What Is The Best Way to Search Online?
If you have any experience searching the web, you know the go-to is Google. As a search engine, Google owns about 90% of online searches (according to GlobalStats) by far, exceeding those of its competitors. Is Google really that good of a search tool? Here’s a look at Google alternatives and the best way to search online.
Reasons Not to Use Google
Some people are uncomfortable with Google’s privacy issues and its size. Not only does Google’s parent company Alphabet own the internet search tool, but it also owns Nest, YouTube and Fitbit. Plus, it owns Google brands Chrome, Maps, Play and Cloud. Among its consumer and business services are these: email, cloud storage, smartphone and tablet operating systems, language translation, video conferencing and phone services.
With the omnipresence of Google, they have the ability to collect a lot of data about you. Google can — and does, unless you tell it not to — record your online activity, including your interactions with other Google apps, YouTube viewing history, and of course all of your Google searches. You can manage and delete your personal data from Google’s database.
However, a Google Search alternative can prevent them from gathering your data.
How to Search Without Google
Yes, Google Search is easy to use but at a cost — when you search, Google collects data so it can deliver targeted advertisements and search results to you. Tracking your online activity isn’t necessary for you to perform searches. For that reason, search alternatives have popped up over the last several years. Here are a few searching tools that are known for their lack of data collection:
- DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or store your personal info, ensuring your browsing history and data stays private.
- Swisscows doesn’t use tracking technologies like cookies to gain information on you and your searches. Your search queries remain anonymous with this search engine.
No search engine is perfect, not even Google. After all, they have to sort through bazillions of active websites to provide you with relevant content for your query. If you struggle to locate specific information, change up your search engine, as each brings a unique approach to a search. For example, Google presents a greater variety of results while Bing offers more extensive autocomplete results. Plus, by using several search engines, you prevent any single one from collecting all of your data.
- AOL (yes, they still exist)
- Baidu (China-based)
- Bing (Microsoft-owned)
- Dogpile (compiles from other search engines)
Further improve your searching experience with the fast, powerful and safe search capabilities of the Chromium-based (code behind many web browsers, like Microsoft Edge) OneLaunch search bar. Customizable OneLaunch browsing features include several search engines to choose from like Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia. You can set OneLaunch as your default browser and clear your search history all in one place.
How to Use a Search Engine Best
You already know how to search the internet: Type a question into a search field and sift through results.
There are ways to search the net smarter. With a few search tips and tricks, you can ensure you don’t have to sift through garbage to get to what you’re really looking for in search results.
Simplify search terms
It’s natural to type a question the same way you’d ask, say a customer service rep or a librarian, right?
- where can i find winter tires near me
- what is the best barbecue sauce that’s not spicy
- what is the difference between gold filled and gold plated and solid gold
So, the longer your search query, the narrower your search, and ideally the fewer (and better) results. This could be good if you are looking for something very specific. However, if your query is super-narrow, you could omit information that you might have found helpful.
For example, instead of searching for “what is the difference between gold filled and gold plated jewelry,” try “gold filled vs gold plated.”
Use specific keywords
Using the right keywords can mean the difference between your search returning a handful of precise results and a mountain of barely relevant sites. For instance, if you want to find a company nearby that can create a custom entertainment center for you, don’t type in something generic like “tv stand designer.” Instead, search for a “custom entertainment center designer” to narrow down your results. Add your location or “near me” to refine the results to your local area.
Use punctuation to narrow searches
Anytime you want to search for the exact match to a specific term or phrase, place it within quotation marks. Doing so will eliminate variations of the word. For example, if you’re searching for a director, your results may also show information on similar words like direct and directions. However, if you search “director,” the results will only display those with the word director in them. The same holds true for a phrase. Some search engines, e.g., Yahoo, allow you to search for a specific word by placing the + symbol in front of the word instead of using quotation marks.
These are common search parameters that will work not only on Google but also other search engines:
- Quotation marks: “solid gold versus gold plated” returns only pages that contain that exact phrase
- Minus: cake recipes, -chocolate will give you cake recipes that don’t contain chocolate
- Plus: cake recipes, +chocolate will give you only recipes that contain chocolate
- Site colon: barking ordinances site:.gov will search only government sites; also works for .edu, .org, and other types of sites