One Search Engine Per Week

I had a little time over the long weekend to reflect on things in the past, and one conversation which came to mind was a casual chat with an engineer at Yahoo7 I met at a party about a year ago. I can’t for the life of me remember his name, but I do remember our conversation.

Maybe it was bravado, maybe it was arrogance, and it certainly was alcohol induced, but I asked him point blank “You work at Yahoo7. Compared to Google, how do you personally find Y7’s search results?”. Not unlike me to put some fuel into the fire, I was kind of expecting him to defend his company, defend the search engine backing his company’s website, stomp his foot and slap me across the face with a glove………and he did (except for the glove).

The reason this moment stuck with me wasn’t because he launched into a tirade of fact vs fiction and MapReduce mumbo-jumbo, but because his answer was a brutally honest “Personally, I find the results on par and sometimes maybe a little less than Google, but the real test is in inviting you to try it”. The night went on, and i’m sure i stumbled into a taxi and got home safely, but I never really forgot his response.

Admittedly i’ve been putting it off for a while, and on occasion i’ve considered doing it but always found an excuse to stay within the comfort zone that Google provides. Well that changes this week as I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and drop Google for a few weeks as I try using a different search engine each week in my daily routine and see how it feels and whether all search engines really are so close that Google’s superiority of results is just perception.

Having looked at some statistics of search engine market share, the candidates up for testing in this very un-scientific assessment are:

This at least helps me weed out most of the smaller players and the engines of eras long since forgotten.

Where appropriate, i’ve tried to use locally branded variants of the website purely for my own benefit. I’ve thrown the Wolfram Alpha into the list because it generated significant interest in the blogosphere in the last 30 days to at least warrant a look once it’s released.

Starting this week, i’m going to try Live search. It’s set as my default search engine for Chrome and i’ll be consciously trying to use it over Google..

Wish me luck.

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