Alternatives to Google for search, email, messaging and more

Think for a minute what Google doesn’t know about you. Its search engine dominates the competition and it runs apps and services that know what you’re looking for, where you’re going and what interests you online.

All this data can make you stop and think, “Huh, is there a good alternative?” If you know where to look, there are solid options for all the major software and systems. Tap or click for free alternatives to expensive Photoshop and Microsoft Office.

If you’re tired of being tracked and sharing your entire digital life with one company, or perhaps you just want more options, turning away from Google is easier than it sounds. Let’s start with finding a search site other than Google.


Unlike Google, the whole gimmick of DuckDuckGo is its lack of user tracking, as well as its company policy of no targeted ads or contextual results based on your search history.

On the one hand, this means that your results will be less tailored to your specific needs and interests. On the other hand, these organic results can help you find things that the Google algorithm might otherwise bury.

start page

StartPage calls itself “the world’s most private search engine”. The Netherlands-based company recognizes that when it comes to search, Google is hard to beat. So they harness the power of Google without going through user tracking.

StartPage pays Google for the use of its search algorithm, but removes the tracking and advertising that typically comes with it. You get a Google-like experience, with the promise that your data will never be stored, tracked or sold.


Ecosia takes a completely different approach. It’s a traditional search engine, advertising and all, but the money raised is used to make the world a greener place. When you search on Ecosia, you are helping to plant trees all over the world.

A nice bonus if you’re privacy-conscious: Ecosia doesn’t sell your data, searches are encrypted, and search data is anonymized within a week. They collect a “small amount of data” by default, but you can opt-out.

dog pile

While Google uses an algorithm to sort billions of webpages, Dogpile instead fetches results from the major search engines. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the rest have their own ways of sorting through the results, and Dogpile analyzes them all to help you find what you’re looking for.


If you have young children in your home, consider the Kiddle. It is not affiliated with Google, but Google SafeSearch powers it.

The visual search engine promises a safe web environment for kids, with large thumbnail images and large text for easy reading. The first few results of any search are pages written specifically for kids and approved by Kiddle editors. The next few results are protected but may not be written explicitly for the little ones.

Kiddle also has some fun extras like a 700,000 article encyclopedia with exploreable topics ranging from science to the arts. The search engine does not collect any personally identifiable information, and its logs are deleted every 24 hours. There are ads though.

Wolfram Alpha

Think of Wolfram Alpha as a genius in your browser. You type in something you want to know or calculate, and it works to find you an expert-level answer. how? Combination of algorithms, AI technology and a comprehensive database.

This site isn’t the place to go if you’re looking to find plumber or restaurant reviews. But if you need answers to a math problem, need reliable information on world history or events, or need to do personal finance or home math, give it a try.


This Paris-based search engine uses search results from Bing. Based on the EU, QWant does not collect your data or use tracking cookies. Like Google, it offers search shortcuts that let you search for results from a specific website.

When you’re searching for places near you, be sure to be specific. Since it’s focused on privacy, QWant won’t track your geographic location, so you may have to type in your location when looking for restaurants.

Swiss Cow

This Swiss-based search engine wants to make the Internet secure. This is a great option if you have kids because Swissco automatically filters out harmful ingredients. Plus, there’s no way to turn that setting off, so you don’t have to worry about tech-savvy kids finding ways around the protective filter.

Instead of working with the cloud or a third party, Swisscows has its own servers. It has its own data center in the Swiss Alps, “the safest bunker in Europe.” Plus, you’ll browse like never before with its semantic map. Swissco has a tile-like map that acts as a filter.

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