A little slice of the internet

Is there room for another search engine?

Google is great GWhen searching for something on the internet, people usually turn to one source: the search engine of Google. The market is dominated by them to such an extent that Google, as a brand, is synonymous with internet research. Googling is even a verb, registered on the Merriam-Webster. In an environment like that, smaller search engines are defying the odds and starting to grow on popularity, showing that, perhaps, there is a place for them.

The truth is that Google, despite being a highly efficient search engine with a great algorithm, still presents some flaws and has business practices that cause discomfort on some people. Google's algorithm, as with any business, reflects one specific philosophy, that of the company. Because of that, although being a great tool for most situations, hence Google having 63.9 per cent of the market shares, it is not the best for some situations. That is where other search engines are trying to create their market.

Google is great for searching key words, but is challenged when posed with complete questions. Search engines like ask.com deal better with those questions, accommodating for colloquial language and making sure to take questions as a whole. This ensures it offers more focused and direct answers. The platform also encourages user participation on the process, offering means of answering questions and building its own database of information to be used without the need to go to other pages of the internet. It also adds a human perspective, as users read the questions and answer them, which can only improve the quality of the results given by the algorithm.

Privacy on the internet is a growing concern of the users and, with Google's practices of collecting and storing information of the users, some people feel uneasy using it. There are search engines like DuckDuckGo.com to address those concerns and offer a private experience searching the internet. It preserves anonymity by not collecting browsing history, social media information and e-mails that Google uses to offer personalized search results. It is also user friendly, offering features like infinite scroll, their “zero-click information" feature and, as a result from not collecting your data, have much less spam.

As a company based in the United States, Google sometimes has difficulties offering people relevant results on local matters and dealing with some foreign languages. Search engines like Baidu, a giant Chinese search engine that deals better with searches and results in Asian languages (not limited to Mandarin, but also Japanese and Korean languages, for example), and Yandex, the most popular search engine in Russia, explore that. They can offer more relevant results for those focused markets, challenging Google on their local environments and sometimes coming out on top, despite Google's advantage in the global scale market. Lastly, that are search engines that combine the power of different search engines and their specific algorithms to offer the user broader results, avoiding the bias that one algorithm can have when used alone. That is the case with Yippy, a metasearch engine that gives results that are a collective of the results gave by many search engines. Doing that, they can offer more diverse results and even offer some pages that would be hard to find otherwise.

The takeaway from this is that Google is big, but is not perfect. Smaller search engines are filling those gaps, offering better alternatives in specific cases, addressing specific concerns and offering more relevant results. Their growing popularity show that, yes, there is room not only for another, but for many other search engines on the internet, as long as you have something unique to offer.