Google is probably the most widely used search engine. However, many on /g/ fear that Google is a botnet, mainly due to the data harvesting the Chrome browser and Google search engine utilizes. Despite this, Google is still one of the best search engines, mainly due to its reverse image search feature. Other reverse image search engines such as TinyEye pale in comparison to Google's.
Criticism for Google falls under the following main categories:
- Censorship of results
- Google has often adopted positions which have pissed off /g/entoomen. These range from pushing down search results which link to sites which have received DMCA notices, to making the SafeSearch mandatory to all image searches.
- Tailored results
- While many people think getting tailored search results is a wonderful thing, rms has this to say on the topic:
- "I find Google's argument, "The better to serve you with my dear," to be an insult to our intelligence." [Sauce]
- Privacy issues
- That Google tracks user searches and online behavior is no secret. What makes this worse is the fact that Google often shares this information with governments which request it. In Google's defence, it must be said that they usually follow the law, and do not comply with requests which do not meet the law. Please refer to the Google Transparency Report for more information.
- Besides, Google has often shown itself to be opposed to online anonymity, and privacy in general. Its CEO Eric Schmidt has had plenty of controversial statements in the past. One example:
- "I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that, that information could be made available to the authorities" - when asked whether people should treat Google like a trusted friend.
DuckDuckGo is the go-to search engine for people fearing for their privacy from larger engines such as Google. It is preferred by some people because it respects your freedom, meaning it doesn't track your search history and doesn't bubble you for personalized searches and advertisements. DDG, as fans often call it, also has very cool search features - called Goodies - like math, programming, music, cryptography among others. DuckDuckGo can however be difficult to find results for slightly obscure keywords.
Another reason anons like DDG is that it has ads on 4chan which help support the cash-strapped website.
Bing is generally considered to be right on par with Google. Lately, however, anons have started preferring Bing over Google when Google started censoring adult content even for explicit search terms.
Startpage is not a new search engine into itself. Rather, it takes your search query, and returns anonymized Google search results. This way, you get Google search results, but Google doesn't get to know who you are. Startpage can also be combined with the Ixquick proxy. On the Startpage search results page, a 'View by Ixquick Proxy' option can be used to visit the search result with a proxy. Startpage has SSL and HTTPS add-ons for Mozilla Firefox.