12 Best & Most Unique Search Engines to Try in 2023

Although Google is by far the most popular search engine, it’s certainly not the only search engine.

Different search engines have different audience demographics. And different pros and cons. 

In this article, we’ll explore those differences. Read on for a comprehensive list of search engines and their most unique features. 

1. Google

  • Domain: google.com
  • What makes it unique: the best search engine (in terms of popularity)
  • What it looks like:
Google search engine

Google is the world’s most popular search engine, with a market share of over 93% (as of March 2023). Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded it in 1998.

It uses a vast number of algorithms (called “ranking systems”) to provide users with fast and accurate search results. It also offers other popular services—like Google Maps, YouTube, and Gmail.

Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) are typically populated with various SERP features (like featured snippets, People Also Ask sections, and knowledge panels), based on the type of the search query.

In 2023, Google introduced its AI-powered search assistant called Bard.

Google's AI-powered search assistant Bard

Google has faced many criticisms over the years. The most common are related to the amount of data it collects about its users. That’s why privacy concerns are among the common reasons users seek Google alternatives

2. Bing

  • Domain: bing.com
  • What makes it unique: rewards program, AI chat assistant
  • What it looks like:
Bing search engine

Created by Microsoft in 2009, Bing is the second-largest search engine in the world. 

Bing’s strength lies in its multimedia search capabilities—namely advanced image and video search results. Another interesting feature is its rewards program. Every time you use Bing, you collect points that go toward gift cards.

In 2023, Bing shook things up by being the first mainstream search engine to introduce an AI-powered search assistant in its search results.

Bing's AI-powered search assistant

3. DuckDuckGo

  • Domain: duckduckgo.com
  • What makes it unique: most popular privacy-oriented search engine
  • What it looks like:
DuckDuckGo search engine

DuckDuckGo is the most popular of a growing number of search engines that prioritize user privacy. It doesn’t track, collect, or store any of your data. It still uses non-personalized ads, though.

The search results come from a variety of sources, including their own crawler and other search engines (but not Google). Also, DuckDuckGo’s search interface is easy to customize to your preferences. 

It offers some unique features, like advanced commands that allow you to speed up your search. For example, if you type “!a family tents” into DuckDuckGo’s search bar, you’ll land directly on Amazon’s results page with family tents.

4. Yahoo

  • Domain: yahoo.com
  • What makes it unique: one of the oldest search engines
  • What it looks like:
Yahoo search engine

Launched in 1994, Yahoo is one of the oldest search engines on the internet. 

It is also the third biggest search engine for desktop users worldwide, although it only means 1.12% market share (as of March 2023). 

Microsoft’s Bing powers Yahoo’s search results. So you’ll probably notice some similarities.

Besides serving as a search engine, Yahoo has also evolved into a web portal. It offers various types of content, from what’s trending and the biggest news stories to the weather forecast and sports results.

5. Baidu

  • Domain: baidu.com
  • What makes it unique: most popular search engine in China
  • What it looks like:
Baidu search engine

Baidu is China’s largest search engine, with just under 50% market share in the country (as of March 2023). 

Similarly to Google, Baidu offers a wide range of services. Like maps, news, an encyclopedia, and a cloud storage service.

Its search algorithm is tailored to the Chinese language and culture. So if you’re not targeting the Chinese market, it may not be relevant to you. 

China’s government also heavily censors it. 

6. Yandex

  • Domain: yandex.ru
  • What makes it unique: most popular search engine in Russia
  • What it looks like:
Yandex search engine

Yandex is the largest search engine in Russia. It is also used in other countries like Belarus, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. Besides the Russian version, it also has a global English version at yandex.com

The tech company behind Yandex also offers many other products and services, including maps, a voice assistant, a ride-hailing service, a web browser, or a music streaming service.

In 2023, Yandex’s code leaked, including the list of all the ranking factors used in its search algorithm. This led to many analyses and interpretations. Especially because Google’s and Yandex’s algorithms are often considered to be similar and Yandex hired many ex-Google employees in the past.

  • Domain: search.brave.com
  • What makes it unique: privacy, rewards program
  • What it looks like:
Brave Search search engine

Brave is a privacy-focused web browser founded in 2015. It also has its own search engine—called Brave Search—that you can use within or outside the Brave browser.

Similarly to DuckDuckGo, Brave Search offers a private and anonymous search. 

Unlike some other smaller search engines, Brave uses its own web index and algorithms. But you can also enable “Google fallback.” This means Brave will also check Google to provide more accurate results.

Its Summarizer feature is an AI-powered tool that provides direct answers in search results. 

Summarizer feature in Brave Search

8. Neeva

  • Domain: neeva.com
  • What makes it unique: ad-free, subscription-based
  • What it looks like:
Neeva search engine

Neeva is a subscription-based, privacy-centric search engine founded in 2019 by former Google and YouTube employees. 

Neeva’s core feature is ad-free search (although the unlimited ad-free search is only available with the Premium plan).

Its search results are also powered by AI, through direct answers of its NeevaAI system. As you can see in the screenshot, the first search result is always an answer by NeevaAI, with cited sources and suggested follow-up questions:

an example of an answer by NeevaAI

Another unique feature is the ability to personalize the search results by selecting your favorite sources and shops. 

9. You

  • Domain: you.com
  • What makes it unique: highly customizable, various AI-powered apps
  • What it looks like:
You search engine

You.com is a new kid on the block. It was founded in 2021 and uses Microsoft’s Bing results as a source of data. 

Similarly to other newer search engines, You.com focuses on privacy and personalization of the search results. 

You can pick from over 150 apps to add to the search results. For example, you can add sections with dedicated Amazon results, YouTube videos, TripAdvisor listings, etc. 

It also offers a set of AI-powered apps—including the chat assistant YouChat, a writing assistant called YouWrite, and an AI image generator called YouImagine. 

AI-powered apps in You search engine

10. Startpage

  • Domain: startpage.com
  • What makes it unique: Google results with privacy in mind
  • What it looks like:
Startpage search engine

Startpage is a search engine that focuses on user privacy and security. This includes no recording of personal data and search history, no profiling of the users, and removal of IP addresses from Startpage’s servers. 

It sources its search results from Google. Which makes it a popular alternative for those who value privacy but still want the accuracy of Google’s search results.

The company also offers a secured email platform called StartMail.

11. Ecosia

  • Domain: ecosia.org
  • What makes it unique: uses 80% of revenue to plant trees
  • What it looks like:
Ecosia search engine

Ecosia is a search engine that donates a portion of its ad revenue to tree-planting initiatives around the world. 

It is a not-for-profit company that earns money from Microsoft Bing advertisements shown in its search results. Every month, Ecosia shares its financial results and how it spent the money. 

Ecosia’s search engine uses Bing as a data source. Besides standard types of results (All, Images, Shopping, Videos, etc.), it also offers quick links that will redirect your search query to different pages (like Wikipedia, Amazon, and Google).

12. Swisscows

  • Domain: swisscows.com
  • What makes it unique: family friendliness
  • What it looks like:
Swisscows search engine

Swisscows is a privacy-oriented search engine founded in 2014. It has its own web crawler and index, but it also uses Bing as a data source.

A unique feature of this search engine is its family friendliness—it does not index or show pornographic or sexual results.

In addition to the search engine, Swisscows provides services like an email client, a virtual private network (VPN), and a privacy-focused messenger. 

You can set up Swisscows as your default search engine in Chrome by installing their plugin. 


What Is a Search Engine?

A search engine is an online tool that allows users to search for content on the internet. 

It continuously explores webpages and other types of content and stores information about them. When a user enters a search query, it returns the most relevant results based on its internal ranking algorithms. 

What Are the Top 5 Search Engines?

According to Statcounter’s Search Engine Market Share Worldwide, the top five most popular search engines are the following (as of March 2023):

  1. Google (market share: 93.18%)
  2. Bing (2.87%)
  3. Yahoo (1.12%)
  4. Yandex (1.02%)
  5. DuckDuckGo (0.52%)
Search engine market share worldwide

What Are the Best Privacy-Oriented Search Engines?

Search engines that do not track user data and put user privacy as their top priority include:

  • DuckDuckGo
  • Brave Search
  • Neeva
  • You.com
  • Startpage
  • Swisscows

The market for privacy-oriented search engines is growing as more people become concerned about their online privacy.

As a result, many existing search engines are adding privacy-focused features to their platforms. 

Which Search Engines Use Their Own Crawlers?

Here is a list of search engines that crawl the internet and have their own index of websites:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Baidu
  • Yandex
  • DuckDuckGo (partially)
  • Brave Search (partially)
  • Swisscows (partially)

Many smaller search engines use either Google or Bing as their source of search results data. Some of them (the last three in the list) use a hybrid approach—using both their own crawler and third-party data. 

Which Search Engines Use AI?

Search engines that either use AI assistants or claim to power their search results with AI are:

  • Google (Bard AI)
  • Bing (Bing AI)
  • Brave Search (Brave AI)
  • Neeva (Neeva AI)
  • You (YouChat and other AI-related apps)

What Is the Oldest Search Engine?

Archie, founded in 1990, is considered the first internet search engine ever created. Among the oldest search engines that still exist today, we can list WebCrawler, Yahoo, and Lycos—all created in 1994.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of practices that help your website rank higher in search engine results. As a general rule, the higher you rank in search engines, the more search traffic you get. You can learn more about SEO here:

Also, don’t forget to create a free Semrush account and improve the SEO of your website. 

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