The best search engine for desktops and mobile devices? It is complicated
What search engine do you use? Is this really the best option for you? Jack Wallen brings up this question and draws a conclusion that you might not expect.
You use a search engine every day. In fact, search engines have become so prevalent in our society that people no longer say “search it online”, they say “Google it”. Of course, by “Google it” people mean to search for it using the Google search engine.
But is Google the best option for your search needs?
It all depends on what you consider most important for your research needs. Are we talking about privacy, speed, precision, shopping? What you put at the top of your requirements can dictate which search engine you use.
Or, maybe you don’t really care and just want the easiest path to success?
The truth is, there is no better all-around search engine for desktop or mobile. Whichever search engine you choose, you are compromising something. The question is, are we saying something that is worth compromising?
SEE: Electronic communication policy (TechRepublic Premium)
At one point, this compromise was considerable. I remember back when DuckDuckGo first arrived on the scene, he couldn’t hold a candle to Google. Now? These two search engines are very close in terms of speed, accuracy and functionality.
And, of course, there’s Bing and even the new Brave Search (which is now in beta).
What’s interesting is that Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Brave Search are all weirdly similar. When you use any of these three, you will not only get similar results for your search efforts, but you will also enjoy the ability to filter your results on All, Images, News, and Videos. And with Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, they’re adding Shopping to the mix. And Brave and Google are adding the People Asking Too section, to help you further refine your search results.
SEE: How DuckDuckGo makes money selling research, not privacy (TechRepublic)
At this point, the choice between search engines could boil down to answering these questions:
- Do you want a Shopping filter? If you answer yes to that, then you’ve narrowed your choices down to Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.
- Do you want a People Also Ask section to search for? If so, your search is limited to Brave Search and Google. Of course, neither Google nor Bing always features the People Asking section. It all depends on the search criteria and how you ask your question.
So, you see, the choice is still complicated. To that end, I’m going to focus on what many believe is the most important issue with a search engine: privacy.
When we approach this selection with a nod to privacy. This is when things can move away from standard options. But before we come to an option that you’ve probably never heard of, let’s consider which one you have.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that was built on the idea of ââprivacy. DuckDuckGo Features:
- Never save your search history.
- Don’t stalk you.
- Settings can be saved in the cloud.
- Information can be found in fewer clicks.
- Allows a search by region.
One thing you should know about DuckDuckGo is that it collects search results from over 400 sources, so you can count on your results being accurate. More important (especially for some users) is that the results are unbiased. Businesses do everything they can to get their results to the top of Google searches. The point is, Google creates a User Data Profile, which is used to tailor your results, based on what they think you’re going to click. This is called the filter bubble, which can be problematic. Why? Consider this: At some point, Google will have gathered enough information about you to “know” which side you are leaning on politically. It will then use that conclusion and provide you with results that you already agree with. This means that you will be less likely to see results from the opposite point of view.
SEE: Possible reasons why Google is moving away from APKs on Android (TechRepublic)
A search engine should be impartial. Google search is not.
Our decision now leans towards DuckDuckGo as the best option. But wait, there is more. DuckDuckgo isn’t the only privacy-conscious search option. In fact, there are other privacy-focused search engines. Take, for example, the Searx meta-engine. This open source search engine is not only available as a standalone service. You can actually download the source and create your own instance. Imagine having your own internal search engine. It’s serious privacy. If you don’t want to create your own instance, you can always take advantage of one of Searx’s many public instances.
The problem with a search engine like Searx is that it is fine for desktop and laptop users, but what about mobile users? You will have a hard time setting Searx as your default search engine on Android.
DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, makes switching to Android fairly easy. For that, you need to install DuckDuckGo privacy browser from Google Play Store and then follow these steps:
- Set DuckDuckGo as the default search engine for Chrome on Android.
- Remove the default Google search bar on the home screen and replace it with the DuckDuckGo widget.
Once you’ve done that, your Android internet searches will go through DuckDuckGo, instead of Google.
In the end, the decision is quite simple:
- If you want privacy, go with DuckDuckGo.
- If you want your search results to be used for targeted marketing (among other things), go with Google.
For me, the choice is obvious. I would much prefer to keep my searches private while still keeping as much of what Google has to offer in a search. For that, DuckDuckGo is the only answer. If you want robust, reliable, and easy-to-use (desktop and mobile) search, while enjoying a level of security that Google search cannot match, you owe it to yourself to upgrade to DuckDuckGo.