Most of the time– based on my limited but scientific research of a dozen friends, family members, co-workers, and three people I talked with in the line at Starbucks– it’s Google. That explains why Google has around 75-percent of search engine marketshare worldwide. Are there alternatives? Is there a better way?
The truth of the search business is distinct. Google rules. There are others– notably Microsoft’s Bing, China’s Baidu, Russian’s Yandex, Yahoo!, and others, including DuckDuckGo— but nobody would notice if any of the also-rans closed their doors.
Based on limited and biased research on my part, Google is tops because, 1) Google is a verb, 2) Google’s results are better, 3) I’ve tried the others and keep coming back to Google, 4) I really want to use DuckDuckGo, but please refer #3. The interface is easier than Google. I can set DuckDuckGo as a choice in Safari. It does not track users. Maybe it’s a transparent bias on my part, but the actual search results are not as useful as those I find in Google.
Is there a better way? Yeah. It’s called StartPage, a search engine supposedly enhanced by Google (whatever that means). It’s like getting Google search results without all the cruft.
StartPage does the privacy thing a bit differently. It uses Google’s search engine for results but the website and extension does not keep your personal data or pass it on to Google. All the basic benefits without having Google stalk you 24/7 on your Mac.
The plugin-like extension turns Safari’s search URL bar into StartPage. It works on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and even Internet Explorer, and there are apps for iOS and Android.
What you get looks familiar.
My fear of Google following me around as I browse and search is not paranoia, though that’s the right attitude to have if everyone is out to get you– and Google is out to get your personal information. StartPage fixes the Google search results so you won’t have advertisers stalking you or throwing up targeted advertisements.
StartPage is a European company and they tend to be more worried and concerned about personal privacy than the oligarchs running the good old U.S. of A. these days. The app only uses SSL to search and searches go through a proxy so your specific location is not shared. Like Mac360, there are no cookies, and no trackers. That means you can search with fewer worries about who or what is watching you. It even works in Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi, and Brave.
Not bad for free, right?