I know this seems a strange subject for an RV blog, but it addresses the common problem among RVers of spotty Internet. Whether from weak Wifi, weak cell signals, or whatever, our Internet service can regularly be slow and iffy. So, when we’re searching the Internet, we need a search engine that is quick, efficient, and gives us good search results.
While this post doesn’t focus on privacy, it seems to me that search engines that stress privacy are generally quicker at getting results. And, the aggressive installing of trackers and cookies, by some search engines, can also slow down our devices and make our problems even worse.
So, here are my reviews of some of the more popular search engines, and my rankings from worst to best.
DISCLAIMER: All views expressed here are my personal opinion which, much like yours, may be based more on gut feelings than on truth and facts. My views are also subject to change without notice.
Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and I would say it’s probably the most privacy-invasive one. Apparently, they collect any and every bit of your personal information they can get ahold of, to basically sell it to advertisers. According to Google, all of this data collection is done for the benefit of us users, you know, to better serve us. And, really, are they benefited in any way by their zillions of dollars earned through targeted ads? In my opinion, Google just doesn’t offer any advantages over many of the other search engines. Personally, my old computer simply cannot handle anything Google or Chrome (or any other Chromium-based browsers), and freezes up.
Update- I recently got a new Android (google) phone, and never used it once, but within 2 days, it had used up all my data, seemingly due to several google apps which were apparently communicating with google behind the scenes. I have now spent 3 days trying to de-google the phone. I think you definitely should avoid anything Google when using spotty or weak Internet, or with limited data (or if you have half a brain).
Bing appears to be almost as invasive as Google in their data collection for, you guessed it, better serving you. Bing does seem to offer more relevant search results than does Google, but then maybe Bing just knows more about you than Google does. Bing also seems slower than Google and seems to have more ads.
If you use Yahoo, you’re basically using Bing. Since they use Bing search results, supposedly with their own added politically-biased filters, they should maybe be ranked lower than Bing. It also seemed deceitful the way they displayed ads that looked like search results.
DuckDuckGo used to be a very good search engine, and I used it quite a bit, but has now become pretty much worthless in my opinion. In 2022, they announced they would begin censoring views they proclaimed as “misinformation”. In my opinion, biased search results are simply not good search results. And, I think search results should be relevant to me, not to some corporation’s political views. DuckDuckGo appears now to be pretty much controlled by Bing, and their search results seem to be turning into little more than an ad platform for Amazon and Wikipedia.
Startpage is another search engine that I used to use quite a bit. It queries Google, so you get Google results without aggressive privacy invasion. But, Startpage has been acquired by an American advertising company, which apparently sells targeted advertising based on obtained personal data. This may suggest an end to both privacy and censorship-free search results.
Mojeek is a decent search engine, but it seems a lot like Google, in that it offers a couple of good search results, and a lot of random ones.
Info is a good search engine. It’s quick and efficient. But, the print they use is hard to read. It is also owned by the advertising company that owns (or partially owns) Startpage.
I’ve tried the Brave browser, but the Chromium-based browser would freeze up my computer. I’ve also tried the Brave search engine, using another browser, and while it seemed a little slow, it offers good search results. Brave also emphasizes privacy.
Swisscows is a good search engine. It is quick and efficient. It is based in Switzerland and focuses on privacy and family friendly search results. I would add that European-based search engines are bound by privacy laws, while those based in America are basically free to collect and sell all your personal information.
While Bing is the second most popular search engine in the US, Yandex is apparently the second most popular search engine in the world. It is a Russian search engine and does censor some search results, not for political views, but for reasons of morality and family safety (mud in your eye, America). It seems to offer better search results than some of the others, but it seems to get confused and some of the results are in Russian, which makes the results less relevant. What I like about Yandex is that it offers search results that are censored out by most of the politically-biased American search engines, meaning- if I’m searching for the truth I use Yandex.
Dogpile started out as a pretty good search engine, even rivaling Google, but fell behind the competition. Today they climbing back to the top. Dogpile is a meta-search engine that searches search engines. I use Dogpile regularly, and it is the only US-based search engine I would actually recommend. If you are concerned about privacy, however, Dogpile is apparently also owned by the advertising company that controls Startpage and Info, and their privacy page clearly says they collect personal information.
Quant is a good search engine. It’s based in France, and stresses privacy and anonymity. It’s one of the best search engines I’ve found. It apparently gets its results from Bing, so if you like Bing but want to avoid their privacy invasion, use Quant.