If you are not using Google, chances are the search engine you are using is probably powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.  This is because setting up a search engine that actively spiders the web to create it’s own index is expensive and a lot of work.  But Microsoft is willing to license out Bing search for a fee to just about anybody large and small.  This means that a lot of search engines from Yahoo to AOL use Bing as their primary web search source.

Don’t get me wrong, Bing is a good search engine but when you get to 15 or more Bing clones you start getting cross eyed trying to figure out what makes one different from both the others and Bing.

So this is my list of just a couple of the best search engines that use Bing in their primary index and what makes them special.

  1. DuckDuckGo – Bing and Yandex. Privacy, DDG does not track you nor even keep a record of your visit.  DDG is a meta-search engine that mainly uses Bing but also brings in answers from hundreds of other sources depending on the query.  For instance they use Apple maps for local searches and Wikipedia where relevant.  For most people, DDG is a good default search engine that will work great as a daily driver without spying on you.  DDG is one of my two default engines.
  2. MetaGer – Mainly Bing in English.  Privacy.  MetaGer is a metasearch engine owned by a German non-profit and they don’t track you or spy on you.  What is cool about MetaGer is they take privacy one step further, under each listing in the search results you will see a link to “OPEN ANONYMOUSLY” if you click on that MetaGer will try to open the site using an anonymous proxy!  This really adds a lot of value to the search results.  Journalists, those looking for sensitive information, people in authoritarian countries should make a note of this.  They also integrate Wikipedia into the search results in a minimalist way.
  3. SwissCows – Bing in English.  Privacy, based in Switzerland and protected by strict Swiss privacy laws, SC does not track you.  SwissCows bills itself as family friendly and therefore Safe Search cannot be set lower than the Moderate setting.  The combination of both privacy and family friendly search results makes SwissCows the perfect choice for a family or a kid’s computer or tablet or anything a child might use.
  4. Ecosia – Bing. Charity donation, in this instance planting trees all over the world every time you search.  Because of climate change fears, Ecosia has become a popular search engine.  It gives you the whole feature rich Bing search experience but links it to a good cause.  Privacy on Ecosia is sort of mid-range: better than if you were using Google, but Bing is still getting some of your information.
  5. Givero – Bing.  Charity donations.  Like Ecosia (above) searches done on Givero spur donations to charitable organizations, only you get to choose amongst seven different charities of an ecological, tech, child rescue or animal rescue missions.  Again, privacy is mid-range like Ecosia (above) but the charitable causes are good.

The list is for everyday users.  The best thing to do is figure out what is important to you (privacy or good causes) and give one of the likely search engines a try.  Not being tracked or spied upon is a good feeling.  Likewise, having your search activity contribute to good causes is a good feeling too.

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