It’s weird how the Internet evolved backward. We started out settling it a domain at a time. Everybody had their own little web hamlet, their own home page. Every company started their own little site and online commerce portals. There were millions of sites to go discover, each of them a rabbit hole promising boundless novelty. Funny novelty sites popped up. Everybody was happy.
Then, something happened. A handful of websites grew to become Internet monopolies. We went from a galaxy of options down to a handful. Nobody linked to anything anymore, they just stayed on one social network all day. For most users, their world is Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter.
The problem with only using one search engine all your life is that you never get to see most of the Internet. Targeted ads, biased search results, censorship of anything the sponsors deem inappropriate, these all shape your reality. To shake yourself out of this rut, take a look at some of the sites that can show you a different side of the web:
Yahoo is a full directory, network, portal, and search engine which predates Google by a few years. It takes a refreshing approach to web searching, by using a portfolio of directories that extend to the many sub-properties Yahoo owns. Worldwide, Yahoo is fairly popular, considering its an old web veteran that survived the Dot-Com Bubble of the 1990s.
Gibiru has one impressive feature: It doesn’t censor the results it returns from search queries. Use https://gibiru.com/ long enough, and you’ll be surprised at the huge chunk of the web you’ve been missing. Online free speech advocates have been rallying to alternative engines like these. Keep in mind that it’s not just censorship for commercial purposes in the states that’s an issue, but mandated authoritarian censorship in various countries around the world.
DuckDuckGo is another search engine which was motivated by resistance to Google’s dominance. DuckDuckGo serves your results anonymously, with no tracking, targeted ads, or cookies. It’s a search aggregator, which compiles results from several other leading engines and then delivers the results without a corporate interest spying on you. Privacy advocates have likewise rallied to DuckDuckGo.
Another veteran of the early web, HotBot is a descendant from the original DMOZ, LookSmart, and Teoma search indexes. HotBot has a safety-first approach to search returns, checking results for potential threats like malware and spam before serving the answers to your query. HotBot is one of many general-purpose search engines which have quietly thrived in the back corners of the web, while behemoths like Google have taken center stage.
While we’re talking about privacy, nobody is more invested in privacy that somebody searching for adult topics. https://hot.com goes that step further, returning only search results from adult media, dating profiles, adult services, adult games, and so on. It’s like having a whole site that’s an incognito tab for the kind of content you were going to keep to yourself (or your immediate consenting partner) anyway.
Dogpile is a meta-search engine, which aggregates indexes from the other top search engines and serves their results filtered through a ranking algorithm, which eliminates duplicates. https://www.dogpile.com is also a veteran Dot Com Bubble survivor, having been around since 1996. They’ve undergone some tweaks and improvements to the engine since then, but mostly they’ve been waiting for the Google age to wind down.
Our perspective is shaped by the media choices we consume. It’s time we recognized that sites like Google and Facebook are media content producers as well, shaping our view of the world whether we know it or not.