Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Google just made a huge change to its search engine, which now favours results from Google+ along with regular search results. It’s called “Search Plus Your World.”Companies like Twitter are crying foul over the changes. They say it unfairly shifts focus away from other social media channels like Twitter and skews search results.
They might be right. Some retailers, like Gilt Groupe, are already finding it necessary to get on Google+ to make sure their search results remain relevant.
But what if you don’t want to be on Google+? Or you don’t want their social search results?
Well, don’t fret: if you aren’t a fan, there are plenty of alternatives for search engines. We’ve assembled a list for you:
Blekko was founded in 2010 in an attempt to index similar search results to Google, but excludes results from 'content farms' and other kinds of spammy websites. It uses a 'Wikipedia-style' policing mechanism to weed out sites from less-desirable websites.
You can narrow down your search results with 'slashtags,' which will index your search with some additional data from sites like Facebook. For example, you can add a slashtag for Likes, which will include sites that your friends have Liked on Facebook.
Infomine is good for digging through databases that include sources like electronic journals, books and online card catalogues.
If you need to dig up information for a research project or for a school paper, or anything along those lines, Infomine is a great place to start.
News always breaks first on Twitter.
If you're only interested in the newest bits of information -- and you don't need background, like links to Wikipedia -- just use the search engine built into Twitter.
You won't have to deal with extraneous links to sites and it will deliver you the most recent relevant Tweets and links related to whatever topic you're searching for.
The early version we've seen still looks pretty crude, but Bitly's search engine -- which uses the newest and most relevant stories as search results -- looks extremely promising.
It indexes social media sites like Twitter to get a sense of how popular and important a link to a website is, and then indexes search results using that as a ranking system.
You can bet it will look a lot cleaner than the image to the right, which is how it looks in its current form.
Wolfram Alpha will quickly deliver pure facts to you -- like maths solutions or census data.
For example, you can look up 'Cheeseburger,' and you'll get results like the nutritional facts about cheeseburgers and how important they are to your diet.
The amount of information Wolfram Alpha can dig up is pretty impressive, too. Try searching 'how many planes are flying above New York City.'
DuckDuckGo pulls its results from a bunch of sources, including crowd-sourced sites like Wikipedia and other search engines like Bing, to build a more complete profile for search results.
The idea is that the results will be most relevant to you because they're a composite of multiple search engine.
DuckDuckGo also touts the fact that it doesn't store information and doesn't try to 'trap' you in a filter bubble -- where the search results are so relevant to you that it's impossible to discover new information.
It's fast, it's powerful and it gets the job done. It's probably the best competitor to Bing and Google so far. DuckDuckGo feels a lot like an early version of Google.
Bing is the other largest search engine behind Google -- it has its own landing page and also powers all of Yahoo's search results. It's extremely powerful and also includes some social results.
It's also a gorgeous search engine.
If you aren't a fan of Google and you really can't stand using it, your best bet is going to be Bing.
But, in all reality...
There's a reason why Google owns more than half of the market share for search engines. It's probably the fastest search engine in the world and it finds you results that you didn't even realise you were seeking out. It's clean and the advertisements aren't all that intrusive.
Google is on top because it's awesome. Even with the changes to Search, you are still probably best off using Google. Plus, you can turn the Search Plus Your World option off. Unless it's some kind of a moral position, stick with Google.
Formerly relevant rapper MC Hammer debuted his own deep web search engine called WIREDoo at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco last year.
It's another search engine designed to index websites for important data, like census data, and deliver it in easily digestable chunks.