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Best Search Engines Other Than Google in 2022: Change Your Default Search Engine

Everyone’s heard of Google Search, but what about DuckDuckGo, Searx or Ecosia? There are several search engines other than Google that are worth using the next time you need to find information online. We’ll get into the fine details of our seven favorites.

Max Pitchkites
By Max Pitchkites (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-03-07T19:34:30+00:00

Google needs no introduction. It’s the most visited website in the world and is commonly used as a verb. Despite its dominance in the search engine market, dozens of search engines other than Google maintain popularity as well.

Key Takeaways:

  • Alternative search engines to Google Search include services that place their emphasis on privacy, features, metasearch capability and specialized content.
  • Some private search engines use the same indexes as their bigger, less private competitors, but don’t track users.
  • Metasearch engines aggregate content from multiple search engines at once.

Google is a good search engine for general everyday use, but there are alternative search engines with more features or specialized content. Those with particular search needs may not always find what’s useful to them in Google’s catch-all index.

  • Searx is a good metasearch for finding information not included in Google’s index. Every Searx instance is a unique user-operated feed of content, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for on one instance, you might be able to find on another.

  • No, DuckDuckGo Inc. is its own independent company.

  • DuckDuckGo is a good privacy-oriented search engine because it doesn’t save your history of searches or store an advertising profile on you.

Why Use Search Engines Other Than Google?

Privacy is a major variable to consider. Google is an advertising company that makes most of its profits from collecting user data for targeted advertising. Most search engines run by large companies operate on this model, but Google is a particularly data-hungry company.

Each search engine has its pros and cons, so your personal needs will dictate which one will serve you best. We’ll get into the details of our seven favorite Google alternatives below.

Best Alternative Search Engines

The best search engines are determined first and foremost by the quality of their search results. Relevant results and index size are major factors, but privacy and features must be taken into account as well.

  1. DuckDuckGo — A search engine that won’t track your search history or create targeted advertisements based on your behavior.
  2. Searx — A community-run metasearch engine that returns dynamic and uncensored search results without tracking you.
  3. WolframAlpha — Search engine that specializes in academic information and allows you to search for mathematics, science, history and other forms of knowledge.
  4. Ecosia — A nonprofit private search engine that plants trees.
  5. Bing — Search engine with a rewards program.
  6. Yahoo — Great for finance, sports and news.
  7. Swisscows – A Switzerland-based privacy search engine headquartered outside the reach of EU and U.S. privacy legislation.

Our top three alternative search engines that don’t track you are DuckDuckGo, Searx and WolframAlpha. They go beyond Google’s capabilities by emphasizing privacy, metasearch features and academic search results, respectively.

1. DuckDuckGo

ddg browser
DuckDuckGo allows you to search the web without being tracked.

Pros:

  • Strong privacy policy
  • Easy to use
  • Private ads

Cons:

  • No personalized search results

DuckDuckGo is our favorite alternative search engine to Google. While most of the major services make their money by tracking their users’ online activities, DuckDuckGo leaves your personal data alone.

DuckDuckGo explains in its privacy policy that it limits its data collection practices to anonymized aggregate data, so the company won’t be able to identify individual users. Your results won’t be tailored to your interests, but your personal information will be much more private while using the web. DuckDuckGo runs ads as well, but it relies on keywords rather than personal data.

ddg serp
DuckDuckGo doesn’t log your search engine queries.

There’s a lot more to say about this search engine, so we suggest checking out our full article on DuckDuckGo. We also have a how to use DuckDuckGo guide if you decide to use this search engine. Check our DuckDuckGo alternatives guide for more private search engines.

2. Searx

searx
Searx is an open-source search engine that can aggregate the results of several search services at once.

Pros:

  • Aggregates from dozens of search engines
  • Uncensored search results
  • Option to create your own Searx instance

Cons:

  • Not the easiest to use

Searx is an excellent example of a metasearch engine. That means it pulls its results from up to 70 search engines at once, rather than using a single index. Read our Dogpile review for another search engine that pulls results from multiple sources.

Searx isn’t exactly a single search engine. Rather, Searx operates as multiple user-operated instances, each with different sources and settings. You’ll find major differences in the type and quality of search results from one instance to the next, so you’ll be able to discover content beyond Google’s curated index.

searx instances
Searx is an advanced search tool that you can access through one of several user-run instances.

For that same reason, Searx isn’t the easiest tool to use. Some instances are better than others, and it takes time to familiarize yourself with the way Searx works.

3. WolframAlpha

wolfram alpha search
WolframAlpha is the best Google alternative for academic and research purposes.

Pros:

  • Great academic data for researchers & students

Cons:

  • Results aren’t the best for general web searching

WolframAlpha isn’t exactly a search engine, but rather a computational knowledge engine. It’s known for being able to calculate mathematical equations, but its database includes knowledge across several fields like science and technology, history, art and more.

Google returns web pages (HTML files) relevant to your search queries, but WolframAlpha returns specific information about your query instead. For example, if you want to know the distance between New York City and Los Angeles, WolframAlpha will calculate the distance in multiple units of measure, show a map, and estimate the time it would take to travel there.

wolfram alpha
Unlike other sites, Wolfram Alpha is a web portal focused on providing academic information instead of web pages.

This makes it a great tool for students and researchers, and anyone with the curiosity to learn new things. It’s not meant for finding web pages, though.

4. Ecosia

ecosia
Ecosia is the best search engine for supporting environmental causes.

Pros:

  • Nonprofit company
  • Supports environmental causes
  • Good privacy protections

Cons:

  • Same index as Bing

Help plant trees while you search — that’s Ecosia’s mission. Ecosia is a nonprofit, privacy-focused search engine that uses 80% of its revenue to plant new trees in more than 30 countries around the world. Every search contributes a small amount of money toward Ecosia’s environmental projects, and clicking on ads generates even more revenue.

Ecosia has the added benefit of being a private search engine, similar to DuckDuckGo. It doesn’t save your searches or keep an advertising profile on you like Google, and the data it does collect is minimal. Ecosia states in its privacy policy that it partially anonymizes IP addresses and avoids unique event fingerprinting altogether.

ecosia search
You can add Ecosia to Chrome for easier searching.

Ecosia’s biggest downside is its index. Its search content and ads are powered by Bing, “enhanced with Ecosia’s own algorithms,” which makes Ecosia just a search engine based on Bing and dedicated to environmental causes. It’s not a bad index by any means, but your search results won’t vary much between Ecosia and Bing.

5. Bing

bing rewards
You can earn rewards for searching with Bing.

Pros:

  • Good index
  • Rewards program

Cons:

  • Not very private

Right behind Google in popularity is Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. Like Google, Bing tailors the search results to your interests as you use the web. It may not be a great search engine for privacy, but Bing does a good job of finding search results most relevant to your interests.

One of Bing’s major advantages is its rewards program. Bing allows you to search the web and accrue Microsoft points while signed into your Microsoft account, which can be redeemed for rewards. Some of the rewards you can get by searching with Bing include gift cards, entries into sweepstakes and donations to nonprofit organizations.

bing video
Bing is a very visual search engine that includes previews in its video search.

Our biggest complaint with Bing is its privacy. As mentioned above, Bing follows the standard data collection practices as major search engines like Google. Bing also uses data collected from Microsoft Edge and Cortana to influence your Bing search results, so you’ll have to adjust your privacy settings on all of those services in order to limit data collection.

6. Yahoo

yahoo
Yahoo was a leading search engine in the ‘90s and 2000s.

Pros:

  • Good for finance, sports & news

Cons:

  • Involved in major privacy scandals

Yahoo isn’t quite as popular as it used to be, and even its once-popular Yahoo Answers was shut down in 2021. However, it’s still one of the most popular search engines. Yahoo’s search results are adequate overall, but nothing special. Yahoo’s biggest strength lies in its detailed pages dedicated to information about finance, sports and news.

Yahoo regularly updates its finance page with a wealth of financial news and real-time stock market data, which is neatly arrayed at the top of the page. Yahoo Sports likewise displays real-time scores for popular sporting events including basketball, football, soccer, tennis and other sports.

yahoo finance
Yahoo’s detailed finance section is one of its major strengths.

We’ve mentioned privacy a lot in this article. Privacy is an infamously major problem for Yahoo, which leaked the personal data of all 3 billion Yahoo users to hackers in 2013 and 2014.

7. Swisscows (Formerly Hulbee)

swisscows search bar
Your search queries won’t be stored by this Switzerland-based search engine.

Pros:

  • No trackers or cookies
  • Family-friendly
  • Based in Switzerland

Cons:

  • Times out often

Finally, we have another entry for a private search service. Swisscows is a Switzerland-based engine that doesn’t collect your search history or create targeted advertisements.

Its good privacy offering is made even better by its location in the famously neutral country. Its headquarters in Switzerland means it’s beyond the reach of U.S. and EU privacy legislation, such as the GDPR and the CCPA, and outside of the Five, Nine and 14 Eyes alliances.

swisscows image search
Swisscows filters out all adult and violent content, unlike Google Images.

Swisscows is also a family-friendly search engine that filters out violent and adult content. Google Image Search offers three safe search options, but Swisscows is effectively always on safe search mode.

Final Thoughts: Best Google-Alternative Search Engine

Google is good, but there are other search engines to consider if you have specific needs or preferences. Some users might not need anything beyond a simple list of web pages like Google, Yahoo or Bing, while others might need WolframAlpha for their studies or research.

Privacy is steadily becoming a higher priority for internet users, which is where DuckDuckGo, Searx and Swisscows shine — and if you just want to plant trees, head on over to Ecosia.

What is your favorite alternative search engine to Google? Are there better search engines we omitted from this list? Let us know what you think in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.