Unbubble.eu Search Engine (US ver.), a Review

I thought I should post a quick review of the US version of Unbubble.eu a neutral and privacy based search engine.  I used Unbubble as my default, daily search for two weeks to test it on typical searches.

It is important to note that this is a review of the US version of Unbubble.  Unbubble is a European search engine and really isn’t intended for American audience nor should it be.  Therefore much of what I say may not apply to the German, Spanish, UK English, French, Dutch, Turkish and Polish versions.  You should try them for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Unbubble is a metasearch engine, which means it draws it’s search results from many other search engines and directories and does not have it’s own index.  This is how Unbubble is maintaining neutral search results and getting around any bias a single search engine might have.  As Unbubble’s name implies they eliminate the search bubble because of having many sources and by not tracking you and adapting the algo to match your past behavior.  This is a good thing.  I think they succeed in this goal so points to them for that.

Like most metasearch engines, Unbubble US does a decent job on broad searches.  Where it falls down is on detailed searches and some navigational searches.

Broad searches: when I search for “science fiction” I get a respectable set of good results.  I like that they list the source engines.  I’m seeing: Mojeek, Exactseek, Yandex, BigFinder, Faroo as sources which is good, give the smaller engines a chance.  I found that all these smaller engines put together produce some good results for nice broad searches.  Unbubble’s use of these smaller search engines and directories is what got me to try it.  Points to them

Navigational searches: I found that sometimes Unbubble could not find the URL of the company or website I was seeking.  It did list other websites that either mention it or link to it or sometimes you would see an interior page from the website you wanted but not the index page.  This shows that the sources just didn’t have indexes that were big enough to handle the job.

Detailed searches: these are generally five or six word searches trying to find very specific information. Many times on these, Unbubble just did not do very well, and if they did, I got just one page of results. None of the sources had the really deep indexes required for these searches.

One difference between when I did my test and what I’m seeing now: a few weeks ago, on more detailed searches, I would see some German sites slipped into the results from Fastbot (if I remember right) today I’m seeing some results from Fastbot but they are in English.  The results might be improved because of this.

Speed: This is Unbubble’s weakest feature. It’s slow. When you do a search you get a little swirly thing and you feel you are back on dialup.  There is a lot of JavaScript on the site and that may be the reason in addition to trying to call results in from many different sources, but the end result is slowness.

Conclusion: Unbubble US is not what I would chose as my daily search engine.  The slowness and the lack of good results on detailed searches became an obsticle for me.  As I said above, the US is not really the intended audience for this search engine.  I would urge people from the countries listed above to give Unbubble a try.  You have nothing to lose and you might really like the results.


Brad Enslen @bradenslen


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