For the last 20 years, Google has been the search engine that most people use for everyday searches, product research, and staying up to date on the latest news.
With its long-standing domination and majority market share, it’s been hard to argue that any search engine serves up better results than Google.
Because of this market dominance, Google has also been the main search engine of focus for SEO and marketing professionals.
However, since the introduction of ChatGPT, Google Founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are paying attention to OpenAI and the potential it has to revolutionize search.
Despite having years of artificial intelligence (AI) development behind them, it is unknown if Google can beat its top U.S. rival Bing to market with an AI chatbot.
Even if Bing is the first major search engine to market with AI, Google’s search engine dominance gives it a huge advantage.
The next few years in search engine development will certainly be interesting.
No matter what happens, there are still several specialty search engines that offer a superior search experience over Google – and it pays to be aware of what else is out there.
Here are 21 of the best alternative search engines you can try.
An AI-Powered Search Engine
You.com is an AI-powered search engine founded by Richard Socher, a prominent natural language processing (NLP) researcher and former chief scientist of Salesforce.
The site operates in two modes: a personal mode and a private mode.
In personal mode, users can configure their own source preferences. While in private mode, they enjoy a completely untraceable experience; no telemetry data is recorded.
The company also offers YouCode, an AI-powered coding assistant, and YouWrite, an AI writing assistant.
The open search platform encourages developers to build apps and contribute to a more open and collaborative internet.
A Revenue-Sharing Search Engine
Yep.com (by Ahrefs) promotes itself as being a search engine with a difference.
It is designed to directly reward and compensate content creators by using a 90/10 revenue share business model.
This means that 90% of all advertising revenue goes directly to the creators of content, allowing them to earn money for their work.
In addition, this business model allows users to directly support their favorite content creators and ensures that content creators are fairly compensated.
A Copyright-Free Search Engine
Openverse should be your first stop on the hunt for nearly any type of copyright-free content.
This search engine is perfect if you need music for a video, an image for a blog post, or anything else without worrying about angry artists coming after you for ripping off their work.
Mainstream Search Engines
Mainstream search engines are the Google alternatives that have managed to maintain a modest market share over the past several years.
They may also be in the best position to regain lost market share for the first time in years – but only if they played the AI card better than Google.
As of January 2022, Microsoft sites handled a quarter of all search queries in the United States.
One could argue that Bing outperforms Google in certain respects.
For starters, Bing has a rewards program that allows one to accumulate points while searching. These points are redeemable at the Microsoft and Windows stores, which is a nice perk.
In my view, the Bing visual search API is superior to its rivals and much more intuitive.
Bing carries that same clean user experience to video, making it the go-to source for video searches without a YouTube bias.
On February 7, 2023, Bing announced an all-new, AI-powered version of its search engine and Edge browser. The stated goal is to “deliver better search, more complete answers, a new chat experience, and the ability to generate content.”
According to Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, there are 5 billion search queries a day that go unanswered. Bing is looking to fill that void.
As of January 2022, Yahoo.com (Verizon Media) had a search market share of 11.2%.
Yahoo’s strength is in diversification by offering services like email, news, finance, and more in addition to search.
Yahoo has been innovating and evolving for more than two decades.
It made a cryptic tweet on January 20 about making search cool again, but did not take me up on my request to explain what that means.
Privacy-Focused Search Engines
Privacy is an increasingly important issue among internet users.
Privacy-focused search engines prioritize users’ privacy, and their appeal is that they do not track users’ activities or collect personal data.
Some of the most popular include:
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that could also fit into the mainstream category, but the primary “selling feature” is that it doesn’t collect or store any of your personal information.
That means you can run your searches in peace without having to worry about the boogeyman watching you through your computer screen.
DuckDuckGo is the perfect choice for those who wish to keep their browsing habits and personal information private.
DuckDuckGo Lite is the mobile version.
Startpage serves up answers from Google.
It’s the perfect choice for those who prefer Google’s search results but aren’t keen on having their search history tracked and stored.
It also includes a URL generator, proxy service, and HTTPS support.
The URL generator is especially useful because it eliminates the need to collect cookies. Instead, it remembers your settings in a way that promotes privacy.
Swisscows is a unique option on this list, billing itself as a family-friendly semantic search engine.
It also prides itself on respecting users’ privacy, never collecting, storing, or tracking data.
It uses artificial intelligence to determine the context of a user’s query.
Over time, Swisscows promises to answer your questions with surprising accuracy.
According to its website, Gibiru features “Uncensored Private Search” with no retargeting and no selling of private data.
It claims its search results are sourced from a modified Google algorithm, so users are able to query the information they seek without worrying about Google’s tracking activities.
Because Gibiru doesn’t install tracking cookies on your computer, it purports to be faster than “NSA (National Security Agency) Search Engines.”
Knowledge-Based Search Engines
Wiki.com pulls its results from thousands of wikis on the net.
It is the perfect search engine for those who appreciate community-led information, as found on sites like Wikipedia.
Twitter is hard to beat as a real-time search engine.
It’s the perfect place to go for minute-by-minute updates in case of an emergency.
Google will catch up eventually, but nothing beats a tweet in the heat of the moment.
To make the most of it, check out our guide to Twitter Advanced Search.
SlideShare allows you to search for documented slideshow presentations.
You can also search for ebooks and PDFs, making it an excellent tool if you have a business presentation to prepare for.
SlideShare also allows you to save slides and even download the entire slideshow for use on your local computer.
13. Wayback Machine
Internet Archive, a.k.a. the Wayback Machine, is great for researching old websites, but it’s so much more.
As the name implies, this search engine queries a massive collection of documented material, including millions of free videos, books, music, and software.
Essentially, the Internet Archive is a vast online library where you can access just about anything you could imagine.
Brave is a privacy-focused web browser that blocks trackers and ads and provides private search and browsing by default.
It features free video calls, offline playlists, and a customizable news feed.
Advanced security features like IPFS integration, Tor (Onion Routing), and a crypto wallet are also available.
Brave offers rewards for opting into privacy-preserving ads. It claims over 50 million people use its browser for a faster and safer web experience.
Neeva offers a browser extension that provides a private, ad-free, and customizable experience.
It allows users to customize their search results by choosing preferred retailers and news sources and provides expert-recommended shopping results.
Neeva even provides recipe results with filters for cook time, ingredients, and reviews.
Neeva says it never sells or shares users’ data.
Specialized Search Engines
Specialized search engines cater to particular needs, providing results based on specific criteria. For example:
WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge engine that allows you to compute answers to problems and search through expert-level data on a variety of subjects, from algebra to words and linguistics.
It also offers Pro features for individuals, students, and educators that need professional-grade computation and analysis of imported data.
Pricing starts at $5.49 per month.
searX is a free, open-source metasearch engine that provides search results from multiple sources, without tracking the user’s activities.
It is open-source and can be added to a browser’s search bar, or set as the default search engine.
Privacy is maintained by mixing queries with searches on other platforms and never storing search data.
International Search Engines
International search engines cater to specific regions and provide results based on local language and culture.
Some popular international search engines include:
Baidu is the largest search engine in China and has a 65% market share.
Like Google, it offers a broad range of services including maps, music, videos, and an app store.
Baidu also has a mobile browser and mobile app.
Yandex is used by more than 54% of Russian internet users. It is also used in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Yandex is an overall easy-to-use search engine.
As a bonus, it offers a suite of some pretty cool tools.
It had a data leak in January 2023, leaving many speculating about the relevance of what was revealed.
Sogou is a Chinese search engine that is growing in popularity.
Sogou Search is an interactive search engine, supporting WeChat, article search, English search and translation, and more.
It prides itself on providing users with professional, accurate, and convenient search through self-developed artificial intelligence algorithms.
It also has a mobile app for searching on the go.
Naver is a great option for those looking for a search engine tailored to the Korean market.
Google may be the most popular choice in search engines, but it may not always be the best choice, depending on your needs and priorities.
Alternative search engines can offer a wide range of benefits, including a better search experience and higher levels of privacy.
Keep in mind the impact of artificial intelligence on search is still largely unknown and may profoundly impact the accuracy and relevance of search results in the future.
Nonetheless, do yourself a favor and give some of these a try.
- How Search Engines Use Machine Learning: 9 Things We Know For Sure
- ChatGPT & Search? NeevaAI’s Real-Time AI Search Is Already Here [Podcast]
- How Search Engines Work
Featured Image: Masson/Shutterstock