Search engines are a fantastic invention. They filter information, retrieve data, and help us find what we’re looking for on an incredibly varied range of subjects. However, not all search engines are created equal. Every search tool out there delivers a different experience, and depending what you’re looking for, it might not always be pleasant.
Here are eleven search engines you can trust to deliver a quality experience. They are fast, easy to use, and deliver consistently relevant results, but there’s more to a pleasing user experience:
- Relevant results: What you’re looking for is delivered with relevancy and consistency.
- Great user experience: Stress and frustration are not part of the equation here. When you look for something using these search engines, you’re able to do so with a minimum of fuss.
- A little bit extra: It’s not enough anymore to just get relevant results. Users are looking for access to information, but privacy concerns are also becoming increasingly important, as well as quick answers that offer new scopes of information that they can take advantage of.
Compiled from market research and suggestions from readers, here are the most popular search engines online.
First on this list of the world’s most popular search engines is the one that is most familiar to us – Google. After all, any search engine that has its own vocabulary (ever heard of “just Google it”?) is bound to be on most Web searchers’ short list of useful web search tools. Google is the world’s most popular search engine and processes millions of searches every single day all over the globe. Whether you’re looking to dive into advanced search or you’re just getting started, you’ll find this search tool one of the most versatile, accurate, and just plain handy resources you’ll ever come across online.
It is estimated that over 900 million people are registered users of Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site. Facebook isn’t technically billed as a search engine, but try telling its millions of users that; more people look for information from friends, family, and pages within this community than nearly anywhere else online.
You could argue that LinkedIn isn’t technically a search engine, and you’d be (mostly) right. However, looking at LinkedIn from another point of view, it most definitely is a niche search tool that delivers peer-reviewed job search results, as well as network groups and professional connections.
If you’ve ever watched a video online, it’s a likely bet that you’ve visited YouTube, the world’s largest, most popular video search site. Hundreds of thousands of videos—sports, movie trailers, cats doing things—are uploaded to the site every hour.
Short bursts of information, millions of times an hour? That’s Twitter, a firehose of communication that millions of people use every day to impart information and connect with other people. You can find all sorts of interesting information here or via various Twitter search engines, all of it up to the second with the latest data on anything from college basketball to a presidential election.
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites in the history of the Web and that’s saying something considering the other tools included on this list. Millions of people, mostly female, have created online scrapbooks of their favorite images that are then searchable by other Pinterest users. This popular site is a valuable resource for anyone looking to get creative, inspired, or a little bit of both.
Pinterest is a fantastic way to search within curated collections of content, anything from infographics to recipes to tutorials to funny pictures. All of these collections, or “boards,” are put together by Pinterest users, who find content from all over the Web making it available for searchers to find more easily.
Bing is one of the younger search engines on this list, but it’s definitely making up for lost time with the impressive power of Microsoft behind it. Bing offers a straightforward search experience with real-time accents; their goal is to answer your search queries with the most relevant, up-to-date information.
Bing quietly continues to innovate, delivering quick, relevant answers to the majority of queries, as well as intuitive search additions, like most popular searches trending by hour, the ability to instantly access your search history, connect your Bing searches with social platforms, and an extensive advanced search page that gives users the ability to focus their search even further.
Technically, Wolfram Alpha is not a search engine in the most traditional sense of the term; it’s more like your own private supercharged calculator that can not only figure out numerical queries but all sorts of interesting questions, like “what is the elevation of Denver” or “why is the sky blue” or “tell me about Buenos Aires.”
Wolfram Alpha bills itself as a “computational engine”, which basically means that whatever fact-based query you throw at it, it’s most likely going to come up with an answer. Need the calculation for that complicated math problem? How about statistics for every country in the world, conversion tables, or information on a chemical element? You can do all this and much more.
Duck Duck Go
Duck Duck Go, an oddly named search engine, has gained quite a bit of popularity because of its policy of not tracking what users are looking for, making it possible to keep your searches as private as possible (see Ten Ways to Protect Your Web Privacy for more on this important issue). Their search results aren’t too shabby either.
USA.gov is the U.S. government’s online portal to everything publicly available on the Web. It’s an amazingly useful resource, offering instant access to anything from the Library of Congress to the latest employment statistics.
USA.gov is where you’ll want to go for anything to do with U.S. government information. Popular topics here include how to obtain a federal career, an A-Z list of agencies (with links), grants, benefit information, even how to change your address. USA.gov is one of the most useful search engines on the Web, and part of what we consider one of the Top Twenty Essential U.S. Government Websites online.