Can These 13 Search Engines Steal Google’s Crown?

No one company can take Google's crown, but these 13 could succeed with Death by a Thousand Cuts, each eroding a different part of Google's search dominance.

Read time: minutes

google, wolfram alpha, tineye, topsy, quora, duck duck go, kayak, bing, silkNo one company can take Google’s crown, but these 13 could succeed with Death by a Thousand Cuts, each eroding a different part of Google’s search dominance. Could these sites split the crown jewels between them?

Wolfram Alpha

  • Battleground: Computed Answers
  • What it does: Answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data. Allows users t upload their own data for analysis.
  • Why it’s important: Allows users to mix, create and visualize their own datasets with queried data, giving more power to the user. Siri currently makes up to 20% of all Wolfram Alpha queries.

Duck Duck Go

  • Battleground: Privacy
  • What it does: The search engine policy emphasises privacy and does not record user info. It uses info from crowd-sourced sites and its own web crawler to augment traditional results and improve relevance.
  • Why it’s important: With websites increasingly keeping user data, privacy is now very important.


  • Battleground: Niche Expertise
  • What it does: Penny Arcade’s Decide-o-tron 8000 app answers the age-old question of ‘what game should I play next?’
  • Why it’s important: It connects absolute experts in the gaming niche with people looking for trustworthy recommendations.


  • Battleground: Social
  • What it does: Provides access to Twitter in search results to bring together search and the people in your social network.
  • Why it’s important: Information is held in social networks that can make search real-time and more relevant.


  • Battleground: Future of Search
  • What it does: Allows content creators to provide their content in a structured manner. Users can view and arrange information in a way that makes sense to them — It also allows for data visualization.
  • Why it’s important: Connects the concepts of search with users curating personalized data driven websites.


  • Battleground: Academic Search
  • What it does: BASE is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines, especially for academic web resources.
  • Why it’s important: Discovers Academic web resources of the Deep Web, which are often ignored by commercial search engines.
  • Battleground: Image Search
  • What it does: TinEye is a reverse image search engine. Give it an image and it will tell you where the image appears on the web.
  • Why it’s important: TinEye are pushing the boundaries of image search, providing specialist image services via API.
  • Battleground: Deep Data & Data Presentation
  • What it does: Aggregates stats from leading sources of economic data, diving deep into data stores and presenting that data visually.
  • Why it’s important: Allows users to access data that is not found or presented by Google – allows journalists access to trustworthy data.
  • Battleground: Integrated Search
  • What it does: A travel metasearch engine that compares airline, car rental, cruise, and other vacation deals from other travel sites and fare aggregators.
  • Why it’s important: Combines search with money saving, allowing you to search hundreds of travel sites at once for the est deals, saving time and money.
  • Battleground: Social
  • What it does: Ingests, indexes and processes census-based, social content at a scale in realtime. It sorts content on Twitter and web by date.
  • Why it’s important: Real-time search for the social web lets businesses mine the social web and use social signals as a business tool.
  • Battleground: Spam
  • What it does: Provides search engine results culled from 3 billion trusted websites, excluding content farms. Also uses slashtags to provide common search results.
  • Why it’s important: Search prequalified websites mean people can trust the sites they get in their results pages.
  • Battleground: Questions & Answers
  • What it does: Aggregates questions and answers to topics and allows collaboration via editing and suggested editing to other users’ answers.
  • Why it’s important: Provide expert answers by adding social status and gamification, creating an in-depth and expert Q&A environment.
  • Battleground: The Dark Side
  • What it does: Allows users to search bit-torrent files that can be used to download content that may be pirated.
  • Why it’s important: Google is under pressure to serve legal results, but lots of users would still like access to the dark side of the web.
Which of these battlegrounds would cause you to leave Google?

Hannah Rampton

In the modern search market, where Google has for some years been the undisputed king of the internet, it’s easy to forget that there are alternatives out there. While Google, and to a lesser extent, Bing might dominate the general search stakes, there are alternative engines out there that, rather than trawling the entire web for the information you desire, are geared to more specific purposes. Whatever it is you’re looking for, chances are that, hiding out there in some dark corner of the ‘net’ is a site just for you. Are you helplessly struggling to decide which game you should play next? Trying to track down some solid academic data? Hoping to find the perfect image for your site? Just sick of the spam you still encounter in Google’s index? Then have no fear! Check out this infographic from Ladbrokes and explore the invaluable alternatives in search.

Reader Interactions


  1. amy swanson says

    Wow, I had no idea any of these sites existed before, well except for Bing and Kayak. Base would’ve been great to have when I was in school, sounds like a much better search engine than Google for academic research. Thanks so much for the list and inforgraphic, Hannah! This will certainly come in handy 🙂

Leave a Reply

If you liked this, you might like...