Friday, December 31, 2004

Searching the Web without Google

This may come as a shock to many people, but pay attention: Google is not the only search engine. I repeat: Google is not the only search engine.
Yes people, there are other search engines (there are even others, but these are the top 3 - after Google). When I started using the Web, back in '97, AltaVista was the "standard" search engine. Everybody I knew was using it. Yahoo's search was powered by AltaVista, until they invested in Google and started using its search. MSN? I don't remember what it was, if at all.

Now, it's not that I don't like Google. And it's not that this 8-minute video-flash movie had such a great effect on me. There are two good reasons to use other search engines:
  • Having only one search engine is bad. I don't like a single company to control all information. Alternative engines will not exist if we don't use them.
  • Sometimes, the other engines have better results. For example, when I searched for a PDF of an academic paper, I couldn't find it with Google. But AV did find it. People (me included) sometimes think that if Google can't find something, it does not exist. This is not true.
I'm not saying we should abandon Google. Not at all. I like Google, as I said, and I like Blogger and Gmail. But it's good to know and use the alternatives as well.

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