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Google has been top of the pile for a number of years, with its market share only increasing thanks to its impressive analytical tools. It handles more than 60 per cent of global web queries, with the number nearer 90 per cent in western nations such as the USA, UK and most of northwestern Europe. That’s not all, though, as Google’s reach has also stretched as far as South Asia, the Middle East, South Africa and the South Pacific. It’s even become a verb, as ‘to Google’ is now widely understood as meaning ‘to search’.
What’s the world’s second-largest search engine? It may be a surprise to hear that it’s actually YouTube. The Google-owned video giant handles 1 billion unique users a month, who watch 6 billion hours of video. Figures from Nielsen show it reaches more young people than cable TV.
Widely touted as the best alternative to Google, Microsoft’s Bing may have started with the best of intentions, but it’s not had the smoothest ride. Whether it’s audience shares that pale in insignificance to its big competitor or accusations of copying search results, Bing has certainly struggled. Despite this, it still handles millions of searches every month and is touted by users as one of the most viable alternatives to Google. Not only that, its Arabic offering has also made it a popular choice in the UAE.
Currently an unknown quantity, Yahoo! is undergoing changes behind the scenes that could forever change its search offering. After the Microsoft partnership didn’t work out as planned, Yahoo! was rumoured to be covertly developing its own brand new search engine. Details are still scant, but it’s certainly one to watch over the coming years, especially in Japan and Taiwan, where it remains as popular as ever.
Whilst rarely used outside of its native China, Baidu is still one of the biggest global search engines. Ranked fifth in the Alexa Internet 500 top sites, Baidu has come a long way in the 14 years since its inception. Now it handles around 2 billion searches every quarter and, in doing so, became the first Chinese company to enter the NASDAQ-100 Index.
Similarly, Yandex may not be so widely known on these shores, but is certainly the Google of Russia, having been voted the country’s most popular website. Whilst enjoying a 60 per cent market share in its native land, Yandex is also commonplace in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey, among others. This isn’t to suggest it’s a rather local offering, though, as it attracts around 56 million users every year.
Whilst it first launched in 2008, it was 2013 before Duck Duck Go really found its audience. This is because it is a privacy-oriented search engine that protects users’ privacy by encrypting their searches – a popular option in light of Ed Snowden’s Prism revelations. Now, despite still only having a handful of employees (around 20), Duck Duck Go handles around 4 million searches every day.
Orange is, of course, a telecoms company – although this has meant it’s also a homepage people visit to search. Not only that, it’s one of the many such firms which have used older search engines to power its offering. In France, for example, where Orange is very popular, it uses historic search engine Voila.fr for its organic listings and Google for paid search.
Google uses many different ways to rank search engines, with countless quality indicators the likes of which no layman would be privy. One which Google is widely accepted to use is that of how long a person stays on a page. The view is that the longer this is, the better quality a page is for users. Blippex uses only this as a ranking tool. Whilst the results began rather erratically, they’ve since improved with more use.
This amazing technicolour search engine allows users to drill down into the exact results they want by using ‘slashtags’. These help filter results by encouraging the user to break up their query using slashes. Therefore, to find this exact article, a user may type in ‘search engines/blog/2014’, for example. The more slashtags, the more refined results are expected to be. Whilst aiming for a more relevant search offering than Google, it’s not managed to reach anywhere near its market share.