🌶️ Chilli

It's time to talk about Kagi.com

Kagi.com is a paid-for search engine, that's around 2 years old. I've been using it for about 4 months now, and I'm super impressed with the results.

I've not been happy with Google search results for quite some time now. They're having to walk a thin line, in my opinion, between keeping their customers happy - whilst still having a very mystical SEO process - and generating reasonable search results for those who are using google search. I was also not very happy with myself being the product of google search - as they say; if it's free, you are the product. I don't want adverts being flung at me every search that I do - I simply want an answer to my question. So, I had a look around to see what else I could use.

I initially stumbled - like most people - upon duckduckgo (DDG), and that at least solved some of my issues. I did see less adverts, and in fairness those I did see were more directly related to my search term, rather than both my current search and my search history. I used DDG for perhaps a year or more, and I still felt that the search results could be a bit better. I believe that DDG just provides a more privacy-focussed approach to accessing google search results. Meaning that those sites with higher SEO, or larger companies remained at the top of my DDG search rankings. I still had to trail through the results that only answered some of my question towards the bottom of the article, as the writers were having to game the SEO system, to try to get to the top of the search results. Thus they had to write a 1000 word article, to only provide an answer to my question at about the 800 word mark. At this stage, the poor souls that are having to write their web articles for their employer, are more akin to informal Google SEO 'programmers', than the writers that they probably envisioned becoming whilst growing up.

I came across Kagi.com on Reddit, I think. This company dares to think different; I'm not the product of their search engine, I'm their customer. The difference between Kagi and Google Search, is simply that I pay Kagi a monthly subscription of 5whichaffordsme300searchesamonth,andinturntheyprovidethebestsearchresultsforme.IfIpaythem10/mo I have unlimited searches. This can be a lot of money, for what amounts to a search engine, but personally, I think that this is worth paying. Kagi doesn't care about SEO, because they simply want to return the best results for my query. And I think that they do. I was genuinely amazed at what internet search results look like without a google SEO 'filter' being in place.

Block websites from appearing in search results

Kagi has many novel features, such as, I am able to blacklist entire websites to banish them from my search results, never to appear again (here's looking at you, Pinterest). So, I can add whatever website to my profile that I would like to be blocked, or alternatively I can choose to have it appear higher up in my search results. The choice is entirely mine.

Kagi Lenses

Further, I can use something called Kagi lenses to pre-filter my results. I can write 'chicken', and then select the 'recipes' lens, so Kagi filters the results meaning that I only get recipes involving chicken. I can focus results based on the small-web, so I get to see more of the smaller bloggers, the smaller websites and so I gain the benefit of their expertise, and a more human and personable response to my query. I can also create and save my own lenses, to say only display reddit results, or results from forums.

Universal Summariser

They also have something called a universal summariser. Often, I want to know what a YouTube video or a podcast is about - without wanting to watch or listen to it for 45 mins - or I want to read an article, but I'm not sure if it's going to be useful to help my understanding on whatever topic I'm researching. The universal summariser gives me gist comprehension of a YouTube video or podcast within a couple of seconds, enabling me to either watch or listen to it at a later time, or discard it as having no benefit to me.

But doesn't Kagi use google search api? Why yes, yes it does; along with Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex and several others' indexes. It then applies its own 'special sauce' to the results, before displaying them to me. They do also independently index some of the web, like the internet archive and blend those into the bigger players search results. Kagi seems to understand that the problem with internet search isn't in how the indexing is done; it's in how the data is subsequently prioritised (ie ads and SEO) prior to it being displayed to the user, or even who the customer is. Of course, when I write Google in this post, then the exact same things apply to Bing, Yahoo!, and the other major search engine players.

But isn't Google search still the best? It was, it certainly was, but I don't think it's been the best for quite a while now. Google is quietly shooting themselves in the foot, as they're striving to provide the best search results, whilst simultaneously trying to provide the most ad-clicks for their customers. Those customers pay for their online ads, or have to 'game the SEO' to appear higher in the search results rankings. At the end of the day, we all ultimately suffer by having sub-par search results. Kagi certainly fills a gap, which in fairness, is not necessarily affordable to everyone. There's no localised pricing, so in some countries then 5or10/mo is an awful lot of money. For now, this is not necessarily about democratising search - which is super important, and Google et. al will continue to fulfil this need - but it is a step in the right direction for starting to change people's minds about who the customer should actually be, when it comes to search results.

#degoogle #review #tech