Having previously only used Google and Yahoo I was interested when set the task of comparing Google with two search engines I hadn’t heard of, DuckDuckGo and Instagrok, my main intrigue was trying to figure out a point of competitive advantage that a search engine could have, after all the only alternative to Google I had seen was Yahoo which is a lot like Google, in the sense that it’s exactly the same. So the idea of alternative search engines seemed a lot like alternative air or alternative water…. oh wait, that’s actually a thing, anyway you get my point. Below are my results when searching for the Melbourne International comedy festival.
Google as I am sure you are all aware ticks a lot of boxes. The results are seem to be organised in order of relevance and are segmented. Youtube and news results are filter into categories of their own making it easier to find if that is what you are looking for, and filtering them out of the result if it is now what you are looking for. Whilst it was not the case in this particular search, the one area where Google searches are less than ideal is when sponsored results appear at the top and side of the search as they can be a tad confusing or distracting.
DuckDuckGo by comparison was much more streamlined but less organised. Videos, images and news are not filtered out meaning that you have to sort for that information yourself. However a wikiepedia blurb appeared above the search results meaning if you wanted a shallow definition it was very easy to find. It was difficult to work out exactly how the results were ordered. In comparison to the Google result there was certainly more blogs and independent material high in the results, whereas Google had official pages, partners and websites of performers. DuckDuckGo offered search suggestions, which featured similar things that may be of interest. There are pro’s and con’s to the DuckDuckGo search engine, but it’s limitations means it’s hard to imagine myself using it. The main problem is if you ever wanted to search in depth you’d have to rifle through much more results than Google. The main positives being that it is much more streamlined and a simple definition or site maybe easier to find.
Lastly Instagrok was the most unique and therefore difficult to learn. The centrepiece of the blog is a big mind map with actual website links off too the side of that. These results are organised in an even more specific fashion then Google with different tabs for glossary and quizzes. This system is far to confusing and time confusing for a basic surface level search. After spending time clicking on the different graph headings it was pretty clear that Instagrok would be particularly useful when covering a dense and multifaceted topic. By using the graph headings you can find the results for a specific area of interest on a broad topic or quickly read the heading dot points on a each area. The information is organised in a way that would make finding exactly what you are interested in a bit easier.
From this exercise what has become apparent is that whilst it seems almost second nature to ‘Google‘ something when searching their are alternatives which maybe useful in specific circumstances, with that said Google’s one size fits all approach does the job most times and therefore I don’t see myself ever using DuckDuckGo (unless I am nostalgically longing to play duck duck goose) and only ever see myself using Instagrok in the even that a Google search is getting to convoluted.