Is there a sustainable search engine As real Alternative to Google? As useful as the search engine is, the company also has to deal with justified criticisms time and again - e.g. power consumption, data collection or tax tricks. Even though Google does a lot for sustainability on our planet, I therefore went in search of sustainable alternatives to Google.
Now, in this article, I'm going to introduce you to green search engines that you can use as an alternative to Google for your next searches.
Here is another short Table of contents about the article:
Why a sustainable alternative to Google?
Surely you have been using Google as a search engine for several years or decades. The search engine and the company behind it have developed enormously during this time. With about 90% market share₁ and $39.27 billion in revenue in quarter 4/2019₂, the company not only dominates the search engine market.
But some Criticisms keep coming up that make people look for alternatives to Google:
1. power consumption of the search engine
Google's data centers consume an enormous amount of energy. Each individual search query consumes 0.0003 kilowatts. Your own search queries alone could power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours a month.₃ To the company's credit, it was able to meet its global energy needs with 100% renewable energies in 2017.₄
2. google as a data octopus
The company reads users' usage data for advertising purposes. Whether you make a search query on your laptop at home or use Google Maps to navigate to a friend. Google knows where you are and what interests you. Also because Google Chrome is now the market leader among browsers with 63.3%.₅
3. the company pays hardly any taxes in Germany
Large corporations like Google pay hardly any taxes in Germany with (still) legal tax tricks. In 2016, 16 billion euros were smuggled out of Germany.₆ In the process, Google works with the so-called "Double Irish With A Dutch Sandwich" trick, whose name refers to two Irish and one Dutch company of the search engine.
But Google is also investing heavily in sustainability. For example, the search engine has platforms such as Global Fishing Watch launched to control the environmental problem of overfishing in the oceans. The technology monitors the activities of the planet's fisheries in real time.
Nevertheless, it is also worth using alternatives to the Google search engine to research answers to daily questions.
Sustainable search engines and Google alternatives
But which search engines can I now use to achieve the most sustainable effect possible with my daily search queries and achieve a similar quality of search results as I am used to?
In the following I would like to answer this question by giving you more detailed information about the three most used sustainable search engines.
Under the leadership of Christian Kroll, Ecosia GmbH was founded in 2009 with the goal of making a sustainable difference to the environment and society. Today, about every 45th search query on Ecosia for a tree to be planted in the world. That depends entirely on how much you as a user also use the ads in the search results - as with Google. Search engines like Ecosia then earn their money through the ads. At 80%, the company then invests the surplus revenue in charitable organizations - primarily to help the Environmental problem of deforestation to counteract and plant trees. On Feb. 13, 2019, Ecosia announced that it had already planted 50 million trees through the help of its users.₇
Advantages of using Ecosia at a glance:
- Ecosia plants a tree for your search queries in order to save the Stop climate change
- High privacy for your search adjustable
- 80% of the surplus revenue is donated to charitable organizations₈.
- Purpose company that can not be sold₉
The alternative search engine Gexsi (short for "Global Exchange for Social Investment") is a platform for social investments in the background. The revenues generated by the use of the search engine can be viewed transparently and are invested in projects that contribute to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. For example, to promote sustainability in production & consumption, the fight against the climate changemarine conservation, or access to education for all children on the planet. Every two weeks, the company presents the support of a project very specifically.
Advantages of using Gexsi at a glance:
- Is geared towards achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030
- Installable as an add-on for the browsers Google Chrome, Safari and also Firefox
- The proceeds from search queries are donated
3. Qwant.com (another Google alternative)
The search engine Qwant is an alternative to Google primarily because it promises absolute privacy. No cookies, no tracking software. This company also earns its money from users' clicks on ads in the search results, which, compared to other search engines, are based precisely not on previous browser data, but only on the search term entered. According to its own information, the search engine and the work of the team on 100% is powered by electricity from renewable sources.
Advantages of using Qwant at a glance:
- Comprehensive functions to preserve your own privacy
- Alternative search engine without behavioral obfuscation
- Promotes the "digital ecosystem" on the Internet as a result
Which sustainable search engine is the best?
64,000 searches per second₁₀ - the pursuit of knowledge can be used even more meaningfully by sustainable search engines to promote society and the environment in a targeted manner.
I can only advise you to try out the alternatives to Google and answer the question about the ideal, environmentally friendly search engine yourself. You now know the facts about the providers - and if your search queries are also answered by an alternative search engine, then you have probably already found your answer.
By the way there are also Search engines for more specific topics, which you can also use alternatively. For example:
- GoodJobs.eu for the search for sustainable jobs
- VeggieSearch as a search engine for vegan products
- CodeCheck.info to search for ingredients of products (e.g., to Microplastics in cosmetics to avoid)
Do you have any questions, tips or your own experiences with search engines that you would like to share? Then feel free to write a comment below this post.
Stay clean and a good search for answers at all times,
PS.: I don't want to attack Google with this article, but only to present alternative business models of other providers, which for example create additional value for daily search queries by planting trees.
PPS: Do you want to get even more involved in environmental protection? Then get involved in the Environmental protection blog inspire and inform you, for example, about the reasons for which the food giant Nestlé under criticism stands.