You know your business is doing well when people use its name as a verb. Google has become one of the biggest companies on the planet and has grown immensely since it was just a mere search engine. You might think that there’s no point in bothering with any other search engine because surely Google is the best. Well, that all depends on what you want from your search experience. There are plenty of others out there that may not have all the bells and whistles that Google boasts, but they may excel where Google doesn’t. Let’s take a look at a few.
You know your business is doing well when people use its name as a verb. Google has become one of the biggest companies on the planet and has grown immensely since it was just a mere search engine. You might think that there’s no point in bothering with any other search engine because surely Google is the best. Well, that all depends on what you want from your search experience. There are plenty of others out there that may not have all the bells and whistles that Google boasts, but they may excel where Google doesn’t. Let’s take a look at a few. Blekko There’s a nice anecdote about how Blekko’s name came to be. CEO Richard Skrenta hired a company to come up with dozens of possible brand names, but after all those hours pouring over names Skrenta decided on one that wasn’t even on the list - a nonsense word, but one that he believed reflected what the search engine is all about. Unconventionality. Blekko’s main aim is to cut the spam from search results so you get only trusted, authoritative sources from your queries. It does this with the use of ‘slashtags’, parameters that narrow your search into human-curated vertical. For example, if you wanted to search for aw12 dresses, you could search ‘aw12 dresses /fashion’. This will search your keywords in a human-created list of sites that are deemed trustworthy. There are hundreds of slashtags and users can even create their own (I myself created the /folklore slashtag), which makes Blekko a very community-driven search engine. Slashtags can also be used for searching multiple viewpoints about one subject, something that’s difficult to do on Google. Take global warming for example. A search for ‘global warming /conservative’ will turn up conservative sites that talk about global warming, while using the /liberal slashtag will unsurprisingly turn up the same but from a liberal viewpoint. This is a great feature and something that’s hard to emulate. Unfortunately since the majority of Blekko users are based in the US most of the slashtags contain American sites, which can be frustrating for people looking for news and views from other countries. Duck Duck Go Absolutely one of the best names in search, Duck Duck Go maybe a mouthful but it prides itself on simple, private search. DDG is essentially what Google was like in the late nineties - a search engine and nothing else. They have also teamed up with Blekko to attempt to also cut down on the amount of spam in searches by auto-firing certain slashtags in popular queries, such as health. DDG also utilises ‘zero click’ results, which comes in the form of a short entry about the query at the top of the SERPS, often taken from Wikipedia, which is a useful feature that allows for very quick information gathering. DDG also adds another dimension to search with the use of ‘bang queries’, which allows users to quickly search images, news, shopping and video in one search query by using an ‘!’ exclamation mark. So, if you wanted to look for news about, say, David Cameron, you would search ‘David Cameron !n’, which would take you straight to Google News. Wolfram Alpha A few years ago, Wolfram Alpha was seen as the next big thing in search, perhaps even a Google killer, but that wasn’t to be. But then, Wolfram Alpha is a completely different beast to Google, and most other search engines for that matter. Billed as a ‘computational knowledge engine’, this immensely clever search engine is all about getting you the cold hard facts about your queries. For example, if you search for ‘coffee shops’ it won’t come back with a load of coffee shop websites. Instead, it will return with information about the closest coffee shops to you, their opening hours and other useful facts. If you search for a single word like ‘mining’ the engine will give you word definitions, synonyms, rhymes, crossword puzzles clues and even possible scrabble scores. Obviously this is no conventional search engine, but it’s invaluable for any quick research you need to do.