Concerned by the Privacy or Results of Google Search? Try These Other Search Engines | Computer Hardware

Concerned by the Privacy or Results of Google Search? Try These Other Search Engines | Computer Hardware

Google is big. Google Search will generate $225 billion in revenue in 2022, thanks in part to being the default search engine on all Apple devices. To maintain that position — and continue to receive ad revenue — Google pays Apple about $18 billion a year. Along with Apple, Google pays billions to phone manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Motorola. major wireless carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; and browser developers such as Mozilla and Opera.

So is Google Search's 90% market share because it is the best search engine or because Google has enough money to pay distributors for top placement?

Along with concerns about whether Google is the best search engine, some people worry that Google is collecting information about them in order to show targeted ads with search results. The more information Google has about users, the better the argument is that ads can be targeted, and the more likely users are to click on ads, which in turn earns Google money from advertisers. come out Others worry that Google's results may reflect some kind of bias.

If you're worried about the privacy implications of Google knowing everything you search for, or if you find Google's search results less helpful than you'd like, you can easily switch to another search engine. To see if you prefer its results and privacy stance

How to Switch Search Engines

For many Apple users, the main place to choose a preferred search engine is in Safari's settings. On a Mac, choose Safari > Settings > Search and select the desired search engine from the Search Engine pop-up menu. You can choose a different one for Private Browsing windows if you want.

In Chrome-based browsers such as Google Chrome, Arch, Brew, Microsoft Edge, and Opera on a Mac, open Settings and search for Search Engines. A pop-up menu lets you choose from some standard options, and additional choices let you add search engines like Brave Search that are too new (or not paying) to appear. Firefox offers similar options when you choose Firefox > Settings > Search.

On iPhone and iPad, go to Settings > Safari > Search Engines. Again, if you want a different search engine in Private Browsing tabs, turn off Use also in Private Browsing and select another option.

Top Alternative Search Engines

Conceptually, what search engines do is simple—they search a set of web pages for matching keywords and return a list of them in order of relevance to the user. The hard part is dealing with the number of pages — Google is estimated to index 50 billion pages and Bing 4.5 billion — and scaling the service to quickly answer tens or millions of queries per day. (Google processes 8.5 billion searches per day; Bing handles 400 million.) Besides Google, here are the main search engines and what sets them apart. (You'll probably also see Yandex, sometimes called “the Google of Russia”. Avoid it. For many reasons.)

  • Bing: The second most popular (though far behind Google) search engine in the world, Microsoft's Bing distinguishes itself with a busy, highly designed search results page that combines a variety of results. This may work well for you, or you may find it overwhelming and difficult to analyze. Microsoft is also putting a lot of effort into chat-based AI-powered results. Bing claims to offer more user privacy than Google, but it still tracks users to better target ads. If Bing has better privacy than Google, that may be largely due to Google not being part of the larger data collection empire.
  • Yahoo!: Although it was the first web search engine, Yahoo has not run its own index since 2009. Today, Yahoo's search results are powered by Microsoft Bing, so the search results page may look different, but the results should be the same as Bing's. . Yahoo's privacy stance is similar to Bing's.
  • DuckDuckGo: If privacy is paramount, DuckDuckGo is worth a look because it doesn't track or store user information at all. Instead, it only selects ads to show that match search keywords. Although it uses Bing for some of its results, DuckDuckGo also incorporates information from a variety of other sources, so it doesn't seem like a complete Bing clone.
  • Acacia: The main reason to use Berlin-based Ecosia is if you like Bing's results (but not its layout) and want to support a “social business” that claims to be carbon negative, fully funded. Offers transparency, and protects consumer privacy. Founded in 2009, Ecosia today relies entirely on Bing search results and ads (which is how Ecosia makes money), and has grown to over 188 million visitors in 35 countries since its inception. Claimed to plant more trees. It's hard to argue with Ecosia's environmental results, but as a search engine, it doesn't feel special.
  • Brave Quest: A truly independent search engine, Brave Search has relied on an index it created from the start (it initially leaned on Google and Bing for some results, but shut down in August 2023). It also emphasizes user privacy and does not track users, searches or clicks. Although Brave Search displays keyword-based ads by default, users can pay $3 per month for Brave Search Premium, which provides ad-free results pages. You have to. Set Bahadur as the default search engine. Manually for most browsers; For Safari, all you can do is make search.brave.com a favorite.
  • The paper: Speaking of paid search engines, if you really want to avoid ads, Kagi is another independent search engine that rolls its own index and gives access only to subscribers, skipping ads entirely. You can sign up for a 100 search test account, and if you like it, pay $5 per month for 300 searches or $10 per month for unlimited searches. As with Brave Search, you must do it manually. Set Kagi as the default search engine. (There is one Extensions for Safari).

The “best” search engine is the one that gives you the answers you want without triggering privacy concerns or concerns about bias. If you want to see if something other than Google will work better for you, set it as your default search engine and try it for a few weeks.

(Featured Image by iStock.com/Prykhodov)

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