Tim Bray: ‘Mourning Google’

Tim Bray:

But those Ten Blue Links surfaced by the PageRank-that-was had a special magic. I found them intensely human, a reflection of the voices populating what remains of the Web, the only platform without a vendor. This was true when I was there and I said so, but was laughed at.

And now, in Anno Domini 2024, Google has lost its edge in search. There are plenty of things it can’t find. There are compelling alternatives. To me this feels like a big inflection point, because around the stumbling feet of the Big Tech dinosaurs, the Web’s mammals, agile and flexible, still scurry. They exhibit creative energy and strongly-flavored voices, and those voices still sometimes find and reinforce each other without being sock puppets of shareholder-value-focused private empires.

That line: the Web’s mammals, agile and flexible, still scurry.

That resonates. I’d expand that to indie mammals, whether writing web or native apps — or often now, both. One of the indie mammals today, one that fits the bill for a “compelling alternative” to Google Search, is Kagi. I’d been using DuckDuckGo for many years as my primary search engine, but I switched to Kagi in the summer of 2022 and haven’t looked back. I’ve been paying $10/month for a Professional plan (unlimited searches per month, unlimited access to Kagi’s FastGPT and Universal Summarizer) and I’m this close to upgrading to the $25/month Ultimate plan just to support this crazy company.

Kagi search isn’t just good for a Google alternative, I flat out prefer its results to Google’s. Better results in a far better presentation. The only thing I find myself resorting to Google Search for are old links — when searching for news or specific articles that are, I don’t know, maybe more than 10 years old, no search engine seems able to compete with Google. But for everything else, I prefer Kagi. I go weeks at a time not using Google Search.

Kagi has no ads — it’s entirely supported by users paying for their excellent service. It’s never going to topple Google, but the man behind Kagi, Vladimir Prelovac, isn’t trying to. He’s just trying to make the best search engine — and web browser! — possible. Just trying to make something great for users.

I know: of all the things you thought you’d never pay for, a search engine is probably near the top of the list. But try Kagi out for yourself.

Friday, 19 January 2024