If you're troubled by the new privacy issues involved with Google's new policies, you may be thinking of boycotting them. If you are, here's how to use the the four best Google alternatives.
Once Google began including Google+ in its search results Jan. 10 and then changed its privacy policies a few weeks later, online howls of protest grew and some called for a Google boycott. The four best alternative search engines won't do what Google can, but the results will still be pretty comprehensive. First, there's Bing. Microsoft launched the search engine in 2009, and it has Google-like features when searching for video, images and even shopping. Bing also lets you add a related people search function when searching for a name.
If you're used to the minimalist look of the Google homepage, DuckDuckGo, another Google alternative, will feel quite familiar. Search results show up in a single column, making DuckDuckGo very easy to use with no distractions. When scrolling down, new results load to the page, and there's a prompt in the search bar to perform site specific searchs on YouTube and Amazon. An added bonus is that content farm Web sites and spammy results get pushed way down in the rankings.
Next, there's Blekko, a kind of open source search engine that allows users to edit results to remove spam Web sites that make it through the rankings. It's easy to narrow search results in Blekko by using a forward slash. Try searching for cameras/digital, and the results will very specific to digital cameras. Additionally, Blekko has a Web search bill of rights that many concerned about privacy might welcome.
Finally, there's the uber-geeky WolframAlpha. It's more of a database for finding strictly scientific info, and less for including things like social media or blogs. It's the brains behind Apple's Siri voice recognition, as a matter of fact. It would take some getting used to how WolframAlpha works, but it's worth it because, like Google, there are seriously talented and near-genius-level people behind the project. Google has the search down like no other company, and for some things, you may be tempted to go back to it from time to time. But, if you're boycotting Google on account of their becoming evil, these alternates are a great place to start.
Tell us in the comments if you got to this page from somewhere besides Google.