Even if you lived under a rock, you’ve probably done a Google search or two. There are, in fact, other search engines, each with their own pros and cons. We’re going to compare some of the most popular search engines and talk about what makes them different.
Google is By Far the Most Popular Search Engine on the Planet
At the time of writing this, it’s calculated that every single second, a search is performed on Google 99,000 times. That adds up to 8.5 billion searches every day. It’s predicted that more than 92 percent of all internet searches are done on Google, but it’s possible that number is even higher.
Either way, people all over the world are more likely to say “I’ll just Google it” instead of “I’ll just search the web.”
You don’t hear anybody say “We’ll let me just Bing that,” and use Google’s closest search engine competitor, which handles about 3.5 percent of all searches, worldwide.
So what makes Google so special?
Google is extremely good at giving you accurate results based on what you are looking for.
Google uses hundreds of different signals to determine what should and shouldn’t come up when you search for something, and it does it all within half a second or so, while sifting through over 30 trillion web pages to give you the best results possible.
Is it perfect? Of course not.
Can Google be tricked? Eh, sometimes. People are always trying to get their websites to rank for certain terms. This process is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a legitimate process for businesses trying to compete against their competitors on the search engines, but it can lead to bad, misleading, or undesirable results showing up on the search results page. That being said, Google is good about making it very difficult to manipulate your ranking without actually putting in a lot of hard work, so it’s less likely that inaccurate results will show up compared to the other search engines.
Still, Google tends to get you to the best result, and it gets you there the fastest.
Google Searches are Custom-Tailored to You
Here’s the other really cool thing about Google. Everyone’s search experience is a little bit unique to them. Google takes a lot of context into consideration, including your location, your past search history, the device you are on, and other information that Google knows about you, and provides curated results.
This means when you are traveling, as long as the device you are using knows its location and is letting Google know this info, you can search for a pizza place and get localized results. Google takes a ton of data points into consideration for every single query.
This isn’t always a good thing though.
Studies have been done in the past that show that Google’s search engine can sometimes contribute to a filter bubble. While this is much more common on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the same can apply in some ways to Google searches.
Think of it like this. If you surround yourself with people who, for instance, truly believe that the moon is made out of cheese, you might start to see more and more information about the cheese moon than you did before. Your newfound cheese-moon friends will share news articles about how the moon is cheese. They will share memes and come up with silly nicknames for cheese-moon non-believers (like Non-Brie-lievers). They will get into fights on social media about whether the moon is more like Mozzarella or more like Gorgonzola. They will claim that all the non-brie-lievers are trying to shutter and bury any facts about how the moon is made out of cheese by sharing peer-reviewed articles from “fringe” agencies like NASA.
The point is, this creates sort of a bubble effect based on the way content algorithms work. If a platform like Facebook or Google knows that you’ll spend more time using them by keeping you happy with all the cheese-moon-affirmational content your heart desires, it’s going to be a little less accurate. If you spend a considerable amount of time seeking out results based on any particular filter bubble you are in, platforms like Google will likely curate some results that keep you trapped inside that filter bubble.
The trouble is that you won’t mind, your opinion about the cheese moon isn’t going to change, and everything you use online is helping you affirm this.
So yeah. Google is neat, and generally accurate, but it has been proven that sometimes it can go a little too far for some people. Over the last few years, Google has taken major steps to find a balance, which is actually the main reason Google doesn’t have the 98 percent market share it used to. Many folks have walked away from Google simply because it started to cater less to their fringe beliefs when it comes to hot button issues.
What are the Alternatives?
Now that the Big G is out of the way, in our next blog, we’re going to go over some of the alternatives. Be sure to stay tuned to our blog and social media.