Which are the best search engines that aren't Google or Yahoo?
January 29, 2006 3:55 AM   Subscribe

Which are the best search engines that aren't Google or Yahoo? I want to find one that is good for searching but which also isn't in the business of turning this into this.

Dear Ask Mefi. I'd like to avoid using Google where possible. Yes, I know this won't make any difference to anything but it will make me feel better. I'd appreciate recommendations for other search engines that deliver good results and aren't run by companies that are snuggled up all cosy in bed with murderers, conspiring to help them better hide their crimes. So that's Yahoo! out, for starters. Looking around over the last day or so, Gigablast and Clusty seem to be getting a few recommendations. Anyone here used them much? Any other recommendations?
posted by reynir to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
posted by slater at 4:13 AM on January 29, 2006

On second thought, scratch Alltheweb. From their about us page:

"AlltheWeb's index (provided by Yahoo!) includes billions of web pages, as well as tens of millions of PDF and MS Word® files. Yahoo! frequently scans the entire web to ensure that our content is fresh and to eliminate broken links."
posted by slater at 4:15 AM on January 29, 2006

I'm glad you asked this question. I was going to ask the same thing - I sincerely hope someone comes up with a suggestion.
posted by planetthoughtful at 4:18 AM on January 29, 2006

Which are the best search engines that aren't Google or Yahoo?

I guess... *gulp*... MSN?

Ask.com and Teoma are still independent as far as I know.

To be honest, I can't imagine any company turning down the opportunity to work in China, so I'd be surprised if there are any that don't have their finger in the big Communist pie somewhere along the corporate-ownership food chain. If what you are really looking for is a way to both continue using the internet and sleep at night, then consider the possibility that Google actually took the most moral course of action available to them.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:42 AM on January 29, 2006

Just in case you missed it Wikipedia has a list of search engines

Looksmart is another 'big name', but I don't think its too great.

I tried Gigablast and Clusty a while back, and neither really did the business for me, though now looking again both seem to have improved.

Your other alternative is to try using the various social bookmark directories like del.icio.us, Zeal, furl etc. etc.

But this is a bit of a catch-22 situation: any search engine big enough to be a particulalry good is so big it can't ignore the Chinese market, and most of the other major players are tied to the big three (Yahoo, Google, MSN) somehow.
posted by MetaMonkey at 4:57 AM on January 29, 2006

Oh, and you may feel better using Scroogle, which 'scrapes' Google (and Yahoo), acting as a proxy.
posted by MetaMonkey at 5:02 AM on January 29, 2006

Although I haven't used it much, a lot of people in my Computer Science department like Vivisimo. They seem to be associated with Clusty, so you might already know about them, and I'm not sure if they get their results through Google, but it seems like a good service.
posted by Who_Am_I at 6:43 AM on January 29, 2006

One strategy I've been using recently is distributing searches across the 3 or 4 big engines, instead of relying on any particular one. This is more in response to the DOJ subpoena of Google search data (and what that might mean for the future) than it is to Google's censorship in China, but it also means that no one engine gets the benefit of my incredibly insignificant popularity impact.

Still, I'd rather find a less ethically compromised alternative, so I'll be checking out Who_Am_I's suggestion.
posted by planetthoughtful at 7:32 AM on January 29, 2006

Maybe worth trying Quintura?
posted by btocher at 8:52 AM on January 29, 2006

I've been playing around with Ixquick Metasearch of late, but I don't know who owns them.

reynir, I don't understand what you mean about "turning this into this" where your this = this. Perhaps you meant something like this?
posted by Rash at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2006

Oh wait, now I see the diff. I suppose if I was in China, on a terminal in an internet cafe, the results would be different? Can somebody in China confirm that they are?
posted by Rash at 9:02 AM on January 29, 2006

Rash, Google recently released a Chinese version of their search site, and made the decision to comply with the censorship of the Chinese government. You can access the site from anywhere and see that the results that are being returned can be vastly different, as in the example given by reynir.
posted by youarenothere at 10:11 AM on January 29, 2006

Response by poster: Sorry Rash, I was assuming the google/china story would be fairly well known - dunno about where you are but it got very good coverage in the UK. See here, here and here for some context.

Thanks all for the suggestions, I will check them out. I hadn't realised until I started looking into this how many of the alternative search engines are taking their content from the same sources.

MSN's a no-no by the way; they've beaten Google to the kissy-kiss with nasty bastards punch by some distance.
posted by reynir at 11:13 AM on January 29, 2006

Time to wake up, folks.

Clusty claims to be "anonymous", but their privacy policy says: No personally identifiable information is ever required by Clusty. This means Clusty never seeks any information related to your name, telephone number, address, or even your email address. Clusty is intended to be an anonymous service. We do collect limited non-personally identifying information that your browser makes available. This log information includes your Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, referral data, the date and time of your query and one or more cookies (described below) that may uniquely identify your browser.

Depending on how you access the internet, your IP address is probably more personally identifying than your zip code, or even your email address or phone number.
posted by Caviar at 11:14 AM on January 29, 2006

A9 perhaps?
posted by rinkjustice at 5:05 PM on January 29, 2006

A9 is just Google wrapped in Amazon.

Clusty queries Looksmart, Lycos, MSN, Open Directory, Teoma, Gigablast, and Wisenut

Teoma uses Google ads.

"Quintura is a program that lets you search for items using a combination of different search engines. Google, Google News, Yahoo!, MSN Search and a few more are included."

Hmm, not many options when it comes down to it.
posted by krisjohn at 7:51 PM on January 29, 2006

You may also want to keep your eye on Quaero, a soon to start European search engine. Seems be supported largely by the French and Germans, with the goal of reducing American search imperialism or something like that.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:58 AM on January 30, 2006

Back in the old days I used to use lycos all of the time. I can't vouch for their usability anymore but they may be worth a try if you feel that this issue is something worthwhile. Otherwise I stick with Yahoo!

Honestly, I think you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. If you want to make a real difference, don't buy products made in China. The choice of a search engine isn't going to make a dent in the policies of the Chinese. I assume if you really care about the plight of Chinese oppression then you are already boycotting everything manufactured there? I know I will go out of my way and even pay more to purchase American products over anything made in China. If faced with no choice except a Chinese made product, I usually elect not to buy. It's a noble cause but if you are going to stick it to one company, stick it to them all.
posted by JJ86 at 10:34 AM on January 30, 2006

I guess you may as throw the Yahoo! corp in the shitbin too which means Flickr, etc...

Yahoo! China search of Tianenman Square
posted by JJ86 at 10:40 AM on January 30, 2006

meh. Dogpile.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:50 PM on January 30, 2006

Dogpile I mean.
*kicks computer*
posted by Smedleyman at 5:51 PM on January 30, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all. This looks like a useful collection of alternatives.
posted by reynir at 3:06 PM on February 1, 2006

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