16 Top Search Engines to Try

Alternative search engines target privacy concerns, personalization and special functionalities.

Written by Jeff Rumage
16 Top Search Engines to Try
Image: Shutterstock
UPDATED BY
Matthew Urwin | Oct 31, 2023

When most people have a question, they turn to a search engine for an answer. And while Google is the most popular option, there are plenty of alternative search engines that emphasize user privacy, offer new features and provide unique datasets of information.

The growing popularity of generative AI tools like ChatGPT has caused some observers to wonder if search engines will remain relevant when chatbots could provide instant answers, no clicking required. Several browsers have rolled out AI features, but the full scope of AI’s potential in the search engine space remains to be seen.

Top Search Engines

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo! Search
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Brave Search
  • Baidu
  • Ecosia
  • You.com
  • The Wayback Machine

Next time you’re seeking answers, here are some search engines you can try.

 

Mainstream Search Engines

Google search engine page
Image: Google

Google

Google is the most popular search engine in the world. Capturing nearly 92 percent of the search market, it’s no wonder why SEO specialists seek out any available piece of information about Google’s ranking algorithm. Google can search for news, images, videos and scholarly articles. Users can also upload images to Google Lens to find matching results. In May 2023, Google announced that it would experiment with generative AI-assisted search with its Search Generative Experience.

 

Bing search engine
Image: Bing

Bing

Launched in 2009, Bing is the second most popular search engine. It accounts for roughly 3 percent of overall search volume, but its market share jumps to nearly 9 percent on desktop. In February 2023, the company announced that it would incorporate a generative AI copilot into Bing’s search functionality. Bing now features an AI-powered chat tool that allows users to search the web and ask clarifying follow-up questions. Bing also rewards users with points that can be redeemed for gift cards and other prizes.

 

Yahoo! search engine page
Image: Yahoo! Search

Yahoo! Search

Yahoo! Search was one of the first popular search engines. These days, its market share is just over 1 percent, or nearly 3 percent on desktop. Yahoo’s search engine is powered by Bing and is compatible with common web browsers, including Edge, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Like Microsoft and Google, Yahoo augments its search engine with email, news and other content while featuring trending stories on its front page for added convenience.

 

Privacy-Focused Search Engines

DuckDuckGo search engine page
Image: DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo launched in 2008 with a focus on user privacy. The company said it does not track user’s searches, and it aims to block trackers across the web through its app and browser extensions. Because it doesn’t track and store individual user data, DuckDuckGo said its search results are not personalized and therefore avoid the “filter bubble” that can occur when search engines limit search results to those they think the user would like to see.

 

Brave search engine page
Image: Brave Search

Brave Search

Brave Search is another option for privacy-minded users. The search engine does not collect a user’s personal information or search history. Brave Search can be accessed on any web browser, but Brave differentiates itself from the competition with its companion browser that blocks trackers from collecting users’ data across the web. While other alternative search engines often borrow search capabilities from bigger players, Brave Search claims it uses an independent search index. Brave Search also offers an AI feature that searches the web to provide users with quick answers to their queries.

 

Startpage search engine page
Image: Startpage

Startpage

Startpage is another privacy-focused search engine that serves up search results from Google without storing users’ personal information, search data or IP addresses. As a result, users can search the web without worrying about price trackers, retargeted ads and third parties building personal data profiles. It goes a step further with its “anonymous view” feature, which allows users to visit websites anonymously, essentially acting like a VPN

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International Search Engines

Yandex search engine page
Image: Yandex

Yandex

Yandex is a Russian-based search engine that enjoys 64 percent of Russia’s market share, nearly doubling Google usage in its home country. It is also popular in several other neighboring countries. In addition to its search engine, Yandex provides users with easy access to email, weather, maps, games and translation services. It also offers a suite of developer tools, including its search engine tools Yandex XML and turbo pages.

 

Baidu search engine page
Image: Baidu

Baidu

Baidu is the most-used search engine in China, capturing nearly 68 percent of the country’s market share. Baidu’s ranking algorithm prioritizes websites that are hosted on Chinese servers, and it only indexes simplified Mandarin characters. The search engine has introduced new algorithms over the years to improve the user experience, and trends like Chinese users trusting bigger brands over other companies influence Baidu’s search results as well.

 

Other Search Engines

Ecosia search engine page
Image: Ecosia

Ecosia

Ecosia, a certified B Corp, is an eco-conscious search engine that donates 100 percent of its profits toward climate action, mostly to tree planting efforts. The Ecosia website states the company has planted nearly 185 million trees in more than 35 countries. Ecosia, which is powered by Microsoft Bing, also touts its privacy policies and does not create user profiles or sell users’ data. Users can access Ecosia either through its website or through its Chrome browser extension.

 

You.com search engine page
Image: You.com

You.com

You.com’s primary feature is an AI chatbot that searches the web to retrieve answers to users’ search queries. Users can also search through more traditional means, filtering results to find images, videos, news and public social media posts. The platform offers 10 AI chat searches through its free version, and it allows unlimited searches on its premium version. You.com enables users to get more personalized results by searching in personal mode. In private mode, it claims not to store a user’s search activity or IP address.

 

Yep search engine page
Image: Yep

Yep

Ahrefs, which develops SEO research tools, launched search engine Yep in June 2022 with the pledge to give 90 percent of its ad revenue to creators and publishers. By sharing its revenue, Yep aims to provide creators and publishers with much-needed revenue, reducing their dependence on paywalls and affiliate links. This new business model could also encourage new creators to join the space. Yep also claims not to store users’ search history or IP addresses.

 

Dogpile search engine page
Image: Dogpile

Dogpile

Dogpile, which was founded by Infospace in 1996, is an example of a metasearch engine that aggregates search results from multiple mainstream search engines, including Google and Yahoo, and delivers the results it deems to be most relevant. Like more mainstream search engines, Dogpile offers searches for news, images, videos and articles while addressing popular searches with its ‘favorite fetches’ section. Dogpile is now owned by System1.

 

The WayBack Machine search engine page
Image: The WayBack Machine

The Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine unlocks a whole new world of information that is no longer on the internet. This massive digital library, known as Internet Archive, has been maintained since 1996 by a nonprofit organization. While not as easy to navigate as conventional search engines, Internet Archive offers more than 800 billion web pages and millions of books, audio recordings, videos and images that would have otherwise been lost to time.

 

searx search engine page
Image: searx

SearX

Searx is a more modern metasearch engine that emphasizes user privacy. Searx claims not to share users’ IP addresses or search history with the search engines it uses. It also allows users to choose which search engines from which it pulls results. The website is also open source, so users are encouraged to look at the source code and improve upon it. This also enables users to develop their own engine models and tailor searx to their specific search needs. 

 

WolframAlpha search engine page
Image: WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha, a computational intelligence engine, is not a typical search engine, but it can be just as valuable — if not more valuable — when used correctly. It stores a vast library of data, algorithms and equations that it uses to calculate answers to complex math, science and linguistic problems across any academic discipline. Most commonly used by students, educators and researchers, WolframAlpha offers a free version as well as premium versions with more advanced features.

 

AOL search engine page
Image: AOL

AOL

Launched in 1997, AOL’s search engine provides users with an in-depth search that brings up relevant articles, videos and images, among other pieces of information. Users can also narrow down their search by categories, including business, entertainment, games, health and a more upbeat ‘lighter side’ section. AOL is now under the Yahoo! brand as a result of Verizon acquiring the two entities and then selling them to Apollo Global Management.

 

Is Generative AI Replacing Search Engines?

When it comes to having their basic questions answered, more and more people are turning to generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard, rather than a traditional search engine. These tools can create succinct summaries for requests like cooking recipes, shopping recommendations and DIY home solutions. Because of these abilities, Google and Microsoft have equipped their browsers with generative AI features to quickly answer complex questions and craft summaries of longer pieces, among other uses.  

However, generative AI is still prone to hallucinations, producing inaccurate summaries that mislead users. Even though calls for generative AI to cite its sources are meant to address this flaw, generative AI tools may still cite inaccurate information or make up citations altogether. Generative AI has made great strides in the realm of search, but it remains a ways off from replacing search engines entirely.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

A search engine is a tool used for finding information online. It works by continuously crawling web pages and using algorithms to surface the content that’s most relevant to the user’s search query.

Google, Bing, Yahoo! and DuckDuckGo are the most popular search engines in the United States.

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