- Internet & the Web
Web Wars: Google vs. Bing + the Duck
Search is a battleground between two giant Internet companies
For the past decade, Google has been the top dog of search engines. No company, outside of Yahoo a dozen or so years ago, has been able to challenge it.
Despite Google's dominance Microsoft has decided to wage war with the company that's become synonymous with search.
Google's homepage exclusively focuses on search. This has rewarded it with close to 1 billion unduplicated users each month. Microsoft, which has been in the battle since 1998 with MSN Search, finally has a viable product in Bing that's gradually added market share.
That coupled with Yahoo now being powered by Bing, Microsoft is positioned to skirmish with Google for search engine gold. (If you don't believe that Yahoo searches are provided by BIng, enter your search terms in Yahoo, then scroll down to the bottom of the search page and in tiny type you'll see these words, "Powered by Bing.")
There were 20 billion Web searches in May 2013. Google was first with 13.4 billion. Bing was second with 3.5 billion searches (up 1 percent), followed by Yahoo with 2.4 billion, according to ComScore.com.
If you've been using one these three exclusively, let's take a look at each and also examine Duck Duck Go (DDG), an upstart that's carved out a corner of the search market. My review of DDG goes into greater detail than the others, because not many people are aware of this search engine that has attracted a slowly growing and loyal group of users.
► To many folks Google IS search; so much so it's now a verb
Google started in 1998; originally known as BackRub:
Google’s homepage has a search rectangle in the middle of a clean white page, sitting just below its logo. But don’t be fooled by this clean and simple appearance. While search engines have come and gone, Google is #1 because it’s quick and easy.
Google's homepage also has a black bar along the top, which lists various specialized categories such as: News, Google Images – the best on the web for locating pictures or illustrations and Google Maps with its incomparable and useful street views.
Google constantly has added other products, but its never forgotten it roots. Google now offers voice search on smartphones. This feature became so popular they added it to a search engine accessed via computers.
One of its unique features is Google Alerts. Sign-up for this free service and it monitors the web and sends you an email whenever a person, company or product is mentioned on a blog, in the news or elsewhere on the web.
► Bing covers its homepage with a new photo everyday
Bing started in 2009 and replaced Microsoft’s Live Search, formerly MSN:
Bing's homepage is distinctive, clean and uncluttered. Its background is a stunning nature photo or landscape picture that changes everyday. Specialized search links are listed along a top black bar. Along the bottom, Bing lists trending searches (usually several are breaking news stories). Bing also incorporates a Social Search feature that looks through recommendations made by your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and delivers more personalized search results.
Bing is continually gaining converts from former Google and Yahoo users.“Bing offers a different flavor in Web search,” says PC Mag.com, “but it seems a majority of people would rather stick to Coke than give Pepsi or Dr. Pepper a try."
On the aesthetics side, Bing’s spectacular photographs – that change daily – make for a great personal homepage. When you move your mouse pointer on the page, little gray squares appear. (Note the red circle in the screen capture above.)
Move you mouse into a gray square and a little fact box appears. Click on a fact box and Bing jumps to that search page. (It’s a great way to explore a new subject on the Web.) If you just want to find out about the picture in one sentence, then move your mouse over the Info oval in the bottom right. (Note in the screen capture above, the red arrow is pointing to it.)
(FYI: The Info oval says the image on the Bing screen capture is an octopus cyanea — also known as a big blue octopus — swimming in the waters off Hawaii.)
► Yahoo.com is so busy
Yahoo! started in 1994. It's been powered by Bing since 2010:
Yahoo! has a very busy three column homepage. Search is part of a visual cacophony of items: news, weather, horoscopes, an ad and more. Scroll down the page and it never seems to end. Once the top search engine, perhaps Yahoo’s chaotic presentation has turned off users. Its appearance reflects the company's desire to keep you on its sites.
► Is Duck Duck Go's search engine all its quacked up to be?
Duck Duck Go started in 2006; over 2.5 million searches per day in 2013:
I'm constantly reading about technology and learning about the latest trends and software tips. Earlier this year, I found an article that mentioned this upstart search engine. I've been using Duck Duck Go ever since (mixed with some searches on Google and Bing). I like it for searching and it has the added bonus of being packed with Goodies.
DuckDuckGo (DDG) finished 2nd in About.com’s 2013 Top Ten Search Engines. And ConsumerSearch.com considers DDG the 3rd best search engine, after Bing and Google. (ConsumerSearch is a great resource. It examines consumer reviews posted on reliable sites, analyzes them and recommends the best products.)
Instead of typing its full name, use: ddg.gg
At first blush, DuckDuckGo’s homepage looks like Google, all clean and white with a big search box in the center and a goofy duck logo.
However, when you examine the page closer, you’ll note a couple of phrases: "Search anonymously. Find instantly." The little duck does not track your searches like the big boys. And this fact has contributed to users wary of privacy concerns switching to DDG.
There are many other subtleties that make it different. Don't take my for word it, listen to what the computer experts say:
“DDG doesn’t offer Google’s 'Search History' feature, which logs all your searches and lets you revisit them — because it doesn’t collect personal information, period. There’s no way to sign into it, and nobody’s going to figure out who you are based on what you searched for. There’s some advertising, but it’s minimal," explains Harry McCraken, Time’s technology columnist.
“Duck Duck Go — which melds its own results with ones from Bing, Blekko, and other sources — is really good at bringing back useful sites. It all feels meaty and straightforward and filler-free…"
Why you need search engines
In 2012, there were 634 million active websites. That’s an increase of 51 million from 2011. Since each site has numerous pages, some computer experts figure the World Wide Web contains 1 trillion webpages!
How'd you like to go into a library with that many volumes and not have a catalog and its Dewey Decimal System ready to help you locate THE book?
A search engine's job is to sort through millions of websites to locate that gem of information you’re seeking. Each search engine automatically scans the Internet and makes a detailed index of each site.
When you type your search, the search engine uses an algorithm or series of calculations and matches the search terms you entered with data in its index. Most search engines’ algorithms include sites that pay to be ranked on the top.
ConsumerSearch reports, “DuckDuckGo offers users 'Zero Click' information, a box that attempts to answer search questions directly so users don't have to navigate to another page.
Tech writer Martin Brinkman also raves about the duck.
"What I really like about Duck Duck Go is its simplicity. It is what Google has been a long time ago, a search engine that concentrates on search, and not on shoving advertisement and Google service promotions down the user's throat, " he said in an article entitled, "Why I Switched to the Duck Duck Go Search Engine."
"I switched to Duck Duck Go about two weeks ago and have not looked back since," said Brinkman. "It is definitely an improvement over Bing. And while it may not be on par with Google, it is close enough to justify the switch. I can still switch to Google or Bing if I cannot find a solution or answer in the search engine."
Times' McCracken notes that DDG users are very loyal. "Whenever I write about search and don’t mention Duck Duck Go, I hear from its admirers. I haven’t abandoned Google for it myself. But every time I try it, I go away happy."
And if you try it you need to check out its Goodies.
Duck Duck Go is filled with tools it calls "Goodies"
Duck Duck Go comes packed with a bunch of tools or "Goodies" (e.g. calculators, metric to English conversion tools and a list of rhyming words).
To access these Goodies, click on More at the bottom right of DDG's homepage and in the pop-up menu select "Goodies." (See the screen capture of Duck Duck Go's homepage.)
When you click on this link you go to a page with three columns. In the first is a list of categories. The default is "Everyday Goodies." In the center are the various tools with “Calculations” on top. Listed first is a tip calculator. Click on it and the third column changes to “20% tip on $21.63” with the solution: “Tip: $4.33; Total: $25.96.” You can easily edit the percentage or the amount to suit your needs.
Explore the "Goodies," you're certain to find one or two you like. –TDowling
Where to find various "Goodies" in Duck Duck Go
Calculators- Basic & Tip
Calendar- Display a Month
Calories in Certain Foods
Days Between Two Dates, Number of
Days of the Week Throughout History
Fahrenheit to Celsius & Miles to Kilometers
Time & Weather