Update: FuckFuckNo 2020-06-30
Someone suggested that I try out Ecosia as a search engine... It isn't the first time I tried them, but I figured I'd have another look. Here's what I found.
Advertise and market to you, which includes sending promotional communications, targeting advertising, and presenting you with relevant offers.
...which is a little sucky. Ultimately the only information I am probably providing to Microsoft when I use Ecosia is my IP address, some browser fingerprinting information, and of course my search terms and which links I click on. It is shameful that Microsoft is a whore for advertising like that. Then there is Ecosia's use of native advertising and cookies. Their native advertising looks about as close to their content as I have seen. Closer than Google. That's bad. The only distinguishing feature is a slightly greyed "Ad" at the front of the ads. As for cookies, there is no way to disable safesearch [or any other settings] without accepting cookies. Clearly when I am doing an image search for "donkey little fellah" it is EXACTLY the time I do not want to be accepting cookies.
I was actually thinking I would consciously try to use Ecosia for a few days and see what happens, but as I was writing this stuff up I did a search for "fuck native advertising" and the results I got were awful. The whole first page of results was filled with porn links about native chicks. Sorry Ecosia/Bing, if your engine doesn't recognize the term "native advertising" then you can't be used. Just to be clear I did the same search on Google and got MUCH more relevant results. Sadly, I also did the same search on DuckDuckGo and got the same shitty results Ecosia gave me. Score +1 for the Big G.
I don't like Google. There, I said it. Fuck Google.
Having said that, what should I use as my default search engine? The choices are pretty limited and frankly nobody even comes close to the skillz that Google has. A lot of people like DuckDuckGo, but I have a feeling that is just because DDG has more marketing than anyone else. More than StartPage, or Bing, or maybe even Yahoo!. Anyways, All of the alternative search engines seem to either have terrible results or are just so unusable they are laughable.
I actually kind of like Startpage, but even when I went to their root page so I could paste their URL in to this post I got this garbage:
The thing is, I have not even visited startpage.com at all recently. I mean it has probably been weeks since I last hit their site. So the notion that I have done a large number of queries in a short time is silly. I am also not using Tor, a proxy, a corporate network, or a VPN. I do have some browser plugins, but disabling them does nothing to get rid of the message, making their search engine inaccessible to me. So, fuck 'em I guess.
With StartPage dead for me, my backup plan is DDG. The problem, is that their results just plain suck. I did a search for get "grit tv" in "canada" including the quotes. The quotes are important because any term enclosed in quotes MUST appear in the page in order to be included in the results. But they don't. The very first result doesn't have the word "grit" in it anywhere. Either does the third result. The fourth result doesn't have the word Canada. The fifth and seventh don't have Canada, the eighth doesn't have Grit. I mean clearly quotes is not a mandatory term.
The DDG Syntax explanation says that:
Results for exact term "cats and dogs". If no results are found, we'll try to show related results.
Basically explaining that they'll do their best to find what you are looking for but when they can't find it they'll give you whatever they think is appropriate. Well that sure didn't help my search above. In fact, it drops the ball on a LOT of the searches I do. Enough that I find myself frequently just giving up and Googling shit. Bah!
Then I figured I would send DDG an email to let them know that there should be an option for users to require a search term be present in their results. Should be easy enough eh? Wrong. Their help page says:
Welcome to DuckDuckGo Help - If you can’t find an answer to your DuckDuckGo question, ask the community!
You know what that "The Community" is? A fucking subreddit. Anybody got a search engine that doesn't suck and doesn't harvest my blood to give me results? Seriously, I'd love to hear about it. 😞