4 of the Best Alternatives to Google Search

4 of the Best Alternatives to Google Search
Image: Getty

On Friday Google threatened to remove Search from Australia if the government’s media bargaining code is passed. Fortunately, Google is not the only search engine on the internet. Here are some great alternatives.

Best Google alternative for privacy: DuckDuckGo

When it comes to privacy focused search engines, DuckDuckGo tends to be the go-to.

Launched in 2008, it’s popular because it positions itself as being the ‘anti-Google’. Unlike the tech giant, it doesn’t store cookies or any kind of identifiable personal information.

“DuckDuckGo takes the approach to not collect any personal information. The decisions of whether and how to comply with law enforcement requests, whether and how to anonymize data, and how to best protect your information from hackers are out of our hands. Your search history is safe with us because it cannot be tied to you in any way,” DuckDuck Go’s privacy policy states.

DuckDuckGo gets its search results from hundreds of different sources, including it’s own crawler, Wikipedia and Bing.

That being said, it’s not always the best for comprehensive results.

Best for families: Swisscows

Swisscows is a really interesting search engine that also focuses on family-friendly content. This means that it doesn’t sever pornographic or violent search results.

The company is based in Switzerland and has its own unique index for German results. However, it utilises Bing for other languages, such as English.

It’s also really big on privacy.

“Since we NEVER collect your data, we NEVER track your data! We respect your privacy,” the website reads.

The company also states that it has its own servers and does not work with the cloud or a third party. “We have our DataCenter in the Swiss Alps – THIS is the safest bunker in Europe!”

Best for the environment: Ecosia

And now for something a bit different.

As it turns out, Google searches actually contributes substantially to the internet’s carbon footprint. So environmentally conscious search engine, Ecosia, is trying to help reverse this by planting trees.

You can even see your own personal tree counter.

“By planting trees and offsetting its energy use with renewables, each search with Ecosia actually removes 1 kg of CO2 from the air, which makes Ecosia a carbon-negative search engine,” Ecosia says on its website.

“Here’s the math: an average search generates around 0.005 € of revenue. It costs roughly 0.25 € to plant a tree, which means that Ecosia can plant one tree every 50 searches. On average, these trees will each remove 50 kg of CO2 during an expected 15 year lifetime.”

Like most other engines on this list, it’s also powered by Bing, so the search results are pretty good.

However, it might not be the ideal choice if you’re after more privacy.

While it’s better than Google, Ecosia does collect search data and only removes all personal information after seven days have passed.

“When you do a search on Ecosia we forward the following information to our partner, Bing: IP address, user agent string, search term, and some settings like your country and language setting,” the Ecosia privacy policy states. 

Additionally, by default Ecosia sets a Bing-specific “Client ID” parameter to improve the quality of your search results. If your browser has “Do Not Track” enabled, we disable the “Client ID” automatically. You can also choose to disable this feature by modifying your user settings.”

Still, it’s a very cool concept and a good choice if you’re not particularly privacy focused.

Best Google alternative for size: Bing

Since literally every other entry draw their results from Bing, we should probably talk about it.

After Google it is the second largest search engine in the world. Not only is it its own thing, as we saw above, it powers a ton of other search engines.

Owned by Microsoft, it has a similar economy of scale to Google, albeit still quite a bit smaller.

But it’s also the best option if you’re looking something that will still offer a decent chunk of search results and familiar inclusions like currency conversion and language translation.

And just like Google, it’s not an option you should consider if you’re looking for privacy. It absolutely collects and uses your data.

But hey, if you’re already a daily Google user looking for a similar experience, this is probably the closest you’re going to get.