By exploring lesser known search engines such as WolframAlpha, Mojeek and Gigablast, you will get a wider range of results, customization and privacy options
For searches with a single specific and factual answer, your choice between Google, Bing or another search provider may not matter. For example, both search engines provide rapid and accurate results when you want to know what year the IBM PC was first manufactured (1981) or which team won the Men’s 2022 FIFA World Cup (Argentina).
However, when your intent is to glean information from a wide range of sources, it makes sense to query different search engines. For example, searching both Google and Bing for “edge computing best practices” or “use vi and tmux” provides slightly different sets of linked pages to review.
The search alternatives covered below include not only truly independent search sources but also secondary search services. These secondary search services often depend on Bing or Google results that the service then filters and sorts differently than the source search indexes.
Beyond Google and Bing, the most significant independent English-language search engine is Mojeek, shown in Figure B, left. An October 2022 blog post claimed that Mojeek has more than 6 billion pages indexed. As a privacy-respecting service, Mojeek also chooses not to track you.
Another truly independent search engine is Gigablast, shown in Figure B, right, which also serves as the source index for searches conducted at Private.sh. However, the two sites prioritize and present results differently, with Gigablast grouping results from notable sources and Private.sh providing a conventional list of links.
Seek a secondary search provider
Most search services rely on Bing or Google as a source for some — if not all — of their results. DuckDuckGo (Figure C, left), for example, partners with Microsoft for results from Bing, while Startpage (Figure C, right) syndicates results from Google.
What distinguishes DuckDuckGo and Startpage from their search data sources, however, are their respective privacy policies: Both promise greater privacy and less tracking than Google or Bing.
Qwant and Yahoo similarly source results from Bing, while Brave Search mixes in results from both Bing and Google. At least a couple start-up search engines, such as Kagi and Neeva, offer both free and paid plans that let you prioritize, filter and customize results.
Unlike the secondary search services listed above, which are all for-profit entities, MetaGer.org, shown in Figure D, is operated by a non-profit organization based in Germany. Like other secondary search services, it draws results from other sources, including Bing, Yahoo, Scopia and Infotiger. Not only may you switch any of these four sources on or off, MetaGer also lets you choose to exclude specific domains or subdomains from results.
Directly search a relevant site
Some answers may best be obtained directly from a relevant source. Answers historically found in an encyclopedia or an atlas, for example, might be resolved with a search of Wikipedia.org or OpenStreetMap.org. Most major search and mapping services rely on these sources.
While once commonly questioned, the general reliability of Wikipedia as a source, in particular, has been thoroughly considered and addressed. Similarly, questions you might ask a knowledgeable colleague may be answered with a query of Stack Exchange, Stack Overflow, Quora or Wikihow. Answers from these sites may need to be evaluated with appropriate caution and consideration.
WolframAlpha (Figure E) provides an interesting example of a specialized research engine. The system relies on a set of sources selected for accuracy. For example, if you ask the system to give you the human population on Mars, it returns the number zero, as you would expect. WolframAlpha excels at mathematics and science calculations and questions, along with answers that may be derived from established history and facts. Both free and paid editions of WolframAlpha are available.
Click More details under a device to learn more about it. This shows more information about this sign-in, which varies by device type. You’ll often see the date and time of the last activity, an estimated location, and the names of apps you used to sign in to a Google product.
Click Find device to see your device on a map (if it’s an Android). If it’s an iPhone/iPad or computer, you’ll just see an expanded list of activity times and dates on this page.
You may see devices on which you signed into Google a long time ago but haven’t used in a while. Don’t panic just yet—this can happen with Androids, as well as Chromebooks and other computers on which you use Google Backup and Sync. If you do see odd time and date stamps, locations you’ve never been to, or apps you don’t use, click Don’t recognize this device
Click Sign out to log out remotely. A confirmation screen will appear, asking if you’re sure you want to sign out.
Click Sign out to confirm. This logs you out of the device.
At this point, you may see another pop-up window letting you know that if you installed apps on that device that could access your Google account, those apps may still be able to use your account. Click Manage app access if you want to revoke an app’s access to your Google account. When you’re finished, click OK to close the window.
Sign out of other devices.
Although there’s no way to log out everywhere at once, you can quickly click each logged-in device and click its Sign out button.
If you don’t need to find out more information about a device, just click the three dots at the top-right corner of a device in the list and select Sign out.