11 30 22

What Search Engine is Truly the Best, Part 2

What are the major differences with the search engines, and which search engine should you use? Let’s go over Bing, Duck Duck Go, and Qwant.

Last time, we started our discussion on the best search engines by talking about the behemoth, Google. While Google is, by far, the most popular and commonly used, and arguably the most accurate search engine, it doesn’t mean it’s always the right search engine to use. Let’s talk about some other alternatives and see where they might fit in.

Microsoft Bing – Kind of the Same, but Different

Bing gets the silver medal for being the world’s second most popular general search engine. Even so, it only gets about 3.5 percent of the world’s internet searches.


Bing is also the most similar to Google, at least as far as how it works under the hood. It’s focus is on providing accuracy and uses anonymous information from you and your search history to curate the results.


Whereas Google takes a very minimalistic approach to search, Bing usually has a visual treat for its users everyday. Each day, Bing decorates the background of its search page with a photograph with a little snippet of information about the photo. It might be some event happening somewhere in the world, a rare animal from a rainforest, a historical photo, a beautiful skyline, or literally anything else. No, it’s probably not what you were looking for, but it is kind of neat.


But on top of that, Bing also throws curated headlines, local weather, and sponsored posts right at you too. You’ll either love it, hate it, or have no feelings about it. Either way, the first impression you’ll have with Bing is that it’s busier, even before you do a search.


Something we didn’t mention last time when talking about Google—Google uses a mobile-first approach. That means sites that load well on mobile devices tend to get prioritized on Google. If your website is old and doesn’t scale properly for smartphones and tablets, you’ve probably noticed a drop in traffic over the last several years—this is why.


Bing doesn’t really care about this, but it also indexes a much smaller number of pages than Google, so the results are going to be pretty different. If you are looking for images or videos, Bing also has more options for filtering and displaying information, so it slightly outperforms Google there.


The user experience with Bing isn’t horrible, it’s just different. If you are used to using Google everyday, the transition to Bing will just feel a little strange, but it’s a decent alternative, and making the switch for a week or two is a fun experiment. We’d love to hear what you settle on.

Duck Duck Go – The Private Search Engine

Most popular search engines collect user data to curate search results. For instance, Google uses it to improve the results it gives you. Google also uses that data to help advertisers make informed decisions.


First and foremost, this data collection probably isn’t going to hurt you. It’s definitely a little weird to think about, but in the long run, it’s not necessarily tied to you as a human being. Let’s put it this way:


Let’s say, in the course of a week, three thousand people do a search for “soda,” two thousand people do a search for “pop” and a thousand people do a search for “coke.” Of those six thousand people, you are somewhere in there, looking for a soft drink. Google gathers this level of data to tell advertisers what words people use to look for certain types of products. Those advertisers can then make the decision on how they word their ads and what terms they pay money for. The data is, more or less, anonymous. Not every single company works this way (Facebook and Zoom have had data privacy scandals involving personally identifiable information), but that’s generally the gist of how this information gets used.


It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however, and some people have just decided to take more steps to be as anonymous as possible online, and Duck Duck Go is a good search engine for those who don’t want Google to know what they are looking for.


Duck Duck Go will give you totally different results from Google and Bing, but it doesn’t use any information about you, anonymous or otherwise. It also does little to warn you when something is fraudulent. Don’t get us wrong, you can run into scams, malware, and other threats from Google results, but Duck Duck Go has fewer layers of protection.


It also means the results aren’t going to be as localized. Looking for a nearby restaurant will only base your location on the location of your Internet Service Provider, so it might not be as accurate.


All that said, Duck Duck Go is a relatively safe option, and if you are uncomfortable with Google knowing what you search for and using that to curate your results, it’s a pretty solid solution.


An alternative to Duck Duck Go that follows a similar privacy philosophy is Qwant, a French search engine that doesn’t collect user data.

Which Search Engine Is Right For You?

It’s pretty unlikely that another search engine is going to topple the big G, but if you are more concerned about your online privacy, Duck Duck Go or Qwant are pretty good solutions. As with anything, you should always be mindful of what information you are giving up, and be careful what you click on. Even if the search engines themselves are safe, the websites they point to might not always be secure.




11 28 22

What Search Engine is Truly the Best, Part 1

What are the major differences with the search engines, and which search engine should you use? First, let’s talk about the world’s most popular search engine by far, Google.

Even if you lived under a rock, you’ve probably done a Google search or two. There are, in fact, other search engines, each with their own pros and cons. We’re going to compare some of the most popular search engines and talk about what makes them different.

Google is By Far the Most Popular Search Engine on the Planet

At the time of writing this, it’s calculated that every single second, a search is performed on Google 99,000 times. That adds up to 8.5 billion searches every day. It’s predicted that more than 92 percent of all internet searches are done on Google, but it’s possible that number is even higher.


Either way, people all over the world are more likely to say “I’ll just Google it” instead of “I’ll just search the web.”


You don’t hear anybody say “We’ll let me just Bing that,” and use Google’s closest search engine competitor, which handles about 3.5 percent of all searches, worldwide.

So what makes Google so special?



Google is extremely good at giving you accurate results based on what you are looking for.


Google uses hundreds of different signals to determine what should and shouldn’t come up when you search for something, and it does it all within half a second or so, while sifting through over 30 trillion web pages to give you the best results possible.


Is it perfect? Of course not.


Can Google be tricked? Eh, sometimes. People are always trying to get their websites to rank for certain terms. This process is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a legitimate process for businesses trying to compete against their competitors on the search engines, but it can lead to bad, misleading, or undesirable results showing up on the search results page. That being said, Google is good about making it very difficult to manipulate your ranking without actually putting in a lot of hard work, so it’s less likely that inaccurate results will show up compared to the other search engines.


Still, Google tends to get you to the best result, and it gets you there the fastest.


Google Searches are Custom-Tailored to You

Here’s the other really cool thing about Google. Everyone’s search experience is a little bit unique to them. Google takes a lot of context into consideration, including your location, your past search history, the device you are on, and other information that Google knows about you, and provides curated results.


This means when you are traveling, as long as the device you are using knows its location and is letting Google know this info, you can search for a pizza place and get localized results. Google takes a ton of data points into consideration for every single query.


This isn’t always a good thing though.


Studies have been done in the past that show that Google’s search engine can sometimes contribute to a filter bubble. While this is much more common on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the same can apply in some ways to Google searches.


Think of it like this. If you surround yourself with people who, for instance, truly believe that the moon is made out of cheese, you might start to see more and more information about the cheese moon than you did before. Your newfound cheese-moon friends will share news articles about how the moon is cheese. They will share memes and come up with silly nicknames for cheese-moon non-believers (like Non-Brie-lievers). They will get into fights on social media about whether the moon is more like Mozzarella or more like Gorgonzola. They will claim that all the non-brie-lievers are trying to shutter and bury any facts about how the moon is made out of cheese by sharing peer-reviewed articles from “fringe” agencies like NASA.


The point is, this creates sort of a bubble effect based on the way content algorithms work. If a platform like Facebook or Google knows that you’ll spend more time using them by keeping you happy with all the cheese-moon-affirmational content your heart desires, it’s going to be a little less accurate. If you spend a considerable amount of time seeking out results based on any particular filter bubble you are in, platforms like Google will likely curate some results that keep you trapped inside that filter bubble.


The trouble is that you won’t mind, your opinion about the cheese moon isn’t going to change, and everything you use online is helping you affirm this.


So yeah. Google is neat, and generally accurate, but it has been proven that sometimes it can go a little too far for some people. Over the last few years, Google has taken major steps to find a balance, which is actually the main reason Google doesn’t have the 98 percent market share it used to. Many folks have walked away from Google simply because it started to cater less to their fringe beliefs when it comes to hot button issues.

What are the Alternatives?

Now that the Big G is out of the way, in our next blog, we’re going to go over some of the alternatives. Be sure to stay tuned to our blog and social media.


10 24 22

Tips to Help You Determine How Much Bandwidth You Need

How Much Internet Speed is Essential for the Seamless Functioning of Your Business?

For small businesses, having a fast, reliable Internet connection is needed to run all the digital tools that your staff has come to depend on. If you don’t have the bandwidth in place, you can deal with bottlenecks that can ruin communications, stall productivity, and cause operational issues of all types. Today, we’ll take a look at how to determine the amount of bandwidth you need to support your business’ computing infrastructure.

What Exactly Is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth = internet connection speed
Bandwidth = internet connection speed

There is a misconception that bandwidth is the speed of the Internet that you obtain through your chosen service provider. It does play a role, but it is not synonymous with connection speed. Bandwidth is actually the measurement of the amount of data that can be sent over your Internet connection and across your network in general in a designated time frame; typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The more bandwidth you have, the more data can be transmitted at one time. With a lot of businesses now leaning quite heavily on digital tools, knowing how much bandwidth your company needs is extremely important.

What You Need to Know to Get the Bandwidth Your Company Needs?

The first thing that you need to get the bandwidth your company needs is to find a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider). Not all ISPs are created equal and for business purposes having an ISP that can easily scale your bandwidth to your needs is an important factor. You also don’t want to overpay, and waste your operational capital.

What are upload and download speeds?

The bandwidth required by your enterprise largely depends on the upload speed as well as the download speed you need in a bid to carry out your day-to-day operations seamlessly.

Upload Speeds

As suggested by the name, upload speed indicates the time it takes for data such as a file or a video to be sent from a device on your network to another device at some other location, or to a cloud storage system. 5 Mbps is considered to be the average recommended upload speed for the completion of generic business tasks such as voice/video calls. Depending on the heaviness of everyday tasks, higher speeds might be required.

Download Speeds

Download speed refers to the time taken for your computer or other device to receive data. Right from accessing a website, to watching a video, and even uploading files – requires fast download speeds. If you are wondering what download speed do I need for my business, then in the present day scenario of high reliability on internet-connected devices, we recommend choosing an internet service provider that offers speeds of 25 Mbps or higher.

Of course, these are just recommendations based on average usage. Depending on the your specific business needs, the bandwidth and the subsequent internet speed that you need may differ.

Let’s look at the variables you have to consider when choosing the right amount of bandwidth for your business:

The Number of Connected Devices

How many devices are connected simultaneaously
How many devices are connected simultaneaously

This is pretty simple. The more devices that need to be connected to the Internet, the more bandwidth you are going to need; especially if these devices are consistently being used to access Internet-fueled applications. You also need to take into account all the mobile devices that are connected to the network. In many cases they will outnumber workstations and other hardware.

The Type of Applications Used

Your business has a unique profile that is made up of all the tools you use and the processes that govern their use. For basic use, such as online browsing, email, and social media, a company would only need about one Mbps per user. Most businesses nowadays use their Internet connection for much more than this. Activities like VoIP calling, video conferencing, video streaming, and cloud computing can multiply this by up to five times. Hence, how much speed you will need, both in terms of download speeds and upload speed will largely depend on the applications that your employees regularly use. For instance, a business that uses video conferencing often or needs to stream video will need relatively less download speeds than a business wherein the employees need to participate in online gaming.

Type of Internet Connections

In the present day scenario, whether the need for internet bandwidth is ever increasing and streaming video services, hosting multiple users across multiple devices, ultra high definition videos have all become commonplace even in office spaces fiber optic lines are fast becoming the most reliable way to enjoy the best internet speed in the available bandwidth. While fiber optic connections are still not commonly found across the US and may even prove to be slightly heavy on the pocket, when it comes to faster speeds, these connections prove to be ideal.

In most urban and rural areas, however, satellite internet is still the norm. Given that satellite internet users often report slower speeds and finicky connections, satellite internet connections may just offer the bare minimum download speed, which may not be sufficient for your business operations to run smoothly.

Age and ability of devices

While this may sound insignificant, the age, version and type of devices used by your employees, can actually undermine the internet speeds offered by your chosen connection. If the devices are too old or slow, they may not enjoy the seamless internet connectivity that your chosen bandwidth offers. Moreover, old devices with outdated software will also adversely impact how much data is used for the same functions, as compared to newer devices which are designed for more efficient use of data. This is especially true when devices connected to the internet are required to use a streaming service or multiple streaming apps.

Hence, it is crucial that your employees use newer devices, with updated versions.

This is why it is important to get a good read on all the potential uses your business has to build a connection that works to support your business’ computing requirements.

Why Point North Networks?

At Point North Networks, we know how important the Internet is for your business. Our consultants can help you estimate the level of bandwidth you need, and can actively help you acquire that bandwidth so that you can operate as efficiently as possible. Give us a call today at 651-234-0895 to talk to one of our IT professionals to set up an assessment of your Internet connection and applications to give your business the best chance of success.

Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Speed Required by Businesses

How to determine the upload speeds that I need for my enterprise?

For generic business tasks such as sending emails, sharing small files and making calls over the internet, upload speeds of 5 Mbps prove to be ideal. However, if you have upwards of 15 employees who regularly need to undertake heavier tasks such as server hosting, seamless streaming and conferencing then the upload speed you need will go up to 20 Mbps.

How much Mbps does a small business need?

While emails and web browsing can be easily accomplished with a bandwidth ranging from 5Mbps to 10 Mbps. However, if the number of employees is higher, or if applications like video streaming and conferencing are regularly used, you may need a connection speed of at least 25 Mbps. But wait, there is a catch. The internet speed listed by your provider is what you get through a wired connection. Since most devices connected to the internet use a Wi-Fi connection, the actual speed your employees will get will only be 50-60% of the advertised speed. Hence, it is recommended to opt for double the speed you need.

What is the 20 Mbps Rule?

When deciding the minimum speed that your business requires, a good rule of thumb is to factor in 20 Mbps for every device that will be using the internet simultaneously. This will ensure that all users enjoy optimal download and upload speeds, even when using heavier applications such as online games, Youtube TV, etc.