Tag Archives: complaining about Microsoft

Search Engines Other Than Google

The whole Bing de-listing thing got me thinking about search engines, which is not something I put my mind to all that often.  We live in a world where there is Google and then there is everything else.  In the west at least, Google dominates to such an extent that barely anything else counts.  I lost Bing traffic, but in the grand scheme of things, did it matter much?

Bing stats running into June 2022

Still, I started poking around as to what other search engines there were and who would still find me.  I doing that I learned that there are all sorts of search engines out there, ones that index just wikis or images that are available via creative commons.

But I just wanted the traditional “find my damn web site” sort of engines, and this is what I turned up.

Bing

I have to mention Bing because it turns out that Bing powers a lot of other search engines.  I was never sold on Bing since the day Uncle Fester announced it, and being delisted hasn’t enhance my view of it.  And I appear to have been in just one wave of a systematic purging of blogs and gaming sites.  When I first wrote about the purge, I could at least find sites that linked to my site, including the Tumblr pages that I republish to and a bunch of blogs with their own domains.  All of that has since been eliminated.  I don’t think linking to me was the cheese touch that did people in, but Bing was clearly on a tear about something.

But the key thing I found out is who else uses Bing to power their search, which includes:

  • Yahoo
  • DuckDuckGo
  • AOL
  • Swisscows
  • OneSearch
  • Ekoru
  • Ecosia
  • Lycos
  • MetaCrawler
  • Qwant

I went through each of those and got exactly the same results for my search terms.  Basically it seems if you want to start a themed search engine of some sort but don’t want to put in the work on the search part of things, Bing is your one stop shop for mediocrity.

Baidu

I don’t have much to say about Baidu except that it is the big search engine in China and now sends me more traffic than Bing.  Basically, about one referral a month… but if you search for my site URL I do show up, and that seems like all you can ask for some days.

Baidu finds me

The bar for being better than Bing is pretty low, and Baidu clears it.

Yandex

Same as Baidu, but for Russia.  It has an English version of the main page, but returns results in Russian.  However, it still finds my site and actually drives a few referrals a week to the site, usually EVE Online related.  I actually have a search console account with them, so can see what they have indexed and where I show up in results.  The numbers are always low, but not as low as Bing is now.

Ask.com

Once known as Ask Jeeves, and apparently not really in the search engine business anymore, it does still function as one and apparently hasn’t just thrown in the towel like Yahoo or AOL to just let Bing do whatever passes for heavy lifting in Redmond.

Neeva

A recent entry in the search engine field… this sort of thing still gets funding I guess… launched by a former Google exec, I am not sure where I stand on this one.  On the one hand, when I put in “TAGN” for a search term, I get the same set of results as I do from Bing, always a bad sign.  But at the top of the page, on its own, I also get a link to the blog.

Neeva finds me somehow

And it wasn’t snooping on my other browsers… I don’t think… as I did it on a “clean” system with a browser in incognito mode.  Seems okay for that.  If I am happy with Baidu for just that result, why should I kick Neeva for it?

StartPage

A Dutch search engine promising privacy that isn’t in bed with Bing I guess.  It passes the TAGN test as well as the full site URL test.  Looking it up, it has been around since 1998 in some form or another… and it pays Google to provide its results.  So there we go, privacy AND Google quality searches.  Might be a winner.

Gibiru

Another search engine I had not heard of, though it has been around since 2009.  It promises uncensored private search, and you can make of that what you will, but it passes the TAGN test with flying colors and returns me in some of the searches

Gigablast

Kind of a strange one.  Driven neither by Google nor Bing… it includes links to let you try your search on StartPage and DuckDuckGo if you want… it doesn’t find me if you search “TAGN,” but you can find my site with other search terms like “M2-XFE” which is a regular source of traffic to my site from Google.  Wouldn’t give up Google driven searches for it, but delivers a different results set if you want something that isn’t in the two main search engine buckets.

As with many of my posts, I don’t really have a big wrap up at the end here.  I am more surprised at how many search engines are out there these days… even when you discount all the ones that are just Bing fronts… when Google so clearly owns the search engine market.

This is not at all an exhaustive list either, just the more interesting results I turned up.  But you have options if you don’t want Google or Bing or want to get some different results for the same old search.

How Useful is the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor?

Not very.

I swear, some days it is like they don’t want to sell me a new operating system.

But let me pull back and tell my minor tale.

I thought I had better do some research into another aspect of the upgrade equation.  I thought I had better look into how much software I am going to have to buy upgrades for in order to get going with Windows 7.

It is fun to talk about the hardware, and it cost there can add up, but you cannot ignore the software end of things either.

As in the past, Microsoft has a utility you can run on your system to help you with that information.

I remember past versions of that utility, used for operating systems long gone.  It was a utility of negativity.  There was the inevitable short list of items that were compatible, and then the huge, arm-length list of items of that were either known to be incompatible or were unknown.  And unknown was always assumed to be incompatible.

But even with all the negativity, the utility at least told you something.  You got a hint at what might work or might not.

So I grabbed the current utility, the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to see what it had to say.

I downloaded it, installed it, and ran it.  It churned for about 10 minutes on my computer and then Microsoft’s Grand Software Vizier came up with its report.

The Magic Advisor Says...

Seven items total were mentioned.

Six were listed as fully compatible.

Four of those were from Microsoft.

One of them was the damn Upgrade Advisor.  Glad to know that will still work after I upgrade!

And they weren’t really sure about Steam.

But none of the other applications on my machine was mentioned anywhere.  Not a one.

You would think that World of Warcraft might have been deemed significant enough for notice.  Or maybe Microsoft Office 2003.  Have you heard of that before?  Is it going to run on Windows 7?

Yes, it told me a few other things.  It said my PC was capable of running Windows 7.  I had figured that one out myself.  And it told me it had never heard of our printer before.  Who are these Epson people?  How long have they been making printers?

Nice work there Microsoft.  Really a bang up job.

I was invited to go to their compatibility web site and search for individual applications.  You know, something you would expect this particular application to handle for me.

I tried that for a bit.  It appears to serve as a showcase for companies to display the latest version of their software with no mention of software they might have been selling up to very recently.  I’m looking at you Corel.

Well, I guess it is going to take a dive into the pool to tell me how deep the water really is.