Switching away from GOOGLE - Web browser and search engine alternatives

Thanks! Share it with your friends!

You disliked this video. Thanks for the feedback!

Added by admin
4 Views
Google is pretty much embedded in all of our lives. I've grown more and more conscious about that over the last year, and I'd like to try something: de-googling most of my life.

As of now, I use a few Google services: Google Photos, Google Drive for document storage, Android on my Galaxy S8, Google Maps, Gmail, and obviously YouTube.

In this series, I'll try and find alternatives to these popular Google services, with a few conditions.

Let's start with web browsing !

Web browsers
There are quite a few browsers available on Linux, but almost every one of themr runs on Blink, Google's engine. Contributing to the hegemony of a single engine is obviously a choice I want to avoid, so choices are much reduced. In the end, the only credible choice out there with a strong engine is Firefox. It's free, open source, it renders webpages fast and while it's not exactly lightweight, is a bit less RAM hungry than Chrome. It supports account sync, a ton of extensions, and while it collects some technical data by default, you can turn that off in the settings.
Firefox is, in my opinion, the obvious choice for privacy-conscious Linux users. It has plenty of derivatives which add or remove features, any of these can also do the trick.

Web search
Google search is huge, and efficient. Its results are often on point, and it offers cards and info to help you get what you're looking for without opening any webpage. Replacing Google search is tougher than it seems.
I could find 2 alternatives that match my criteria, namely Duck Duck Go and Qwant.

Duck Duck go is the one I use right now. It's reliable, and search resultats are good. It also adds cards to display relevant information from wikipedia, as well as video miniatures, and mini-maps when you're looking for an adress. These maps are powered by Apple Maps, which is an odd choice, but since Apple is pretty much the only major hardware and services company that doesn't sell any user data to anyone, it's not that ridiculous. You can set another provider for itineraries, choosing from Apple Maps, OSM, Here, Google, or Bing Maps, if you find the default results are not to your linking.

It has powerful image search tools, though, with the ability to filter through type of image, including images which have a transparent background, as well as colors. It lacks the ability to specify an exact image size, and filters to look for images based on their license and rights, and I'd love for them to add these filters. They do allow to filter by region, which is a plus.

Duck Duck go also has "video" and "news" filters, and can display contextual filters as well. For example, looking up "Bitcoin" will add a currency converter to check out how much 1 bitcoin is worth.

Looks-wise, Duck Duck Go looks... bland. I know, its a search engine, and we d'ont really care how it looks, but I find the duck icon a bit cheesy, and the grey and orange colors are a bit dull. You can change the theme, though, with a few options in cluding a dark mode. If you really want to go further, you can change the font used, the colors of the various links, and even select to show or hide site icons in the results ! If you want to save these configurations, you can do so, by typing a passphrase that will allow you to download them on other devices, without using an account and giving away your email adress.


Qwant, on the other hand, is less well known. It's basically trying to give services to match Google's, but in keeping with the EU regulations, and with a privacy focused mind.

Qwant agregates date classified as news, social feeds, and regular old links on the same results page, and they obviously allow you to filter through News, Social, Images, Videos, and Shopping. Their image search tools are great, combining the best filters from Google and Duck Duck go.

Qwant looks very colorful, and bright, which I like, even though it can get distracting sometimes. Qwant also has a dark mode.

In the end, getting away from Google search can be done pretty easily. Whether you're more into Duck Duck Go or Qwant, it's mainly a matter of aesthetics, features are similar across the board, and even though results aren't exactly similar to Google search, I never felt like I was getting incoherent webpages, or useless results. It's still important to know that Qwant has its own indexation engine, and only uses some of Bing's results to complete searches where it doesn'ty have anything relevant to show. Duck Duck Go, on the other hand, is a meta-engine, and as such, uses results from its own engine and some reference websites, but also from Bing, Yandex, Yelp, and Yahoo. Qwant is not globally available yet, though, so you might not be able to access it, depending on where you live.

Follow me on Twitter : http://twitter.com/thelinuxEXP
Category
Start web designers

Post your comment

Comments

Be the first to comment