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OceanHero is a search engine that makes its revenue from advertising, just like Google and Bing. However, unlike Google, OceanHero donates 50% of its profits to ocean cleaning projects via its partners Plastic Bank and Waste Free Oceans. (It is worth noting at this point that by donating just 50% of their profits to the cause they support, makes OceanHero one of the least generous charitable search engines we've reviewed, contrasting sharply with the 80% donated by Ecosia and the 95% donated by SearchScene - our top choice here).
Without healthy oceans, oceanic life would cease, and the knock-on effects would mean devastation for the earth and every life form on its surface. It's therefore a major disaster that our oceans are filled with plastics, from bottles to microscopic plastics which may even enter humans through the food chain. So, what can each of us do about this potential catastrophic problem? Of course, we could all use less plastics, recycle more and petition for plastic-using companies to take more environmentally safe options, as well as actually funding or joining charities which work in plastics removals.
OceanHero donates 50% of its profits to ocean cleaning projects via its partners Plastic Bank and Waste Free Oceans.
OceanHero donate 50% of their profits to two organisations: Plastic Bank and Waste Free Oceans.
Plastic Bank is a for-profit social enterprise that pays local people to collect "ocean-bound" plastic waste from the shores, beaches and landfill. The local people return the plastic waste to various Plastic Bank collection stores and receive payment or other benefits such as cooking oil, heating oil, school tuition, and more. Plastic Bank have collection centers is Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, and, most recently, Egypt.
Waste Free Oceans is a Brussels-based non-profit that collects and transforms ocean plastic into new, innovative products. They work with local fishermen all over the world to collect waste from the oceans using trawls attached to the back of their fishing boats. These fishermen can then fish for ocean plastic on their idle fishing days, collecting between 2 and 8 tonnes of marine litter on each journey. Apart from that, Waste Free Oceans also organise beach cleanup events to collect plastic waste from beaches. They operate in various countries around the world in Asia, Europe, America and the Middle East.
OceanHero focus entirely on supporting these two charities to clean plastic from the oceans and land. They do not allow you to choose your own charities, as many other charitable search engines do.
Like most charitable search engines, OceanHero supply a search counter at the top right of the website to tell you how many searches you've done. Every 5 searches you make enables OceanHero to remove one ocean-bound plastic bottle from the land or ocean. A new feature on OceanHero is that you can collect bottles as a group or syndicate, allowing you to pool your search counter with other members of your group.
OceanHero's search results are provided by Bing. Autosuggestions appear as you type your search query into the search box, in line with most other (although not all) charitable search engines. The main web search results on OceanHero contain the same rich content you are likely to find on Bing, as well as on Ecosia, SearchScene and Youcare. This includes image results, news results and video results, all with associated thumbnail images and all embedded in a sliding carousel.
OceanHero have gone further than most charitable search engines by providing a knowledge panel to the right of the search results with detailed information from Wikipedia. A few other charitable search engines have included a short paragraph from Wikipedia to the right of the main search results, but only SearchScene and OceanHero have gone so far as to include detailed information from Wikipedia's infobox (with SearchScene having gone even further to provide a fully-fledged knowledge panel, comparable to the ones you would find on Google or Bing). In doing this, OceanHero have vastly improved their search results, giving lots of detailed information on all sorts of informational search results, for example: a search for "Donald Trump" will reveal his age, the names of his family members, his net worth, and so on.
OceanHero also includes "Images", "Videos" and "News" tabs for dedicated image, video and news-related searches, all of which are supplied by Bing. The image search returns images in a gallery of images, where you can expand each image by clicking on it (in the same way you can on SearchScene, Ecosia, Youcare, etc.). Video search results are returned as a long list of 35 videos, all with small thumbnails, in the same style as Google and Ecosia (contrasting with Bing, SearchScene and Youcare, who have opted to display their videos in a gallery-style, with much larger thumbnails). News results are also returned as a list of 10 items of news related to your search.
OceanHero also contain links to maps, shopping, books, flights and finance, although these all redirect to Google
Apart from the usual search results, OceanHero have also included a number of widgets that you may have taken for granted on Google and Bing. These include a calculator, a weather widget and dictionary definitions. Simply search for the word "calculator" to return the calculator, search for the weather in any particular area to return the weather forecast in a Google-style weather widget and search for a word to return a dictionary definition instant answer.
At the top of the search results you will find a link to Google, allowing you to repeat your search on Google, should you fail to find what you're looking for on OceanHero. This is an important feature that's included on many charitable search engines, and essentially means that there's no downside to using the site, since, with the click of a button, you can repeat your search on Google if you need to.
OceanHero's homepage is a relatively blank homepage with just the search box in the middle. Google set the trend for this minimalist appearance more than 20 years ago and nearly all the search engines on our list have followed suit (the exception being SearchScene, which has opted for daily changing scenery on the homepage, in the same style as Bing). Beneath the search box, there is a counter counting the number of plastic bottles that have been removed. The search counter at the top right of the page allows you to progress through various levels as your search count increases, e.g. "Beach Dreamer", "Sun Tanner", "Shore Walker", etc. This attempt to gamify the experience of searching the web may be seen by many as a harmless gimmick, although for some it may encourage them to use the site.
On the search results page there is an "Ocean Mode" switch. Flick this and your search results page background turns into a pleasing ocean scene. The main upside of this is that it reduces eye-strain from the bright white background while using the site in low-light (a bit like the dark mode on SearchScene). The downside is that, depending on your monitor size, the background can look too busy and gets in the way of the search results (see the screenshot above for an example of this). However, on wide-screen monitors, this background seems to work quite well without getting in the way of the search results.
Other than collecting plastics from the ocean, OceanHero do not appear to have any specific eco-credentials.
OceanHero have set themselves up as a counter-point to Ecosia, where Ecosia plant trees and do good work on the land, OceanHero collect ocean-bound plastic and do good work in the sea.
OceanHero have set themselves up as a counter-point to Ecosia, where Ecosia plant trees and do good work on the land, OceanHero collect ocean-bound plastic and do good work in the sea. OceanHero have amassed a great many followers in the short time that they've been in operation and have so far apparently collected over 10 million plastic bottles and counting. Their search results are better than those of Ecosia in our view: although both Ecosia and OceanHero are powered by Bing, OceanHero have gone much further in integrating a Wikipedia-style knowledge panel to the right of their search results for all search results that include a Wikipedia link (which is around a third of them, would you believe). This gives you far more factual information related to your search query than you would get from Ecosia. The "Ocean Mode" switch is also a nice touch and gives your search results a pleasing ocean background feel.
By donating just 50% of their profits to ocean cleaning, OceanHero are among the least generous charitable search engine we've reviewed. This means they are as much in it for the money as the cause that they champion. Compare this to the 95% donated by SearchScene and the 80% donated by Ecosia and Youcare, and you will immediately see that your searches will have far more of an impact by using one of the charitable search engines that rank higher on our top 10 list. Check out our comparison chart to see the percentages that each charitable search engine donates from their profits.
By using Google Analytics to track their traffic and user behaviour, OceanHero are effectively sending all your search queries and your IP address to Google (as well as Bing, who supply their search results). They are also sending data on every website you visit and every video you watch to Google too. This gives OceanHero one of the worst privacy policies on our list of charitable search engines. Our top choices in this category (SearchScene and Ecosia) have deliberately avoided using Google Analytics on their websites for the sake of their users' privacy, with SearchScene going even further and automatically wiping its own server logs every 30 days. If privacy is a concern to you, then it's probably best to avoid OceanHero.
If ocean cleaning is important to you, then SearchScene supports WWF, who spend a great deal of resources in supporting projects that help clean the oceans of plastic. SearchScene allow you to select other charities too, such as Eden Reforestation Projects, which will give you the best of both worlds - ocean cleaning and tree planting (like Ecosia and OceanHero rolled into one). And since SearchScene donate 95% of their profits to charity, you can be sure that your searches will have more of an impact there than by using OceanHero.
For a more detailed comparison of OceanHero and SearchScene, check out our article on SearchScene vs OceanHero, which compares their search results as well as their charitable donations.
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