Yes I took the challenge to Go Without Google For a Day and survived to tell the tale. This is definitely a task to only undertake if you are not under pressure, meeting deadlines or very busy. You need time to learn your way around using the different search engines. I took the easy option and downloaded Alt Search Engines list of 100 alternative search engines and used their top recommendations.
First I tried Kartoo this was quiet fun as it displays your results as graphical pages on a map. You can move your cursor over the results and see where and how they may link to other pages. It also gives you a list of keywords that you can use to define your search. You can Select the language of your search but not specifically your country – No Australian specific search.
Next I tried Quintura well I must be thick or needed coffee but I got thoroughly confused and gave up. 50matches is a Social Powered Search and they “only crawl web sites that were bookmarked or voted for by people, in sites like del.icio.us, digg and reddit.” Well I hope they don’t crawl my del.icio.us account as I know how unorganised and very badly tagged my things. No hope from my account of finding what you may be looking for – enough said. I also gave BlogDigger a go but when the results show Adds by Google and the results are presented looking very much like Google I wonder what their search engine is powered by?
I found a PC Magazine article called 11 Ways to Search without Google and tried a couple of their suggestions. One was Cha Cha where my searches for things like “Compact Framework Programming”, “VB.Net PPC” and “Mobile Developers” turned up some different results to what I get from Google. They also suggested StumbleUpon but this required a download of their toolbar and that was a hassle. When I want to use a search engine I want it to be a quick and painless activity,I want information and I want it now. I don’t want the hassle of downloading something before I can even start!
So I tried several different search engines and found sites like downloadsquad that I hadn’t found before when using the same phrases on Google. I found it interesting to try different search engine and did find the information I was looking for in my searches, but also had to make a conscious effort not to use Google for finding information. I think that we have been using Google for so long now it has just become a way of life. I do find myself talking about “googling things” and have even said this to my students.
I may continue to use some of these alternatives if Google doesn’t return what I want and when helping my daughter with school projects, they may help to return different results to what her class mates or teachers will get!
BUT I use Google for so much more than just searches
- It is my customised home page
- At a glance I can read my horoscope
- It tells me the latest news
- I can time my work
- I can place sticky notes and reminders.
- I love the fact that I can read the latest feeds from blogs I have subscribed to without going to another page
- I can get my gmail easily
- I can search my del.icio.us account
- I can easily add new feeds
- I can search Wikipedia
And if I get sick of seeing all those things I can get rid of them or not sign in and then have a clean white fresh page that I can just use as a search engine.
So I have to now stand up and admit
I am a Googleholic and I don’t care