Part of modern life these days, especially if you are part of the internet age (which I guess you are, if you’re reading this article!) is the use of search engines to find websites.
But have you ever considered that there might be greener alternatives to Google, Yahoo and Bing? Alternatives where you can find the websites that you want *and* help the planet at the same time?
I set out recently to test out a number of “green search engines” to see how they really measured up. If you’ve read my “About Me” page then you’ll know my basic theory on the green revolution. Green products and services need to be just as good (if not better) than non-green alternatives.
Whilst some hardened greenies may well spend money on an inferior product to help the planet, the average person isn’t. In contast, if two products or services are just as good as each other (and priced the same) then making the right choice becomes are easier.
So from this perspective I wanted to see if the green search engines really were as good as the major players in the market to see if they really offer a valid alternative or if they’re a nice idea from someone with passion but don’t really measure up.
So I tested each one out with real search terms and took a good look at the resultant listings. And I have to admit, the results really surprised me…
Greenseng offsets all carbon emissions generated from your searches through support of CO2Stats. So your searches essentially become carbon neutral. Rather than having it’s own search results, Greenseng actually is essentially a “private label” version of Google offerinf exactly the same results as the big search engine. Advertising revenue covers the cost of carbon offsetting.
Because of the use of Google’s search technology this means that the results at Greenseng are just as good as you might expect from a major search engine while saving on carbon emissions. In other words, Greenseng gets a great big green tick from me. Why use Google when you can get the same results, but be carbon-free at the same time?
Forestle derives it’s name from the word “forest” and goes about their green efforts in a rather different way. For every search carried out through Forestle, 0.1 m² of rainforest is protecting as a result of donations made directly to the Nature Conservancy in the USA. They claim to have already helped protect 5,291,732.4 m² of rainforest which is a truly impressive result.
Unlike Greensend, Forestle uses the Yahoos earch engine as it’s backbone, which also offers good quality results though, in my humble opinion, not quite as good as those of Google.
But Forestle really got me interested because rather than just doing carbon-neutral searches, I now have the opportunity to protect the rainforest through my everyday online activities and with a partner like the Nature Conservancy this search engine also gets a great big green tick from me.
Ecocho, like Forestle, uses the Yahoo search results in it’s search engine results are also highly relevant. It’s unique claim to eco-friendliness is that for every 1,000 searches carried out through the Ecocho search engine, 2 trees are planted. So this isn’t just a matter of carbon offsetting but actually creating new forests for future generations which can only be a good thing. Green tick, please!
In all, I must admit that I was really impressed with these green search engines. By using the results of the major search engines and basically wrapping them in a green coating, you get not only great search engine results but also to help the planet along the way.
In my humble opinion these *are* viable alternatives to the major search engines like Google and Yahoo and I shall personally be trying to use them far more often from now on.