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What Is the Dogpile Search Engine? A 2022 Web App Guide

The Dogpile search engine is a meta-search engine that was created to solve the problem of inadequate search results. By taking results from multiple search engine indexes instead of just one, Dogpile provides a wider selection of content than services that use only their own indexes.

Max Pitchkites
By Max Pitchkites (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-06-12T20:59:53+00:00

Created in 1996, the Dogpile search engine is one of the oldest metasearch engines still in operation today, and one of the oldest existing search services in general. Similar to Metacrawler, Dogpile received attention for deriving search results from multiple indexes at once and compiling the best results onto a single page. This is the defining trait of metasearch engines.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dogpile launched in 1996 and became, along with Metacrawler, one of the first metasearch engines to reach a mass audience.
  • Dogpile pulls content from multiple search indexes and filters out the duplicates. It fetches results from leading search engines like Google, Ask, Bing, Yahoo, MSN Search and others.
  • Dogpile used to retrieve content from engines that no longer exist, including AltaVista, Infoseek and HotBot.
  • Privacy is not Dogpile’s strength, as it collects a wide range of data on users and their devices.

It’s clear from Dogpile’s simplicity and outdated appearance that the site hasn’t changed much over the years. Its younger competitor, Google, has developed a feature-rich search engine integrated with its suite of innovative services, and other modern engines have appeared as well — but Dogpile still does its job as a metasearch engine.

  • Dogpile was launched in 1996 and remains in operation to this day. You can use it to find links to web pages, video, audio, news and other online content.

  • Google uses its proprietary crawler and algorithm to compile its own index, whereas Dogpile derives its content from a multitude of search engines. Some of its sources include Google, Yahoo, Ask, Yandex and more.

  • Dogpile is a legitimate website that doesn’t spread malware or engage in any other kind of malicious activity. However, Dogpile and its third-party associates save a lot of personally identifiable data on its users, including everything you’ve searched for.

  • Dogpile’s flagship feature is its metasearch capability. Dogpile compiles its own index from a variety of other source engines instead of limiting the range of selections to a single index.

Dogpile Search Engine Features & User Experience

Dogpile is a simple search tool that has retained a somewhat antiquated aesthetic from the early days of the World Wide Web. Its age is also evident in its lack of mobile apps, as it’s an entirely browser-based service, but it still works well on mobile browsers.

dogpile favorite fetches
Below the search button on the Dogpile site are the “favorite fetches,” or the most popular web searches for the day.

Dogpile works exactly as one would expect it to — you type in a search query and it retrieves a list of websites, images, videos and news taken from multiple search engines. The homepage  on Dogpile has a search bar with specific categories, and below that you’ll find a list of the “favorite fetches,” or the most popular searches that day.

dogpile search bar results
Dogpile’s results page is rife with ads. An ad-blocker extension will help clear them away.

On the right side of the page is a list of suggested searches and on the left is a column of different media categories such as websites, images, videos, news and shopping. Beneath this is a history of your 15 most recent searches, which can be cleared at any time.

Ads are pervasive on Dogpile’s web page. The search engine itself works well for retrieving search results, but you’ll usually have to scroll past four or five ads to get to the actual search results. Installing an ad-blocker extension will get rid of them next time you enter a search query.

Meta Search Engine

Dogpile was originally created out of developer Aaron Flin’s dissatisfaction with the search results that were available on the search engine indexes of the 1990s. His idea was to create a search service that would compile the best search results from multiple sources while filtering out duplicates.

Dogpile gets its results, or “fetches,” from a number of major search services including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask and others. In its nascent form, Dogpile gathered content from the indexes of engines that no longer exist, such as AltaVista, Infoseek and HotBot.

Dogpile Privacy

The lack of privacy is Dogpile’s biggest drawback. The privacy policy explains that the search engine and its partners collect all kinds of data on its users through cookies and web beacons.

The range of collected data encompasses info such as user name, postal address, email address and phone number, but it doesn’t stop there. Browser and hardware data are also collected, as are IP addresses, referral data and information about your internet connection.

In other words, there’s nothing the company explicitly refrains from tracking. Dogpile still follows legal requirements about data collection and sharing, though. If you’re looking for a private search engine, check out our list of the best search engines that don’t track you.

dogpile privacy policy
The privacy policy of Dogpile’s parent company, System1, outlines the kind of data Dogpile collects on its users.

The company’s privacy policy goes on to explain that non-identifying information may still be correlated with other data to identify individual users.

Dogpile collects and analyzes user behavior data in order to produce results relevant to the user’s interests, like with most search engines. Personalized searches are one of the staples of modern search engine design and offer a lot of convenience, but it comes at the cost of privacy.

Most search websites make their money by collecting your personal data. It’s not easy to protect your privacy online, so we suggest checking out our anonymous browsing guide if you want to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Dogpile Compared to Other Search Engines

Now that you have a general idea about Dogpile, we’ll compare and contrast it with two other search engines: Google and DuckDuckGo. Google represents the leading web search engines, and DuckDuckGo represents the privacy-focused alternatives to Google, Yahoo and other major players.

Dogpile vs Google

Dogpile’s search page is minimal compared to Google. Dogpile features little more than a list of links, suggested search terms and sometimes a Wikipedia link. Google’s search results are complemented by a wealth of multimedia including videos, FAQs, news stories and often a link to a related Wikipedia article.

google dogpile
Google incorporates a variety of media into its search results, including frequently asked questions, Wikipedia articles, images, news and more.

Although Dogpile looks and acts a lot like websites from the 1990s, Google has modernized since its launch in 1998 with its innovative suite of interconnected services.

Google Search isn’t a great search engine for privacy-conscious users as the company makes the bulk of its profit from targeted advertising. Dogpile doesn’t seem to be much better or worse than Google since it collects just about every kind of data it can from those who use it.

However, Google collects data at a much larger scale since it produces personalized results based on information collected from all Google services, while Dogpile is limited to a single in-browser search service. Google might be a more risky search engine to use, simply because of its scale, but Dogpile isn’t much better about protecting the privacy of its users.

Dogpile vs DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a search engine designed from the ground up to be private, while Dogpile is not. Dogpile’s specialty is its metasearch capability rather than privacy, and it has a rapacious appetite for user data.

duckduckgo dogpile
DuckDuckGo’s primary advantage is privacy, but it doesn’t have metasearch capabilities.

DuckDuckGo built its growing reputation as a search engine that doesn’t collect personally identifiable user data and limits its data collection practices to anonymized aggregate data.

Its privacy policy outlines its data collection practices in detail, and it’s clear that the company is far more scrupulous about privacy than what Dogpile reveals in its own privacy policy.

On the flip side, DuckDuckGo derives the bulk of its index from Bing and lacks the range of sources Dogpile provides. DuckDuckGo should be sufficient for most users who need a search engine for general everyday use, but Dogpile might have a wider selection of resources for those who have more specialized search needs.

DuckDuckGo is a search engine we highly recommend. For more information on the most popular privacy-preserving search engine, take a look at our full article on DuckDuckGo here. We also have a complete how to use DuckDuckGo guide.

Final Thoughts

Dogpile has earned its place in the history of the internet for being one of the earliest metasearch engines. Created at a time when each search engine had only its own index to rely on, Dogpile brought an innovative method of searching to a wide audience by collecting a comprehensive range of relevant results from multiple search sources.

As time has gone on, Dogpile hasn’t kept up with modern trends like its younger competitor Google. It may have an eclectic assortment of search results, but it lacks the range of features available in Google and the privacy protection of DuckDuckGo (read our DuckDuckGo alternatives guide for more private search engines).

It was an innovative search engine for its time, but we don’t see much of a reason to use Dogpile as your primary search engine over the other services mentioned in this overview. 

What do you think of Dogpile? Do you get better results from its multi-index search results, or do you think it’s ready for retirement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.