They say change is good, but I am not convinced. Google has been my go to search engine for at least the last 9 years, but what about before that? Way back in primary school I was using search engines like Yahoo, Dogpile and Ask Jeeves (for kids). I was also using cool programs like logo, but that’s beside the point.
So today, I’ll be comparing these three search engines and seeing what they’re like now. I’ll start with a relatively easy search term, “The Little Prince”. It’s been on my mind lately, so I thought I’d see what the Internet has to offer in regards to one of the books of my childhood.
Yahoo and Dogpile both brought me comparable results to Google (because of course, I couldn’t resist “Googling” it as well) but Ask Jeeves brought me some really whacked out results. First, I was surprised at the sponsored links at the top, they certainly weren’t there a decade ago (oh god, a whole decade, now I feel old). Then there were two relevant and useful links, all good, followed by eight, yes eight, links to Disney sites or toy stores. Clearly a search engine aimed at kids, unfortunately, not as good as it seemed to be a decade ago.
But wait, perhaps I’m being unfair. A decade ago I was using Ask Jeeves to do research for my projects, searching for terms like “What do koalas eat?” and “Where is krakatoa?”. So let’s try all three search engines with the question “Why do volcanoes erupt?” and see what happens…
Ah! All three search engines return useful links. The Ask Jeeves results were aimed more at kids with simpler explanations and more kid friendly websites. So, much better this time round, however they still had the sponsored results at the top and bottom of the search results. Dogpile had a long list of sponsored results at the top it it’s page, but that’s because they’re a combination of Google promoted results and Yahoo promoted results (Dogpile uses a combination search, drawing on results from Google, Yahoo, Yandex and Bing). Yahoo on the other hand had no promoted results for this search querie, but did have an ad for itself at the bottom of the results claiming to be “promotional results” when really it was totally unrelated.
Okay, but let’s get rational here. I don’t really need to know why volcanoes erupt these days, I mean, I’m studying at university for goodness sake. I need to know things like how citizen journalism has affected Malaysia. So let’s try searching “How has citizen journalism affected Malaysian media?” and see what we get.
Right. Ask Jeeves has returned not one useful or relevant link. At all. But Yahoo and Dogpile? Both have plenty of relevant links, both are nicely laid out, easy to navigate, and come with categories up the top to sort results. Dogpile has two main advantages at the moment, the first being it’s suggested searches on the side and the second being the cute dog who I presume is the one doing the fetching every time I click “fetch”. Wait, I lied. It has three advantages. The third is it’s ability to pull results from Google and Yahoo as well as Bing and Yandex. This means it gets a good mix of results and beside each result it tells you where it was found (for example, exclusively on one search engine or on many).
So out of these three search engines, my favourite is Dogpile. Of course, I could set it as my homepage (except I don’t actually have or use a homepage) or I could set it as my default search engine with my web browser, but I’m still way too attached to Google to do that. Instead, I’m going to add it to my bookmarks bar and use it next time I’m tempted to click to the second page of results on Google. Because, I mean, who does that?