Searching for Meaning: Alternatives to Google Offering Added Extras, from Privacy to Planting Trees.
by Sarah O'Neill, on 25 March, 2021
At one point, a good ol' fashion Google Doodle was enough to satisfy the average Search Engine consumer.
Oh look! The 'O' has turned into a shamrock for Saint Patrick's Day. Ho ho ho. Ha ha ha. What a tribute to the Irish Culture! We'd all have a gentle chuckle, and feel inspired for the day.
But now shamrocks aren't enough. People are looking for alternatives.
Google have always pretty much had a monopoly in the West over our searches, whether you're looking for new top hats, or trying to figure out why that specific body part is doing that, a quick Google used to be enough. Now though, new consumers are wanting more than what is traditionally offered. They're looking for gimmicks and extras.
Whether this changes the way we approach search engines, e-commerce, search visibility, or SEO, remains to be seen. But, it's better to know the big competitors, just in case. Read on for a small respite, a slight peace of mind in these troubling, troubling times. You're welcome.
GiveWater was founded when Michael Feeley met Charity:Water founder Scott Harrison, just after reading the latter's book. Usually 'don't meet your heroes' is good advice (looking at you, Ringo Starr), but boy did it work out this time.
GiveWater distributes profits from ads to charitable partners, who then provide clean water and sanitation. They are also a 'for profit' company, with hopes for becoming a B-Corp.
Just like commercial search engines, GiveWater makes money when a user searches, and then clicks on a paid search add. The company has warned against people clicking a bunch of search ads in a misguided attempt to live their best lives, though. "Please only click on listings that you are generally interested in", the website reads. "Multiple non-interest clicks can actually harm our business".
At the time of this article's writing, Ecosia has planted 122,178,722 trees. Now 122,178,735. Now 122,178,742. You get the idea.
Ecosia creates profit just like GiveWater, through searches, but uses the profit to plant trees all around the world.
Not only this, but Ecosia is committed to forming trust with searchees, which is the new nickname I'm giving search engine fans. No, I'm going with Search Heads.
Search Heads are looking for more and more privacy in their engines, with it being the no.2 reason why consumers would change their search engine.
So, it looks a bit 2008. But SearchTeam has a pretty good gimmick - it allows you to well, search as a team.
After sending a invite to your closest friends/relatives/valued colleagues, you all enter a SearchSpace, where you can see exactly what people have found and saved. Which is...risky. Then you can comment on Dave's "Beyoncé and Jay-Z divorce? Why? WHY?" search to your heart's content.
Kiddle is the visual search engine, designed specifically for kids. Or adults that like the idea of nice, safe, search results and easy to read content. The robot mascot's pretty cute too.
Sites appearing in Kiddle's search results have to comply with family friendly requirements, and are handpicked and checked by the site's editors. Will this change up how brands advertise to kids? Will the robot start wearing H&M? Will he start talking about how useful Squarespace has been for his small business? Watch this space.
"Why can't we use our skills for the benefit of society?" the creators of Ekoru asked, after years of experience building search platforms for other people.
Currently, funds are going to Big Blue Ocean Cleanup, to uh, clean up the oceans. I don't know what you want from me.
60% of revenues are donated directly, with 40% being retained to cover costs and further projects.
6. Duck Duck Go
Now, this is the one you've been waiting for. The duck himself, the go-to guy. The OG. From private search, to tracker blocking, to site encryption, DDG has all the online protections you can ask for. I mean, this image from their site sums it up perfectly:
DDG is also run by search ads, like traditional engines, but in a far different way. Instead of showing ads based on the Search Head themselves, instead the ads are based on the search results page being viewed. So if you search for Horses, you'll get ads for saddles. Easy as.
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