Is Quora content visible on Google

Predecessors to Google and alternative search engines

Information with advertising: Crawler and Infoseek

The crawler, on the other hand, has survived to this day as a meta search engine. It started in 1994 as WebCrawler, the first publicly available search engine with full-text index search. WebCrawler was created in 1994 as a desktop application by student Brian Pinkerton. In the same year WebCrawler went online with its own search index. The search engine changed hands several times and has been owned by InfoSpace since 2001, which has since been renamed Blucora.

Infoseek was founded in 1994 by Steve Kirsch in California. The search engine originally belonged to the Infoseek Corporation. In September 1997, Infoseek had 7.3 million monthly visitors, a remarkable number at the time. In 1998, Walt Disney bought a 43 percent stake in Infoseek and at the same time acquired the Starwave Corporation media group, which included ESPN.com and ABCNews.com. In 1999 Walt Disney swallowed the search engine completely and made the go.com portal out of all three web platforms. One of the developers at Infoseek, Li Yanhong, moved to China and founded the Chinese search engine Baidu in Beijing. Disney discontinued Infoseek in 2001 and sold the software technology to Inktomi.

The company was very innovative in its time. Infoseek was one of the first search engines to sell cost per thousand impressions (CPM) advertising. The first customer was Procter & Gamble in 1997 with a campaign for diapers. In the following year, Infoseek was also the first Internet company to use special algorithms to analyze users' search behavior in order to target advertising more precisely.

Once popular, now forgotten: Lycos and Altavista

Lycos, a well-known search engine around the turn of the century, was founded in 1995. Lycos Europe was founded in 1997 as a joint venture between Lycos, Inc., and Bertelsmann AG. With Google's rise and due to several restructurings, Lycos lost its former importance. Lycos Europe was liquidated in November 2008. Most of the services were discontinued, only Tripod, a web hosting service and the knowledge community Lycos IQ (later COSMiQ, then incorporated into gutefrage.net) remained active with new owners and a new company name. However, the US company still exists and today offers various websites with e-mail, web hosting and social networking services.

Altavista was launched in the same year as Lycos. The search engine was created as part of a research project by the Digital Equipment Corporation. It was developed by Louis Monier, Joella Paquette and Paul Flaherty. In 2000, in response to Google, Altavista launched another search engine called Raging Search, but it was not very successful. Overture bought the company in 2003 and was bought back by Yahoo a little later. As of 2010, all searches to Altavista were redirected to Yahoo, and in 2013 Altavista came to an end.

Competitors to date: Yahoo and Bing

Yahoo was founded in 1994 by David Filo and Jerry Yang, who were then doing PhD students at Stanford University. At first the project was more of a student character and developed into a commercial bookmark collection. The company was officially founded in 1995 and went public the following year. The German portal site went online in October 1996. Portals in Japan, Great Britain, France, Norway, Sweden and many others followed later. However, Yahoo also burst with the dot-com bubble. The company has now supplemented many of its free services with paid offers, bought the HotJobs job exchange and the Flickr photo site. Until 2004, Yahoo used databases from Google, Altavista and Inktomi, but then went their own way. In 2009 the company signed a contract with Microsoft. This made Microsoft's search engine Bing the exclusive search technology for Yahoo. In return, Yahoo took over the worldwide distribution of the text ads for the two companies. However, the contract will expire at the end of next year.

Ask.com, founded in 1996 by Garret Gruener and David Warton, was originally a search engine, but now only provides answers from a set of questions and answers.

Google's biggest competitor is currently Bing from Microsoft. Bing emerged in 2009 from Live Search, a search engine also designed by Microsoft. Bing wasn't the first search engine the Seattle-based software company launched. As early as 1999, the company tried to use MSN Search to gain a foothold in the search engine market, which was already competitive at the time.

Bing went online in 2009. In the following year, the search engine was ranked third among the “most visited search engines” behind Google and Yahoo. In 2012, Microsoft revised the appearance to better capture social networks. Since then, Bing has also shown data from Facebook, Quora, Foursquare, Twitter and LinkedIn in its own search bar. In addition, Klout's rating system was integrated.

Bing has been working with Facebook since 2010. As a result, ratings by Facebook users influence the search engine's algorithms. For Baidu in China, Bing takes care of answering all English-language search queries.

Incidentally, the search technology from Bing is also in the "ecologically inspired website for web search" Ecosia, which according to its own information invests 80 percent of its profits from advertising in reforestation projects in Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Indonesia and Peru.

The next generation: StartPage, DuckDuckGo, Qwant

However, both Google and Bing have come under fire for their use of user data. Other search engines that have established themselves alongside the Seattle company offer alternatives because they use different technical solutions. One of the best known is StartPage, which receives its data from Google, but forwards search queries anonymously to Google. DuckDuckGo, the French search engine Qwant, MetaGer and eTools also treat their users' privacy differently. They do not save any search history, IP addresses or personal data of their users.

The Swiss provider eTools is actually a meta search engine that taps into 16 other search engines, including Google and Bing. However, eTools allows third-party tracking cookies. However, users can avoid this by blocking the display of advertisements. MetaGer works the same way, but doesn't ask Google.

The recent example of Facebook has shown that it will be difficult to use the arguments of data protection and privacy to dispute Google's current market leadership. The social platform left the Cambridge Analytica scandal practically indifferent, and user numbers are still growing.