The Anti-Google Search Engine

The vast majority of web searches continue to be conducted through Google, estimated at about 66.4% of all searches in early 2012. Google is understandably concerned about losing its market dominance. In December 2011, Microsoft’s upstart search engine Bing surpassed Yahoo and become the second most used search engine worldwide.

The only way Google can retain its lead is by continuing to provide the most relevant information to users, so it constantly rewrites its code, as with the new Penguin update that I mentioned here. Although Wikpedia has over 365 million readers and is ranked one of the top websites by Alexa, recent studies show that Google has determined that Wikipedia searches should not necessarily rank as high as other pages. Other search engines have evaluated it slightly differently.

Google may have cause for concern. A Toronto resident sat down at his computer late one Sunday evening and created what could be called the anti-Google search engine. Sanjay Arora is responsible for the creation of Million Short, what he dubs “a discovery engine.” And he did it overnight.

The premise behind the site is that it actually removes the most popular sites from search results (top sites are removed, not necessarily the top web results). You can adjust it to remove the top million sites, all the way down to the top one hundred most popular sites online. The rationale is that many of the spammy websites that try to game Google are automatically excluded, potentially providing a more robust and insightful result.

In essence, it gives you the results that Google won’t.

For legal researchers this could help unearth a treasure trove of more obscure legal web sites with legal commentary or case summaries that would be excluded in either high profile cases or in subject areas where there is a lot of competing but irrelevant information. For legal marketers, it’s yet another reminder that online activity should still be developed as an online conversation, with search results as a secondary consideration.

The site has already reached the top 10,000 most visited sites in the U.S. Arora doesn’t expect Million Short to become the next Google, but that’s exactly the point. If everyone is chasing Google’s golden grail, it leaves space in the market for people to develop the alternatives.

You can learn more about Arora through some of his recent media interviews on the CBC, Web Monkey and PC Advisor.


  1. Interesting idea, I agree, Omar. Trouble is I don’t think it works. I tried it out a while back and found that eliminating top results didn’t prevent the same results from showing up. I’ve run my test again and got the same problematic results. I searched [defamation]. Here’s a screenshot of the top results with nothing missing (and results that will be duplicated already marked. Next is one of the top results with the top 100 missing; note that three of the results are identical. Third is one of the top results with the top 1000 missing; and again two of the original results are repeated.

    I gave this feedback to Million Short at the time, but never heard back from them.

  2. Simon,
    All that means is that it doesn’t work for the specific terms you’re using.
    I think if you’re researching a more obscure or focused topic, i.e. defamation + [client or case name] there might be a need to cut out the noise from other sites.
    Thanks for your feedback though, it doesn’t surprise me that people here would already be playing with emerging tools.

  3. DuckDuckGo Omar. DuckDuckGo.

  4. Ahsan,
    Yes, DuckDuckGo is another important alternative, one which focuses on crowd-sourced material.