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What could replace Google Search in Australia?

Jessica Yun
·4-min read
A person holds an iphone showing the apps for search engines Bing and Google Chrome. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday January 3, 2020. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Bing isn't the only alternative to Google Search, if the latter pulls out of Australia. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)

Microsoft’s answer to Google Search, Bing, is waiting in the wings should Google decide to pull Search from the Australian market.

Google’s search engine indisputably dominates the Australian market, with 93 per cent of our country’s market share, but its competitors are poised to step in should Google follow through with the threat to exit the Australian market.

Asked by Sky News on Monday whether he believed Google would pull the plug, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “I tell you, Microsoft would be pretty happy if they did.”

“Talking to [Micorsoft CEO] Satya [Nadella] who runs Microsoft, Bing would go off,” he added.

But it’s not the only other search engine available to Aussies: here are some alternatives to Google Search.

Bing

Search engine Microsoft Bing.(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
Search engine Microsoft Bing.(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
  • URL: bing.com

Bing is the world’s second most-used search engine at 8.04 per cent, according to Oberlo, receiving 1.3 billion visits a month.

It’s official name is actually ‘Microsoft Bing’, and it has roots in the tech giant’s previous search engine iterations, such as MSN Search, Windows Live Search and Live Search.

Bing launched on 28 May 2009, unveiled by then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The interface looks a lot like Google’s, though it features images and news on the search page rather than Google’s blank white page.

Like Google, there are tabs for ‘News’, ‘Images’, ‘Video’ and ‘Maps’ that you can hit to filter your search.

DuckDuckGo

Search engine DuckDuckGo. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
Search engine DuckDuckGo. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
  • URL: https://duckduckgo.com/

DuckDuckGo has been emerging as a popular alternative to Google as it emphasises users’ privacy.

It was founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg and is based in Pennsylvania, USA.

DuckDuckGo promises not to store, collect or share user information or IP addresses – “ever”, and doesn’t profile you or tailor search results to the user.

There’s no search history with DuckDuckGo, which allows you to avoid the “filter bubble of manipulated results”. “DuckDuckGo search gives you truly private search results without tradeoffs in result quality,” its website states.

Because it doesn’t track users, the search engine doesn’t actually know how many users it has, but estimates – based on the number of searches it gets per month – that it has over 50 million users.

Yahoo!

(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
  • URL: search.yahoo.com

Launched 25 years ago in 1995, Yahoo! Search actually predates Google’s popular search engine, which launched in 1997.

It stands as the world’s fourth-largest search engine with 3.39 per cent of global market share, according to Oberlo.

The search page shows topical search items, and its background image changes every time you visit the site.

The engine is also integrated with Yahoo’s other features, such as news, mail, stocks, weather, and sports.

Yahoo’s searches have been powered by Bing since 2019, according to PMG.com.

Ecosia

BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 22: In this photo illustration the logo of search engine Ecosia is displayed on a smartphone on October 22, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Ecosia donates 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations that focus on reforestation (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
Ecosia is displayed on a smartphone on October 22, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
  • URL: https://www.ecosia.org/

For those who are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to Google, Ecosia.org is the answer.

According to FullFact.org, a single Google search could power a low-energy light bulb for 108 seconds. But searches through Ecosia give back to the planet: the platform, which generates income from search ads, plants trees with at least 80 per cent of its profit.

It was founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll and is based in Berlin, Germany. It describes itself as a social business and is CO2-negative. At the time of publishing, nearly 119 million trees have been planted due to Ecosia users, of which there are over 15 million.

Ecosia also aims to protect user privacy by anonymising all searches within a week; refusing to sell search data to advertising companies; encrypting searches; and not using external tracking tools.

The search engine uses results provided by Bing, as well as its own algorithms.

An Australia-owned option?

Instead of Bing, The Greens are instead calling for a publicly owned search engine based here in Australia, The Guardian reported.

This hypothetical search engine would also come with strong privacy protections that allow Australians to own their own data.

But there aren’t a lot of details about this, so stay tuned on this one; Yahoo Finance has reached out to The Greens for further comment.

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