Living without Google: the search engine

First practical article in this new series on alternatives to Google, to any honorable Lord, I start with its historical service: the search engine. On this point the graph below represents the distribution of search engines in Europe in August and September 2018. Explicit no?
Distribution of search engines in Europe – Summer 2018
Live without the Google search is conceivable. Many alternatives exist. This Article will probably not be exhaustive and not pretending to be. Your Returns are welcome. But By the way, why are we using a search engine? The question seems to Relevant when looking for an alternative.

A clear interface

This may seem anecdotal, but the appearance of Google in the landscape of the old search engines at the overloaded interface was really welcome. Not only were the results relevant, but especially at the time of the Web 56k/ADSL, the almost immediate display of a clear list without frills was saving. So I searched Equivalent solutions at the speed and clarity level of the list of Results.

Open Research and Closed Search

At the beginning of the Web, research was organized between search engines like Altavista (RIP!) and directories like Yahoo. The fundamental difference was the type of information sought. Today, despite the ubiquitous search engines, this difference persists.

Open Search

Search by Example the site of a company or that of the Social Security Fund returns To do a directory search. We know what we are looking for, but Not have the web address. As with the venerable paper yearbook or the Online directories, the search engine finds the result easily from Of the name entered in the search field. No need for intelligence Artificially leaning on a quantum computer to find the answer. The interest of a powerful algorithm for this type of research is therefore very Limited. I will call it “closed search”. It will easily find a Solution on any search engine.

Closed Search

On the other hand, look for an unknown site that has only an idea of the theme, very precise information (for example, how to write the correct code in the setting of its website…) or to do a basic research on a subject requires the use of relevant algorithms interpreting our request to provide us with the right list of results. This type of research that I will call “open search” will often find a quick and relevant solution in the best search engines. Starting from these principles, open research and closed research, let us ask the question of the distribution of each of this type of research in our everyday life. I did a quick survey of my last month of research at Google: More than half of my research matches closed searches. Significant, surely not, but this gives a first orientation and above all allows to ask a first question: if more than half of my searches are closed searches, why use Google permanently that will not provide me service Higher than another engine, but on the other hand will record this search to exploit them?

Open Research and The “Bubble of results”: How to allow itself to be locked in its certainties

Apart from respect of privacy, is there any other interest in not using Google? The Answer is yes and it is valid for other search engines. In Cause: The “result bubble”. The principle leaves Good intentions (albeit, but let us be fairplay): to better respond to A question, it is necessary that I know the maximum about you and your Desires/needs to find the correct answers. So Google and Other engines use your search history and the data they Possess on you to “adapt” the results of your research to your self Deep. Delicate intent that still poses a problem. As we have Seen during an open search, we leave a little adventure without Accurate knowledge of where we are going to arrive and this is our Objective!!!!! We want to be exhaustive even if we spend a little Time. Of course it only involves me. Do the test: search on Google on your computer with your open Google session in your browser and then do the same search with exactly the same terms on another computer without you having logged on to Google . There is a good bet that the list of results will be different or at least not classified in the same order. Awkward, isn’t it?

The Book of Loads:

  • Do as well (better??) That Google in open search
  • A clear interface without Flourish and fast
  • Do not adapt the results Depending on the user
  • The possibility of using it Both on computers and smartphone
  • And of course the respect of private life.

The other “mastodon”

When looking for An alternative to Google, Microsoft’s search engine is needed. Yes Rather tries to impose itself with its almost 3% world market share. A little heavier to load with its backgrounds of changing screens, but very nice, I like Bing since it presents results that I find quite similar to Google. It is of course supported on most smartphones. Image, Videos, Mapping, news, we find on Bing most of the services Offered by the Google search engine. Remains an element, the Tracking our activities by another giant, Microsoft: tracing addresses IP, search recording and cookies are part of the toolbox. It is always possible to not have a Microsoft account where, identically for Google, not having logged on to his account during searches to avoid the tracking and problematic of the result bubble. But why bother with these precautions on Bing while we will have the same constraints with Google, the power of the algorithm in addition.

The oldest

As old as The consumer Internet (or almost), Yahoo is surely not my first Choice: Cumbersome interface for results that were not always At the level. Besides since, these are the results of Bing that Yahoo uses For his research part. tracing, bubble result, Yahoo brings no advantage over Bing which provides them with the Results. Why use the copy instead of the original?

The French engine

Qwant is the French search engine supposed to counter American hegemony with of course in focus the respect of privacy. I hated Qwant from the beginning because of its interface. I started writing this article with these elements, but in the meantime Qwant has deployed to version 4. And that changes everything. Finished the principle of research divided into three columns. The interface is clearer and faster, it gains readability. Thanks Qwant. Note that the site offers a junior version. The site offers an application on Android and IOS but it is possible on some browsers to set it as the default search engine. The results me seem relevant. Advertisements from Microsoft, I have Conducted some comparative trials with Bing. The results are almost Identical. Qwant also reports it on his website. It has its own Crawler. This task taking, I quote, “resources and Qwant mixes its resources and that of Bing to refine its Results in the meantime. With respect to Privacy, the site makes it its main argument, no cookies, no Tracing. Qwant is free. It is financed by advertising inserted in the results, but still without Tracing, and fundraising often state, the independence of Europe In the face of American engines becoming strategic. Ads are mixed with results, but well identifiable. With its policy of Relevant confidentiality, its results based on those of Bing and its new Clearer and lighter interface, Qwant presents a true alternative. In Hope that he will be empowered and freed from Bing in a near future.
I’m not going back In the discussion on the quality and efficiency of Russian and Chinese. We will simply say that in the context of this article it seems Appropriate to avoid entrusting its data to this type of site.

The duck that rises

DuckDuckGo is not A search engine as such. It is a meta, understand That it uses the results of other engines like Bing, Yandex, Yahoo and Wikipedia. Respect for Life Private sector, this is the main argument of the site which does not record any Data navigation, no cookies… Note that there is still a service based In the United States, it is necessary to pay attention to what the US government Impose on society. No bubble result, no account necessary, but a possible personalization (language, Location, etc.). Light, clear and Fast, images and videos, DuckDuckGo presents many advantages. It is Available on Android and IOS as well as direct settings on some Browsers. Only shadow on the table, financing (if it’s free…). The site makes targeted advertising like Google, but without tracking you. You do a search, the site displays an advertisement based on your search of the moment without using your previous searches. This would be satisfactory as a response if the company was a little more transparent on its finances which is not the case so far.

Google without Google…

Startpage is not A search engine. It does not propose any elaborate algorithms. No, he’s Glad to provide you with the search power of Google without No tracking. For this, the site provides the interface between you and the giant of the Web. Arrived on a page simple, you type your search the same as on Google. Startpage is responsible for doing the research for you and reproduces the results in a format substantially identical to that of his older brother. It offers an Android and IOS app. No tracing, no of cookies so no results bubble. Starpage is Probably the slowest search engine I’m presenting. This is Probably the only downside we could find him. To know that the site is free for private individuals. The publishing company, based in the Netherlands, Provided solutions to businesses which ensures its remuneration.
The Swiss safe An interesting site In many respects. First of all, it is Swiss and therefore hosted in Switzerland With legislation on the protection of privacy particularly Draconian. Then it does not record your IP address, does not use Cookies, does not collect any data on our systems, does not seek to know Our location. Finished? Ha No… it does not give results to sites Pornographic and violent videos. Phew!!!! Then Swisscows Uses a semantic engine to do its research. To simplify: The question is to present the answers to a research by trying to understand what What the user’s question implies. If we take up the principle of Open research mentioned above, semantic research should make it possible to To get more relevant results. On the other hand, no interest in Search closed. A priori the site has partnered with Bing for the Management of search results I say a priori because nothing on the site The word “in partnership with Bing” at the bottom of the Result page. Some quick tests show close or even Almost identical between Swisscows and Bing, without the ads of course. I am So shared on the concept of semantic research when everything lands in Bing’s engine. I prefer the idea that I will have with Swisscows the results of Bing without the disadvantages. The site is fast. The list of results may be a bit austere (black on gray background, but it Must lose the habit of blue on white…). It also offers tabs Images, videos, music and translation. Interesting, on the left side, the site Presents keywords in tiles allowing one click to add a Criteria for research. An Android app exists. Nothing seen on the IOS side. Last question, The engine being free… The answer is simple, Swisscows is financed by the donation Identical to Wikipedia. You can use the motor perfectly without Pay, but a donation remains possible to support the site. Let’s make it simple: I love it!

The engines of Solidarity research: selling for the good cause

That is another way of looking at it. To provide revenue to research sites when we click on banner ads Why not return some of the income to humanitarian, ecological, etc. Associations? This is the service that these sites offer.
The search engine that plants trees
The site is based on Bing for its results, the presentation is identical to its supplier. The site offers an Android and IOS application. It is financed by the Advertising like Google and Bing. It reverses a portion of the income for the Reforestation. I find the tree meter planted very optimistic, but good… About life Private, the policy is pretty clear, your data is anonymized at the end One week and you can activate the “Do Not track” function of the Browsers. The risk of a bubble of result remains present in my opinion. The site Using a cookie, it seems to me possible to skew the results.
The engine that finances different projects
Lilo is a site French that works like a meta like DuckDuckGo so. Here the respect for privacy is clearly explained. No need for Account To use it, but a cookie remains present to identify you. No cookie Third party on the other hand that allows behavioral targeting. The use of a Meta allows you to free yourself a little from the bubble of result. However Lilo itself needs to get the results back in shape with its own algorithm That obeys our explicit rules. It is financed by the Advertising like Google and Bing. The money raised appears in the form of drops of water that you can leave at your leisure on different associations. It’s kind of nice. The results Appear quickly for a meta. To know that the site offers Options for Images, videos and Maps tabs between their site, Google or Bing. It has an Android and IOS application. You will have Maybe understood, I really appreciate this engine. Comprehensive (meta), Fast for what I could see, simple, respectful of note privacy and Useful to all. What more could you ask for!!!!
The Green search engine
An engine of Google-based ecological research. Simple Interface, a little too much to My taste. Very little information on the respect of privacy. It uses Google’s AdSense and analytics functions to generate revenue. To avoid So privacy issue and result bubble. remains the ecological aspect…

So what Alternative?

The conclusion is Not obvious. Everyone can find in the engines quoted the one Who Be. The list is obviously not exhaustive and those who would like to Search elsewhere can be from the Wikipedia page here: Https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_de_moteurs_de_recherche. It is interesting to see that there are very few credible alternatives to Google and Bing if we leave out the Chinese and Russian engines. Most of the sites described here do not offer proper indexing, but take back the results of major platforms with the notable exception of Qwant, which slowly creates its own index. Meta, rather Google or rather Bing, you have the choice of weapons while preserving for part or totally your privacy. Two podiums so to differentiate those who prefer the results of Google on one side and the results of Bing on the other.
Google-based search engine Podium
Search engine Podium based on Bing
  A Last podium focused solely on the respect of privacy.
Podium Respect for privacy
Me About and after a longer or shorter test period of each engine, This is my podium:
  1. Qwant: The only one that has launched itself in a autonomy vis-a-vis Google and Bing even if it will take time to be as powerful. His new interface is winning.
  2. Lilo: The tripod meta, privacy and ecology convinced me.
  3. Swisscows: The absolute mastery of his private life with the results of Bing. Unstoppable.
Your feedback and experience are welcome. Next step: Gmail…

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