What do we know about search engines?

Psst, there are other search engines out there…

What? There is something other than Google? But we all Google, it’s officially a verb! So what’s wrong with Google?

Certainly according to Danny Sullivan in his article analyzing the most popular search engines, Google is still by far the most popular search engine. But he notes that recently its share of unique searches has dropped to below %80.

http://searchengineland.com/google-worlds-most-popular-search-engine-148089

So what’s happening out there? Well a few things seem to be driven by the fact that Google searches are now personalised, so if two people do the same search on a topic they will get slightly different results as these results are driven by their previous useage. This is one factor that seems to be making Duck Duck Go increasingly popular.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=climate+change

This search engine doesn’t look all that different to good old Google but it does avoid the personalised searches, showing all users the same search results for any topic they search on. Another feature of this search engine is that it doesn’t give you everything, it gives you results from the best sources. For instance a search on climate change on Duck Duck Go came up with first, a link to the US Environmental Protection Agencies page on Climate Change and second an article from the Huffington Post. Google gave me Wikipedia first and an article from the Sydney Morning Herald second. Interesting as Duck Duck may giving me more authoritative sites but they are both from the US. Whereas Googles search uses its prior knowledge of me and gives me the SMH.

But there’s an even more interesting site, especially when I put on my hat of digital education multimedia project manager. This site is Instagrok. What a name! But this one is great, and it’s focused on education users. Here is the search outcome for climate change. It’s a bit hard to see here but it does a kind of mind map of topics such as carbon dioxide, warming, glaciers etc. And you can drill down into these. Great concept.

Instagrok search on climate change
Instagrok search on climate change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a link to a really good article on Instagrok.

http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/04/23/instagrok-research-search-engine-for-education/

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