Google Search Alternative IxQuick

Here’s an interesting search alternative for those who are frustrated with ad-heavy search results …

Ever since Google starting pumping up the results of their search engine with all kind of nonsense – read first and third party advertisement mainly but also other stuff like the unfair favoring of big brands – I have been looking for an alternative. And while I have found it in Bing, I have to admit that Bing is still not on pair with Google Search once the queries get complicated.

Bing does well if you search for single or dual-word phrases like Google Docs, Hacker News or Reddit, but once you start searching for longer phrases like how to turn off JavaScript in Thunderbird you will notice that the browser won’t provide you with the necessary information. Here are the top 5 results for Bing and Google for that search:

Bing

Microsoft seems to favor ehow, one particular download site and several other sites in their search engine. Quality of those results is usually not that good. The first ehow article for instance is outdated and not applicable anymore, the four remaining answers either are not about Thunderbird or not about JavaScript.

  • How to Enable JavaScript in Thunderbird
  • How do I turn tabs OFF in Thunderbird 3? – ANSWERED
  • How do i disable archiving in thunderbird 3.0? – Will come in …
  • In Internet Explorer, how do I enable or disable Java or JavaScript?
  • How to Turn on Javascript in a Mac

Google

Google’s results are better. The second result leads to the information that answers your query (JavaScript is no longer supported for mail and news in the browser, and thus does not need to be turned off anymore). In Google, two of the five results give you the answer for your query. That’s better than in Bing, but not optimal either, especially since the first result leads you into the wrong direction.

  • Thunderbird: how to disable javascript?
  • Thunderbird 3.0 – New Features and Changes
  • ZyTrax Security – Email Agent FAQs
  • How can I enable javascript in thunderbird 3?
  • ThunderBrowse – The browser for Thunderbird – FAQ
  • I have been testing other search engines, DuckDuckGo and Ixquick in particular, to find out if they provide better results than Bing or Google.

    Ixquick calls itself the world’s most private search engine. Unlike other search engines, IxQuick does not record user IP addresses or share personal data with third parties. A full page with privacy related information is available on the service’s website.

    ixquick

    I have used Ixquick for the last week as my main search engine. There are things that I like, and things that do not work out that well. IXquick, like Bing, provides solid results for short queries. If you are looking for a particular business, software or product, you usually find it in the top spot on the search results page.

    Results begin to deteriorate quickly if you add terms to the query. The first five results for the Thunderbird JavaScript query above for instance do not offer the information that you would need to get your question answered. The first result furthermore links to outdated information, just like they did on Bing (a different web property though).

    Results are not always that bad though, but they are often not that great either. I also noticed that Google’s results are not always that better for longer queries, but you find pages with the information you are looking for more often there.

    Back to Ixquick. Search results are always opened in new tabs instead of the same tab by default. It happened to me more than once that I clicked multiple times on a search result wondering why it would not open when in fact it was opened multiple times in new tabs in the browser. It takes some getting used to time but it is not really that bad.

    You can open any page with a proxy that is provided by the search engine itself. This can be handy if a website is blocked in your country.

    ixquick search results

    Do not get me wrong though, search results are not always that bad or that different from other search engines. A few things need improvement though:

    • When I’m looking for something product related, e.g. Swtor PVP, I expect the product developer site in the top 5 results.
    • When I’m searching for technology related things I expect recent information in the top 5 result if I do not add a version number to the product.
    • When I’m searching for a product or business, I expect it to be the number one result in the search results (you will notice that software searches sometimes list download portals in front of the developer site).

    All of this applies to Microsoft’s Bing search engine as well, and probably to the majority of other search engines out there. Google’s results are not really that much better or different, but the company somehow manages to often sneak in at least one result that you find your answer on.

    I’d still suggest you give Ixquick, Bing or DuckDuckGo a try to see if these search engines return satisfactory search results for you. I for one will now move on to DuckDuckGo for a week to see how it is holding up.

    Have you tried other search engines besides Google? Why do not you share your experience in the comments?

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