I haven’t used Google for searching the web in years. That surprises people that know that I work for a digital marketing agency. I’m not saying Google isn’t important. Just that I don’t use them for their primary function: search. Why? Because it sucks. It hasn’t been good for years.
Searching before Google was arduous, even for how small the web was in the late 90s. I primarily used a combination of Yahoo and Alta Vista. But when Google was released, it felt like a missing piece of the web had been unearthed.
Now it feels like junk mail. The results are crummy, and it’s surrounded by ads.
I was open to an alternative. And I found one: Kagi. It’s a search engine you pay for. And it has taken me back to the old halcyon days of Google from the early 2000s. Blazing fast. Relevant results. And since you pay for it, your search history is private. I played with it for a couple days and was impressed enough to start forking out $5 a month for 300 searches. That seems to be enough for me for the time being. Try it out for yourself if you’ve lost that loving feeling. You can read why you should think about paying for search on their site, as well as reading their manifesto, The Age of PageRank Is Over.
Surfing the web, it feels like everyone is nostalgic for the past. When the web was more independent and was filled with less walled gardens. Before, a good service would come along for free, but they would need to find a way to fund themselves. And no matter how good their intentions were, we became the product. Our data. Which may or may not have that much value for you to use a free service. But I’m willing to pay for privacy at this point. I will also pay for a good service.