The Computer Corner

COMPUTERS

By Charles Miller

Man Need Not Search By Google Alone

To Google or not to Google. That is the question. The name Google.com has become ubiquitous and at the same time synonymous with searching online. Google.com is by far the way most Internet users find things online, so much so that I am sure there are some people who believe Google is the Internet. But for anyone who cares to learn about them, there are many alternatives to using Google for searching online.

In addition to the advertising giant Google, several other advertising-oriented companies offer search engines: Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL are the next four most popular online search engines. Then there are several search engines that offer the same search results you might get from Google, Bing, or Yahoo, but those others claim to not track your searches or online activities. The most popular among these alternative engines are DuckDuckGo, Ixquik, Lukol, and StartPage.

The search engines mentioned above all search the entire public Internet. There is yet another category of search engine that is narrowly focused on one area in order to eliminate all the useless and irrelevant hits you see every time you search the entire Internet. Among these specialized search engines are ones that search medical, legal, or public records, or other online resources.

Many companies have created their own search engines to search only their own site. Amazon has a search engine to search only those items available for sale on Amazon.com. The Internet Movie Database has its own search engine to search movies on imdb.com. YouTube has one to search for videos found on youtube.com. Wikipedia has its own search engine to search its online encyclopedia. Likewise, Facebook and Twitter have their own search engines.

Your choice of your favorite web browser software will have a lot to do with how easily you are able to use the search engines described above. Web browsers are Edge, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc. The world’s most popular web browser, Chrome, is made by Google, so surprise, surprise, Google does not make it easy for anyone to take advantage of using its competitors’ search engines. You may change the default search engine in Chrome, but Google does not make it easy to switch back and forth between its competitor’s search engines.

By contrast, my favorite browser, Mozilla Firefox, does make it extremely easy to search online using different search engines. Firefox users may add any search engines they wish to the program’s search window. When I am shopping, I click on the Amazon search engine icon, when looking for a movie on the IMDB icon, and so on.

The most important information for readers to take away from this column is that searching online is more than just Google. There are many alternatives, all of them different. One of them might be better suited for your personal needs than the search engine you are using now.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.

 

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