DuckDuckGo for default search

DuckDuckGo – quietly and steadily makes itself known as an alternative – maybe THE – alternative to Google.  DuckDuckGo doesn’t track your history, it exercises some quality control over the sites it indexes, and it has syntax for narrowing the search. But if our tendency is to use Google, we need some help to redirect our searches.

The answer – set up your browser to default to searching  DuckDuckGo  from the browser bar.

DuckduckGo has add-ons for all the browsers. Review the list at http://help.duckduckgo.com/customer/portal/topics/292237-desktop/articles

If you use Chrome, this article –  DuckDuckGo Vs. Google – The War Gets Dirty  from Search Engine Journal (Nov 22) –  describes the method for setting DuckDuckGo as the default search engine in Chrome.

You’ll note some acrimony in Gabriel Weinberg’s view of Google.

Guide to Google’s Search Options

This guide to the new search interface at Google just saved me a lot of time. Google moved search options from the left panel to the top and hid them all behind dropdown boxes.  These screenshots and explanations will show you how to find the options (click on Search Tools), and suggest ways you can use them for better searching – translations, pages with images, verbatim etc.

More Free Google Search Tools You Might Not Be Using So Much by Saikat  Basu, Make Use Of (Nov 26)

Customizing Search Choice with Soovle

If you like a customized page of search engines rather than dealing with bookmarks (or your memory), Soovle might be the tool for you. Pick your tool, then search.  Soovle starts with a basic set of Yahoo, Google, Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Answers.com, Wikipedia. You can changes these or add more from an engines list that includes Russian and Chinese.  I don’t see a way  to add an engine that is not on the Soovle list.

Soovle search page

  • As you enter keywords, Soovle fills the screen with suggested queries and shows the top result.  (Doesn’t show well in Firefox.)
  • You can save your search queries.
  • The saved search box has a link to Google Trends – another way to explore the topic or analyze the keywords.
  • Soovle picks up the history of queries for the day done at the engines. (Cannot think of a good use for this.)

Soovle simply directs the search to the target engine. It doesn’t bypass any personalization  that Google or Bing might apply.

Soovle was reviewed in Better Searches on the Internet with Soovle by Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (Dec 22)

Yippy buys HighBeam Research

Yippy, the family-friendly search service, will be buying HighBeam Research.  This announcement has prompted me to look at Yippy again. Has it improved in the last year and will this acquisition make it even better?

Yippy prides itself an Internet search engine and environment that is “family-friendly” – safe in all respects (no “adult” material here), and private (no tracking), highly suitable for the education field, and especially K-12.  To many it may be chiefly  known for its meta-search engine, formerly called Clusty, which it bought from Vivisimo a few years ago and is open to all. To avail oneself of the fully protected area, it is necessary to register and install a customized browser (described at Yippy Hub).  This interface provides webmail, file storage place, video games, video conferencing and chat.

It has  announced an agreement with Gale to purchase HighBeam Research, a for-fee subscription service for access to magazine and journal publications and diverse databases with information on companies and industry information.

Quoting from the press release  Yippy, Inc. (YIPI) to Purchase HighBeam® from The Gale Group, Inc (Dec 24)

Edward Noel , the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “This is an acquisition that makes sense on every level.”  He continued, “Yippy wants to provide its users with the best and most trusted tools to educate themselves on the web.  With our clustering search technology and Highbeam’s extensive archive, we believe this will take us to the next step in becoming the featured destination for online research and learning.”

Yippy has been picking up content from HighBeam Research and linking searchers directly to the article along with HighBeam’s offer for a trial subscription.  With this purchase, Yippy will be able to provide its users the full research package – and, one presumes, generate an income stream.

One problem, however, with HighBeam has been that articles are generally stripped of images – it’s just the text.  And judging from its list of Canadian newspapers, there is a problem with the indexing.  One of the serious challenges HighBeam has always faced is that the savvy searcher will connect online with the local public library to access databases – mostly from Gale – for free.

But what has it been doing to the search engine?  Not much.

Search on Yippy about plastic polution (dec 2012)

Search at Yippy showing clustering and results

Yippy does not name all the web search sources it uses. It will list Gigablast, a lesser known web search engine, and HighBeam Research as two sources.  Open Directory is still on its list – though the directory is seriously out of date and poorly maintained. Reuters will show on current topics.

Yippy has two generically named sources – Yippy Sources and Additional Sources.  I suspect that Additional is mainly Bing.  Yippy Sources might be their own robot – but this should be stated somewhere.

Other signs of trouble:

  • The Preferences for customizing tabs no longer works.
  • Cached links are broken.
  • Breakdown by time periods is dubious – but may be correct for News.

We should check later to see how well HighBeam’s collections are integrated into Yippy,  but I suspect that there will be very little change.