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In today’s world, where access to information is at our fingertips, search engines have become an integral part of everyday life. They help us find answers to our questions, products, services, entertainment and much more. There are really many search engines, and they all differ from each other to some extent, offering different values to the user. Each of us knows what Google is. We are also hearing more and more about Bing. These two search engines are the most common choice of users. What are their advantages and disadvantages? What alternatives does the market offer? You will read about it in the article.
What is a web search engine?
As a matter of chronicling duty, it is necessary to recall the definition of an Internet search engine. It is an online tool or service that allows users to search for information on the World Wide Web (that is, all over the Internet). The main purpose of search engines is to help users find relevant websites or online documents that are related to a specific query or keyword that they enter into the search engine. In addition to finding the content of a user’s queries among millions of web pages, the search engine also does the positioning, sorting the results or filtering the results. Most search engines also allow paid advertisements to be placed in them.
How many search engines are there? A handful of statistics
In fact, we can’t really count them all. Every week new ones appear, which gather only a few users. The most popular search engines, however, are six, with Google occupying more than 90% of the global market (almost 94% in Poland). The others that stand out are:
- Bing (about 3% of the global market, similar in Poland);
- YANDEX (about 1.8% worldwide, less than 1% in Poland);
- Yahoo (1.2% worldwide and 0.5% in Poland);
- DuckDuckGo (about 0.6% of users worldwide, twice as many in Poland);
- Baidu (1% worldwide, less than 0.1% in Poland);
Google’s lead over its competitors is huge, and it doesn’t look like the leader will be caught up anytime soon. It might have seemed that the trend of artificial intelligence gaining popularity would positively affect the number of users of Microsoft’s search engine, but nothing of the sort has happened. Admittedly, the percentages fluctuate between different periods, but the trend is not clearly increasing or decreasing.
Disadvantages and advantages of search engines
As I mentioned earlier, search engines vary more or less. Their main function is to scour the Internet for the most relevant results. However, what are their individual characteristics?
You have to give the king what’s royal and name it first. The corporation celebrated its 25th birthday this year, and its search engine has been at the top since its inception. For as long as I can remember, in many homes it was the google.com domain that was set as the homepage of Internet browsers, whether it was still the then-popular Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. In addition to being the most popular search engine, Google is also one of the most important advertising platforms in the world. Hundreds of millions of ads reach users every day, and Google charges them to click on them. The algorithms are already so trained that reaching the most specialized audience is not a problem.
Google’s search network also includes other platforms, such as YouTube. This allows users to view search results in the form of videos, after typing a phrase into the search engine.
The main drawback of Google is the potentially excessive amount of information about users that the corporation collects. It’s fair to say that Google knows more about us than we’d like it to. On the one hand, this is worrisome, but on the other hand it allows the search engine to better and more accurately present search results and target ads
It is also worth noting the monopoly in the market that has already been highlighted. User habits are hard to change and a revolution would have to happen for Google to stop dominating the market. This results in a high barrier to entry for new search engines, making developers prefer to focus on other projects.
For the moment, we must be left with what we have, and Google seems to be a very good solution.
Bing is a major competitor to Google when it comes to search engines. Microsoft’s product has had two peaks of popularity recently – the first when advertisements on this search engine were coming in, and the second when it made headlines around artificial intelligence and GPT Chat, elements of which Microsoft implemented into its services. Neither of these peaks turned into further growth. The main advantage of Bing Ads (Microsoft Ads), the lower cost per click, proved to be temporary, and Google quickly caught up with Bing with AI solutions.
The main advantages of Bing are displaying different search results than Google (sometimes more relevant, sometimes not…) and integration with Microsoft software. The first attribute can be debated, but the second is a noticeable advantage, especially if you only use the environment from under the sign of Bill Gates.
Bing’s integration with Microsoft’s software is also a major advantage.
Disadvantages? A much smaller number of users and the perception of being a less innovative search engine than Google. It is often set as the homepage of the Microsoft Edge (Internet Explorer) browser, making it equated with something backward and undeveloped.
The disadvantages include the fact that it is not a search engine.
With more than 30 times fewer users compared to Google, it’s hard to believe that it is the second most popular search engine in the world. This just goes to show how big a monopolist Google is and how far other search engines are left behind.
The fact that Google is the second most popular search engine in the world is a major indicator of just how far behind it is.
To say something about this search engine, we need to head east. Yandex is a Russian technology company, one of whose products is an Internet search engine. Not surprisingly, in Russia alone it is the most popular search engine (it occupies more than 63% of the market, with Google in second place with 36%). Yandex is to the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States what Google is to the countries of Western culture. In addition to a search engine, it offers, among other things, email, cloud computing or fiscal services.
Yandex is particularly strong in providing local knowledge and services in the Russian-speaking region. This means that it offers accurate information about places, navigation, news and content tailored to a specific region.
Similar to Google or Bing, here you will find an advertising platform that allows you to advertise products or services. However, it is not a good choice if you do not operate in Russia, as the search engine’s reach is severely limited.
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Yahoo, or rather Yahoo Search, is, in my opinion, one of the relics of the past that has remained on the market for too long. It used to be a major player in the search engine market, when Yahoo was the default search engine on phones (still with a keyboard!) in the early 2000s. Since then, the search engine has stopped growing and has been overtaken technologically by competitors. In 2009. Yahoo controlled about 5% of the market, currently it is about 1% and still declining.
For today, Yahoo offers no advantage over Google or Bing, except perhaps for integration with Yahoo systems, which a negligible portion of Internet users use anyway. Instead, it has a lot of flaws and shortcomings, such as much less complex search algorithms, lack of innovation or limited privacy protection.
Although Yahoo is still available, I see no reason to use it. The market offers more interesting and effective search engines than the backward-looking Yahoo.
The market is not a good one.
Of all the search engines described, this one seems to be the most distinctive. Every one I’ve mentioned collects user data in some way. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, boasts that it places special emphasis on protecting the privacy of its users, who are fully anonymous within it. By the fact that no data is collected, it is impossible to determine the exact number of users of the search engine. However, statistics say that the number of search queries is about 100 million per day.
What is also unique about the search engine is that it is built on open source, so more advanced users can trace the code of the service.
With more and more data being collected by other search engines, DuckDuckGo has begun to gain popularity. Users who don’t want to be invigilated by Google, for example, are more likely to turn to a search engine signed by a duck with a bow tie.
The search engine is also becoming more popular.
Here we have a situation similar to that of Yandex, but it involves the Chinese market. Baidu accounts for 64% of the search engine market in the Middle Kingdom. By comparison, the Chinese-language version of Google is used by only 31% of users there.
Like Google, Baidu offers other services such as an online encyclopedia, email and social networking.
Unlike DuckDuckGo, the search engine collects masses of user data, and its user privacy policies are opaque. In addition, Baidu is subject to Chinese censorship, making some of the information it finds untrue and dependent on the government. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s difficult to use outside China, especially if you don’t speak Chinese.
Which search engine to choose?
In fact, the choice is only apparent and all paths will sooner or later lead us to Google. If we are able to reject convenience and innovation in favor of greater privacy, then I recommend DuckDuckGo. If, on the other hand, we want to have everything at our fingertips and not get tired while browsing the Internet, then the choice should fall on Google or Bing. Yandex, Baidu and Yahoo, in my opinion, are to be deleted. The first two due to location and cultural limitations, and Yahoo by its outdated architecture and backward algorithms.
Hi! I have been involved in internet marketing for almost two years. I click on the computer and spend money that is not my own in such a way that it is most profitable for the owner of that money :) Despite a relatively short presence in the marketing industry, I have dealt with the largest Polish e-commerce companies. At UpMore I am responsible for managing projects including: in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Apple Search Ads.