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Searching for the perfect engine

With a record use rate of 93%, Google is still the most popular search engine with French web users in 2017, to such an extent that it is becoming an automatic choice. And with good reason: today, it indexes 30,000 billion pages and manages to display search results in just a few tenths of a second. While it is undeniably useful at a time when sites are appearing at a phenomenal rate, some users refuse to work with the US giant from Mountain View and consider potential alternatives. There are alternatives available, each offering interesting functions and specific features. Here is The Collective’s selection for a different surfing experience.

The Collective has tested six alternatives to Google for you.
The Collective has tested six alternatives to Google for you.

Focus on privacy

The complaints made by certain web users who are tired of Google’s dominance include the need for total confidentiality when browsing to guarantee the protection of their personal data. With this in mind, several services have emerged guaranteeing a fully anonymous and secure experience for web users.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo has grown in popularity since Apple included it in its list of search engines available with Safari on iOS and Mac OS, and it has quickly established itself as the pioneer for alternative engines. Although its design is inspired by its big brother, it offers a guarantee for all its users that none of their searches or histories are recorded – by default, the site does not store your IP address and does not use cookies. It also includes a feature to use “!bangs”, which are like keyboard shortcuts that enable you to carry out quick searches on a particular site. For instance, “!leboncoin maison” immediately displays all the property ads available on the site which is really quite useful. But this does not mean that DuckDuckGo is an obscure service reserved for experts: its intuitive interface and relevant results will also benefit newcomers, who will appreciate the option to display all their search results on one single page with infinite scrolling. An innovation that Google is believed to have been looking into for several months now.

>> duckduckgo.com

StartPage

Confidentiality is not a new issue, but it has gradually moved into the spotlight following the actions of whistle-blowers, explains Sally Payze, Vice-President of StartPage. “When I joined the company, just a few groups and people who were concerned about data confidentiality were talking about this. When Edward Snowden released the various documents highlighting the lack of security for online data, the general public started to feel concerned about this”. StartPage is another initiative which, unlike DuckDuckGo, uses Google’s search algorithms and results, but adds an additional layer of protection by encrypting the data transmitted. It also has an option to use a proxy for slower, but fully confidential browsing.

>> www.startpage.com

Made in France

After just looking at international initiatives so far, we could believe that France is lagging behind when it comes to innovation for content research. But French search engines, although rare, are available and ensure more relevant results for their users thanks to their expertise with French language semantics.

Qwant

From this entire selection, Qwant is probably our favorite. Created between Nice and Rouen, where it was designed then secured, it is quick, comprehensive, smart and highly accessible. “Four years ago, we registered patents concerning the links between social responses and the web, because for us, the comments posted below YouTube videos and in social media must be factored into results”, explains Éric Léandri, the Company’s Co-Founder and Director. So, Qwant searches not just the web itself, but all the content that might appear on blogs, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. We also appreciate its editorialized homepage, which highlights popular articles and searches, as well as people who are in the headlines. The cherry on the cake is the Junior version, specially designed for younger users and safe from all the dubious or dangerous sites that can be found online.

>> www.qwant.com

Orange Engine

Simple and fluid since its launch, the Orange Engine is still one of the most popular French initiatives with web users. Adapted for all platforms with its responsive design (adjusted for browsing on your computer, mobile or tablet), it promises search results that are organized by theme, with a particular focus on videos. Its “elastic” vision, explained in this fascinating interview with Jean-Pierre Paris, enables the service to deliver suggestions for content and related searches that are even more relevant. After existing for 18 years, the Engine has already proven itself!

>> www.lemoteur.fr

Qwant Junior, a secure search engine for children.
Qwant Junior, a secure search engine for children.

Most original

While they all share a core idea – helping web users to find the information they are looking for – the engines sometimes allow themselves some eccentricities. So it would be a real shame to miss out these last two surprising alternatives.

Lilo

What if your future searches could benefit useful initiatives? That is the promise made by Lilo, a search engine that has chosen to donate half of its advertising revenues each quarter to social or environmental projects chosen by its users. More specifically, it is a meta-search engine, because Lilo reuses Google’s algorithm in full: “What are the benefits of investing tens of millions of euros to recreate what others have already done and on what they have already built up a phenomenal lead?”, explains the team. A year and a half on from its launch, over 161,000 euros have been donated, thanks to a monthly average of 16.4 million searches converted into small “drops”, which are like symbolic bonus points corresponding to a donation. A real success!

>> www.lilo.org

Million Short

Million Short stands out with its surprising positioning: it is a discovery engine rather than a search engine. For this, the site’s algorithms invite users (who have developed the habit of trusting results pages) to remove the most popular responses by excluding the 100 to 100,000 first sites usually displayed. What is the benefit with this? It makes it possible to head off the beaten track and discover new portals and blogs, at the expense of more relevant information. In the past few years, the team behind this service has been working to optimize their technology (“differentiated searches”) and make Million Short compatible with all web users, on both computers and mobile devices. Would you be interested in discovering new unexplored regions online?

>> www.millionshort.com

published on 02.07.17
by Bastien Pean

tags :

“In 2017, Google is still the most popular search engine with French web users, to such an extent that it is becoming an automatic choice.”

published on 02.07.17
by Bastien Pean

tags :