How many Google products do you use daily? Chances are, you use Google search multiple times in a day and communicate through Gmail with both email and chat. You may own an Android phone, store documents on Google Drive, and browse the web through Chrome.
When you’re looking for directions to the new restaurant that opened up in town, you use Google Maps to navigate. And—admit it—you watch YouTube videos everyday at work.
Google has truly become an integral part of our world. So here comes the challenging question: could you spend a day without Google? What products would you use if you didn’t have Google?
Let’s focus on Google’s #1 field, and their original purpose: they are unarguably the dominant player in search. But some other search engines have made progress that may put them in better ground to compete within the next few years. People are finding alternatives as they become frustrated with Google’s awkward attempts at social integration and questions over privacy. Let’s take a look at a few other players in the world of search:
Bing has made huge strides recently. I’ll confess to laughing at Microsoft’s attempts to make a dent in the search market a few years ago. However, they’ve built a product that has vastly improved in quality over time and now controls 28% of search across the web. In fact, an Experian report from June 28, 2012 shows that Bing took 5% of Google’s market share in the past 12 months.
While these next two search tools only see a tiny portion of the web’s searches, they are making strides to improve and have received significant attention within the SEO industry.
Blekko offers a number of custom searches using slashtags, which filter results to select sites related to particular topics. For example, including /news in a search will show only news-related sites. Blekko relies heavily on users to curate quality sites.
Blekko contains a built-in tool popular among SEO professionals: searching with /seo and a URL (for example, /seo overit.com) will supply detailed link data and other info about a domain.
While its name sounds like a nursery school game, DuckDuckGo is a favorite of people concerned about Google’s constant tracking of users. This up and coming search engine promises complete privacy and has seen explosive growth in the last few months. In fact, Rand Fishkin, a leader in the SEO industry, recently called attention to this on Twitter. A clean, simple interface makes this site functional without the growing fluff of extra elements being added to Google search result pages.
If you use Google as your main search engine, I’d encourage taking a day to try one of these other sites and see how it works for you. Do you find the results more or less relevant? Personally, I still find Google’s search results the best, and I primarily use their search engine. But I’m keeping my eye on other players in the industry and encouraged to see innovation outside of Larry Page’s company.