Google in the UK has been troubled by intermittent outages recently, essentially stopping users from searching the web or even using some Google services linked through the main website.
According to the public outcry on Twitter, Brits who are using desktop computers or laptops have come across "500” errors when attempting to conduct searches through their web browsers. Some users have also reported they couldn't access Gmail, Google Calendar, and various other Google services, though Google Now and mobile web users seem largely unaffected by the issues.
The 500 error message that users have seen suggests Google is dealing with internal server errors. In fact, the actual error page offers the following explanation to web surfers: “500. That’s an error. The server encountered an error and could not complete your request. If the problem persists, please report your problem and mention this error message and the query that caused it. That’s all we know."
Although Pocket-lint contacted Google for a comment, it's not clear when Google will fix things or return to working as normal. We've therefore rounded up five alternative search engines you can use for the time being. You'll notice the ones we listed below aren't your typical alternatives. After all, everyone knows about Bing and Yahoo. We wanted to dig a little deeper and find you some goodies.
Please note we're not recommending you abandon Google altogether because of one flaky day. We only think it's worth your time to explore the competition in case something like this happens again and you need to search the web.
Alternatives to Google
The list below is in no particular order.
Duck Duck Go: Are you concerned about privacy? If so, DuckDuckGo.com is your search engine. It emphasises protecting searchers' privacy. It also doesn't profile users, personalise results, or show the same search results for a given search term. It generates search results from crowd-sourced websites such as Wikipedia and from partnerships with other search engines like Yandex. Also, it only displays a single advert on each results page.
Yandex: Yandex is the largest search engine in Russia, though it also offers English, Turkish, and Ukranian-language versions among its options. Similar to Google, Yandex.com has many web-based services including Mail, Maps, Cloud storage, etc. One of the standout features for browsing is the ability to see blocks of information on the results page rather than having to click through to third-party sites.
Blekko: Blekko.com is both a site and downloadable search bar. It uses slashtags to provide results for common searches. Just think of it as a tool to filter the results you want to receive. If, for instance, you want to know where to buy a Kitchen Aid, you might type "Kitchen Aid / shop / cooking". If you want to see a list of articles with the most recent ones at the top, you would type "Kitchen Aid / blog / date". Results are then grouped into categories.
Blippex: Google ranks search results based on analysis of words and links on a page, but Blippex.org is different. It orders websites according to DwellRank - otherwise known as the amount of time people spend on a page. The more seconds you stay put, the more important the website is (and subsequently gets a higher ranking). Blippex, which only launched in beta last year, is described as a "search engine made by the people, for the people."
Yacy: Yacy (stylised as YaCy) is a downloadable search engine built upon peer-to-peer networks. Each Yacy-peer crawls through the internet, analyzes, and indexes found websites into a common database that is shared with other Yacy-peers over P2P networks. In other words, instead of using its own servers to index the web, Yacy.net relies on its users' computers to do the work via software it provides.
And that's it.
There are several other search engines available however, including ones for specific tasks. You can use Topsy.com to search tweets, for instance, or BoardReader.com to search forums and message boards. You can also use CreativeCommons.org to search for content under the creative common license. There's a search engine for practically anything. Just do a search - and you should find several more Google alternatives on your own.
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