Sometimes we get into the habit of doing things one way that we overlook other things.
With the advent of Google Plus, Google is working really hard to integrate Google Plus into every aspect of our Google lives. [They really, really want us to use it.]
They even have included Google Plus into our search results. For example, when we search for something and if someone in one of my Google circles has mentioned it somewhere else, then Google adds them to the top of the search results list. [Of course, if you're in the know, you can toggle this feature off or simply log out of Google.]
However, Google is pulling up relevant sites, or what Google thinks are relevant sites, to our searches. In other words, Google gives us search results based on our previous searches. Additionally, it's pulling up all those ads into search results from paying advertisers. So the end result is a very manipulated search result.
This is awesome if you want the opinion of a "friend" on Google Plus.
This is fantastic if you're needing to purchase something. [Although, that's debatable if you're in the research stage of your purchase.]
This isn't, however, effective when searching for dead people.
Sometimes you just want pure results. And while Google has more sites indexed for our information-greedy selves, there are other search engines out there that can give us a more pure search result, or at least one that isn't so manipulated. Manhandled. Sculpted.
And in our quest finding every single ancestor as is possible, we don't want to leave any stone unturned.
If we can find the stone that we need to look under, that is.
So while I'd never advocate abandoning bigger search engines, I do think we'd be remiss to not look in other search engines.
One smaller search engine that seems to be gaining traction is DuckDuckGo. This search engine is all about privacy. Here, cookies are still tasty treats, not spies. On its very plain home page, you enter in your search terms and click on the magnifying glass. You can even search other search engines' indices by clicking on the little arrow and selecting from a drop down menu. [How do you like them ducks?]
What is returned is a search result list that hasn't been tinkered with alternative [and in our case opposing] agendas.No suggestions from "friends" in Google Plus. No "I-think-I-know-what-you're-looking-for-better-than-you-do" attitude.
'Cause Mr. Know-it-all, I don't need a plumber from Philly named Ralph Schmidt to fix my toilet who has been recommended by 3 "friends" on Google Plus.
My toilet is fine.
I'm looking for some information on my [very dead] great uncle named Ralph Schmidt who once lived in Philly and was a plumber.
See? Google can't read my mind. It's just assuming I'm using its search engine in the same way everyone else is, and at the same time it's trying to make a buck.
And I have no problem with any of that. Google has expanded its services. It has bills to pay. I get that.
Until it comes to searching for dead people.
So. Google for genealogy? Yeah. You betcha. And a side of DuckDuckGo, please. [Or whatever search engine that's gonna help me find my dead people.]
Are you currently remembering to use alternative search engines while searching online? If so, which ones? Don't be stingy. Let us know in comments below.
If you liked this post, you might like this one from a past Genea-Tech newsletter: Another Search Engine Plug-In Add-on or perhaps this previous post on search engines: Google Isn't Your Only Search Engine.