them! The results may surprise you.
In case you wish to check your purchase history, you can click here and check now.