written by: C.D. Crowder•edited by: Mark Muller•updated: 7/27/2011
The ultimate goal for anyone searching the web is fast, accurate results when they use a search engine. Since search engines are not created equal, it's often hard to find which one is not only the fastest, but provides the best overall results for your search.
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Details of the Test
In order to be given the title of fastest search engine, one must look not only at the speed of results, but how relevant they are. After all, if you have to search multiple times or go through six or seven pages of results, you haven't saved any time. This test uses six different keyword phrases to determine how quickly search engines find relevant results.
Any search engine test must include the three main search engines: Yahoo, Bing and Google. However, there are literally hundreds of search engines, not including niche specific ones. For this test, we'll be comparing the following eight search engines:
For our keyword phrases, we'll try both popular and highly niche topics. The phrases include:
Each search engine offered its own list of results, with many being similar. The fastest Internet search engine on average took around a half a second to display results. All of which were relevant and without ads. The slowest search took around two seconds, with ads taking around a half second longer to display. Only around half the results were relevant, while fewer still were from reliable sources.
Search engines with the fewest ads were by far the fastest. Search engines, such as Google, which display alternative searches as you type were slightly slower when displaying alternate searches, but the search itself was fast. Search engines which displayed alternate search terms after the search were faster.
Overall, there was very little difference between the eight tested search engines. While preference will sway users more than anything, one search engine came out one top as clean, fast and efficient.
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While most users would expect one of the major three to be number one, surprisingly, none made the top two. The winner, by far, is DuckDuckGo. The name takes a second to type, but the search is faster than any other search engine. Unlike many other search engines, you're only presented with a single ad, which is placed unobtrusively in the top right corner. Another benefit is you never half to click through pages. All results are listed on the first page, which continues to display more results as you scroll down. The vast majority of results within the top 30 were relevant and from reputable, well known sites.
A close second was Ask. There are more ads, which are placed within search results. The biggest benefit is the related searches, which are more detailed than those offered on DuckDuckGo. There were more forums listed in the results, but all results were relevant through the first several pages.
Next up are the big three in the following order: Bing, Google and Yahoo. Bing's results were more relevant and slightly faster than Google. Google took longer to search due to offering alternate searches while typing. While this is a nice feature, it does slow the search engine down. Yahoo offered more relevant results than Google, namely less forums and ads, but was slower than either Bing or Google. Overall, there was little difference between the three with the exception of layout.
The next two were relatively slow, but did offer decent results. On popular searches, they worked well, but niche searches were hit or miss. Yippy offers an easy way to filter searches, which may make it faster than other search engines for those trying to find specific sites. Snap wasn't much different than Yippy in terms of speed, but otherwise left me less than impressed.
The slowest search engine by far is Dogpile. It was once very popular and is trying to make a comeback. It's major downfall is mixing in ads from Google, Yahoo and Bing with the results. Ads do not stand out from results, making it hard to find what you are looking for. Some searches took as long as two seconds to display results.
The final list is as follows:
While this test focused on general purpose searching, depending on what you are looking for, one search engine may be faster than another for you. In order to determine which one actually is the fastest for your needs, try them all out and see who makes the top of your search engine list.