No need to introduce this one. Over the last few years Google has consistently claimed approximately 65% of the search engine market in the USA. This is another way of saying that they are TWICE as big as all their competitors put together! Google has also been expanding their offering by purchasing other companies/brand names over time, and presenting a multitude of services to Google users. These include AdWords, the Android OS, YouTube, Nexus, Maps, DoubleClick, etc – aptly grouped collectively under the name Alphabet. Google’s familiar sparse interface, high relevance of results and continuous algorithm updates all play a part in their success.
Bing is owned by Microsoft, and is the second-most popular search engine in the USA after Google. Bing has its origins in Microsoft’s previous search engine series: MSN Search, Windows Live Search and later Live Search. Like Google, Bing offers dedicated search functions for extras such as image and video search, maps and news. Bing was launched in June, 2009. Yahoo! signed a deal whereby Microsoft started powering Yahoo! results, freeing Yahoo! from the effort of maintaining their own crawlers and index.
Yahoo! started operating in 1994, shortly after the birth of the Internet as we know it today. In October 2011, Bing took over the production of search results for Yahoo! Named after a race of brutish creatures, resembling men in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), Yahoo! reigned supreme before the birth of Google. Lately the company has been beset with problems, and some wonder if they will survive at all. Currently they are still claiming to be most-read news and media website.
What Google is to the Western world, Baidu is to China, the most populous country on earth. Baidu is unlikely to overtake Google in the Western world, but it is very popular in China. They have also been involved in unsavoury topics such as the protection of intellectual property, cloning Google and censorship issues. Both Baidu and Yandex are quite usable by English-speaking users, as the results are often a mix of English and other results.
Yandex is the Russian equivalent of Google – again (like Baidu in China), it enjoys massive support from many Russian users, with about a 60% market share in Russia. Similar to Google and Yahoo!, it provides several add-on services, including email, business news, job listings and stock quotes. Yandex is also popular in other eastern countries, including Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Ukraine.
DuckDuckGo is a late entrant in the search engine market, and has launched with the claim that they do not collect any personal information from its users. This is probably referring to Google’s initially unpopular information collection operations. It sports a sparse interface, like Google’s, and very different from the busy Yahoo! front end. It also deviates from the norm by providing only one long page with results. This means that ALL results for a given query are on the first page!