This is a guest post by Gladys Lee
When the Google search engine was first created at Stanford in the 1990s, no one imagined it would ever become the success it is today. In 1998, when the service first went live on its official www.google.com domain, even its creators publicly called its beta test a “might-work-some-of-the-time-prototype.”
Search engine mechanics, including Google’s, have certainly improved dramatically over the years. In some ways, however, they’re almost the same as they were at the outset. For example, many engines still rely on backlinks to determine the importance of a Web page. That’s why improving the quality of backlinks or using a backlink service are an important way to improve SEO. But differences are evident. The Internet Providers website reveals that Bing, Google’s closest competitor, employs search parameters using an algorithm that often proves to be more intuitive than Google’s.
The good news is that users now have choices far beyond just the “Coke and Pepsi” of the search engine world. While “Google” as a verb has become permanently etched into our lexicon, there actually are a number of useful alternatives to just Google and Bing. Here are some other choices:
Founded in 2007 as Aftervote.com, it had an AJAX backbone and a singular mission to deliver the most relevant search results to the user as quickly as possible. A year later, Aftervote.com was bought by Internext media, the owner of ABCSearch Network. It was then re-named and re-branded as Scour.com. Scour’s mission is to bridge the gap between Internet users and their desired results. Users are able to vote and comment on search result relevancy, and searchers can also connect with each other. The result is what Scour calls a “social search community” experience, which is achieved via innovative Web search solutions.
Xmarks began in 2006 as Foxmarks. Its bookmark sync browser add-on is an extremely popular feature, with 20 million-plus downloads and 4 million users to date. Xmarks is available as a free add-on for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari (Mac OS) and Chrome. The extension can also synchronize open tabs and browsing history. Bookmark-powered Web discovery features like Site Info and Smarter Search help users uncover the best web sites based on popularity. Xmarks estimates it manages more than a billion bookmarked pages. In 2010, Xmarks was acquired by LastPass. The companies share a common mission to simplify people’s lives by providing fast, easy and safe access to favorite websites.
The Blekko search engine model strives to create a differentiated search experience through curated, selective, high quality results and content organized into categories. Its sophisticated search technology drives its entire suite of products — the Internet search engine itself, a mobile app as well as a social news platform.
DuckDuckGo makes user privacy a priority. The company believes a superior search engine experience and privacy can go hand in hand. It strives to offer “tons of goodies” without tracking users and without the extraneous clutter of many search engines. As a user, you won’t be filtered, and the result is a more pristine search experience. Many users love the added assurance that the company is not tracking their every move.
Clearly, there are many good options beyond just Google and Bing, and new technology is being developed all the time. Break away from the big guys once in awhile and see what else is out there. Who knows? You just might find yourself a new favorite search engine.
Gladys loves to write about business, cars and technology. If she doesn’t have her nose in a book, you can find her bent under a hood.