It’s hard to remember what we did before there were computers loaded with search engines. We’d have to look up what we wanted to know in the encyclopedia or dictionary, call around to get the answer, or just do without. It’s never been easier to get answers to our questions. And the best part is we can reach this answer usually within seconds.
But there’s more than one search engine. Which one is better? Is it Google? Or do we just use that because it’s preloaded on browsers and is easier? What about Bing or relative newcomer DuckDuckGo?
If you’re online, you’re using a Google product in some way, whether it’s the search engine, Gmail, Chrome, Google+, etc. It seems Google’s goal is to become invaluable to us by connecting all these services with each other. And it all started with their search engine.
Google has its traditional search page, but it’s also embedded in many browsers. These browsers many times allow us to switch the search engine from Google to something else, but let’s face it. It’s too easy to just leave it as is.
The default search is generic searching through the Web, but you can also search specifically for Videos, Images, News, Shopping, and more. You can then refine that search by choosing a time frame, a reading level, and verbatim. It will also search around your location or any other that you choose. You can change many things in the Settings to get just the results you’re looking for, can choose the language, and turn on SafeSearch. There’s also an Advanced Search allowing you to narrow the results down even more. Most interesting is a Web History where it will show your search activity historically, results which it uses to tailor your future search results specifically to you.
Within your search, Google will display a definition that was searched for, saving you from having to click a link to a separate page. It will also give you instant results for weather, stock quotes, sports scores, unit and currency conversion, calculator, maps, movie showtimes, and more. Google also corrects your bad spelling and searches for the correct version but offers you the choice of searching your misspelled version, just in case that’s what you were looking for. It’s hard to imagine Google not being helpful enough for your search engine needs.
Bing has its connections too. It’s a product of Microsoft, powers Yahoo! Search, and is integrated with Hotmail, Facebook, and Siri. While Google may give you everything you need to find what you’re searching for, Bing makes it hard to not look at it. It features gorgeous pictures that change frequently as the background on the homescreen and shows smaller pictures at the bottom with the current trending headlines.
Clicking on a headline brings up a page with top results for that headline. As for your own personal searches, as with Google, you can search the Web or for images, videos, maps, and news in addition to MSH, and outlook.com. You can also perform a search within your search history, Settings include SafeSearch, Location, and Language. Bing offers instant answers on sports scores, stocks, conversions, calculator, package tracking, dictionary, flight tracking, translator, and more.
A unique facet of Bing is that it offers Rewards. Just by searching with it and trying new features and exclusive offers, you can earn credits that can be redeemed for rewards. These include offers from Amazon, Starbucks, Xbox, Fandango, and more. You do have to set up an account, but it is free.
DuckDuckGo may not be as connected as Google and may not be as flashy as Bing, but there’s one thing it offers that is very attractive, and that’s anonymity. That’s something that is sometimes important, and we definitely lose that with Google and Bing. Every product of Google knows what you have done on all of its other products. Sometimes we just want to search without the search engine following us. However, without that, the results aren’t tailored specifically for you. Everyone gets the same search results.
One way that DuckDuckGo is different than the others is that it doesn’t include results from content mills, sites that publish thousands of articles consistently. That type of material is seen by them as “low quality.” This strategy will produce less results, but the results you get will be of higher quality.
Despite its basic appearance, the search engine will allow you to tailor the results to a region, language, Safe Search, etc. It also has Privacy settings that will encrypt your searches and prevent DuckDuckGo from sharing your search with the sites you click on. You also get to adjust the color, look and feel, and layout to what you feel comfortable with.
Which of these three search engines you choose depends on what type of search you are looking for. If you want to be ultra-connected, choose Google. If you’re looking for flashy, choose Bing. And if you’re looking for anonymity, of course choose DuckDuckGo. But know that you’ll get solid results no matter which search engine you choose.
What’s your favorite search engine? Let us know in the comments below.