It's hard to find results that are not mass media or commerce, aside from sources like reddit, quora, and other forums. Less popular sites don't make it to top results. I can't find others like me. So I started to look for alternative search engines.
I found many articles, but they were not focused on independent search engines, with their own crawlers and indexing methods. If they were about alternatives, they were misinformed and non-comprehensive. Since I couldn't find the article I wanted, I started writing my own. I have combed through what's available and give a brief summary of what I found. I was also curious about how much alternative search engines are being used.
The most popular alternative to Google, is Bing. In this review, I will avoid counting those that re-brand someone else's search engine results. One example is Yahoo search, which uses the Bing search engine since 2009. I make exception with DuckDuckGo and SearcX since I think they are notable, and as meta search engines they combine search results from as many engines as possible. Although, at least DuckDuckGo results don't differ that much from the big two (Reminder to check SearX).
In my first pass, I ruled out search sites where other articles, including Wikipedia, state that the search site uses someone else's search engine. It's possible that any of those articles could be mistaken or even outdated. I verified infrequently.
In the second pass, I tested search sites that claimed to have hybrid results. I have yet to see an abundance of unique results, if any, for any engine that supposedly “enriches” results from bing and/or google. I wasn't trying to be thorough: I tried at most 2 different searches looking for unique results. Some results were exact copies, some offered the same results but the order was randomized. Or mixed and randomized in the case of DuckDuckGo's Google/Bing results.
I am still going through the third pass, which is to test each remaining engine for individuality of search results. Some are crossed out below. They are crossed out, if I did not find sufficient unique search results. Sufficient unique results means that the first twenty results were not listed in the first twenty results of bing and the first sixty results of google.
During the third pass, I found a directory of international search engines, which lead me to expand my results toward the bottom of the page. I use a browser extension to translate the results into English.
I'm not promising good results from any of these; just looking for any attempt at producing substantial unique results.
Using Alexa or Similarweb to determine the popularity of search engines makes for a very rough estimate. Another rough estimate, would be to visit the Alternativeto.net website. Another would be to look at the most popular search engine plugins at https://mycroftproject.com/dlstats.html. Lastly, there is the google trends site.
The charts below are from Google Trends, so please take this conflict-of-interest into account. If you browse to Google Trends, make sure and remember to select “Worldwide”, if that is what you seek, because it defaults to the country you are searching from. I use separate charts so that the relative scale of lesser known search engines can be viewed. If Google were placed in the chart with the lesser known search engines, they would all show as a flat line at the bottom of the graph, as is the case with Bing, the search engine that had the second highest peak in the timeline.
The only search engines that may get more traffic than google, in a specific region, are the localized search engines listed below the charts.
Human edited directory:
Independent News and Academia Search:
Localized search engines, with independent or semi-independent engines. What is amazing is that on google trends, the popularity of every single local engine is declining. They are ranked here by overall traffic since 2004:
http://naver.com South Korea
http://www.daum.net South Korea
Same Localized search engines as above, by current ranking:
https://www.seznam.cz Czechoslovakia 1
https://www.rambler.ru Russia 2
http://naver.com South Korea 5→3
https://www.search.ch Switzerland 4
http://www.daum.net South Korea 6→5
http://www.najdi.si Slovenian 3→6
http://so.com China 8→7
http://ant.com Bangladesh (low traffic; on par with Qwant)
http://leit.is Iceland (low traffic; on par with Qwant)
http://sogou.com China (low traffic; on par with Qwant)
Localized search engines with barely any traffic, like, ever:
Tor / Dark Web (tor web browser required to view results):
https://ahmia.fi aka http://msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion
not Evil http://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion
Also duckduckgo, searx, metager, yippy
Unlike duckduckgo, some search engines include *only* onion results.
In 60 minutes of searching and reading on the TOR network, results were really slow in loading. Each search engine had their own set of unique results. Some had rather distasteful results.
The following extensions help with searching. For example, a few of the following make it easier to use the same search query in different search engines. No retyping or copy-paste.
2) This one https://addons.palemoon.org/addon/context-search-x or alternatively, I'm using Quick Context Search https://legacycollector.org/firefox-addons/502176/index.html
If you have one of Greasemonkey, Tampermonkey, or Violentmonkey on your web browser, you can use the script Alternative Search Engines to quickly perform a search with the same query on any of the search engines: google, bing, yandex, and duckduckgo. It works by showing links to the other engines on any search results page:
Other user scripts include:
If you visit a search engine's website, click the down arrow in the web browser's search box. You will find the option to add the search engine's plugin to your web browser (tested on Pale Moon). Most search engine's homepages offer this feature, but a few don't.
You can also create your own search engine plugins here:
Since SearX is open source, you can use the software and have your own search engine server:
And Google said “let there be hyphens”, and there were hyphens. Dokuwiki defaults to using underscores as word separators. Wikipedia uses underscores also, but if you aren't Wikipedia, I'm going to have a hard time finding your site unless you go through the arduous process of mass-converting your site to hyphens. Maybe there's a good reason? Matt Cutts says it's because programmers use underscores in variable names, which are treated as one word.