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SearchScene Reviews

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Editor's Overall Rating:
Average User Rating:
(based on 5 reviews)

Category: Charitable Search Engines
Website: http://www.searchscene.com



Editor's Review Costs & Features User Reviews
 
No1Reviews.com's Gold Award

SearchScene Review


by No1Reviews.com. Last updated: 20 March 2020

We have awarded SearchScene our prestigious Gold Award in this category, having reviewed 16 Charitable Search Engines. Read our review below to find out why...


Editor's Star Ratings:

Charities Supported:
Search Results:
Search Experience:
User Experience:
Features:
Privacy Protection:
Browser Extensions:
Overall Star Rating:

Editor's Review:

SearchScene is the only charitable search engine that donates to major international charities. SearchScene donates 95% of its profits to charity - more than any other search engine. SearchScene also provides the best search experience of all the charitable search engines we've reviewed, which includes engaging, rich content in the search results. For this reason, SearchScene is our #1 rated charity search engine.

 
  SearchScene donates 95% of its profits to charity - more than any other search engine.  


 

Charities Supported:

SearchScene claims to focus its donations on charities that fight climate change and the effects of climate change. Whilst this is true, the charities it supports not only fight the effects of climate change, but also fight global poverty, fight social injustice, help provide drinking water and toilets, help the world's most vulnerable children, and protect wildlife. SearchScene donates its profits to the following well-known international charities:

  • Eden Reforestation Projects, helping to plant trees in the world's poorest places, which helps to fight climate change and gives local villagers a decent wage, thereby lifting them out of extreme poverty;
  • Oxfam, helping to fight global poverty and alleviate suffering in the world's most deprived areas, including the suffering caused by climate change;
  • UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), helping to support refugees fleeing from war zones, famine, floods, and climate-driven devastation;
  • UNICEF (the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), helping to support children in danger around the world, including the millions affected by climate change;
  • WaterAid, helping to provide clean drinking water and toilets in the world's poorest places, reducing the spread of disease and improving living conditions; and
  • WWF (the World Wildlife Fund), helping to protect wildlife, safeguard the environment and fight climate change.

Whilst the work conducted by these charities is far-ranging, they all have a hand in either fighting the causes of climate change or alleviating the suffering caused by the devastating effects of climate change in the world's most deprived places. You can read more about the charities that SearchScene supports here - https://www.searchscene.com/charities

SearchScene donates 95% of its profits to charity. This makes it the world's most generous charitable search engine. If you want your searches to have the greatest impact, you can do no better than to search on SearchScene.

If you do not wish to support all these charities, then you can select the ones you want to support by clicking on the heart-shaped charity icon at the top right of any page and making your selection. So if you only care about the environment and climate change, then Eden Reforestation Projects and WWF would be good charities to select. Each search you make counts as a vote and that vote is divided up between the charities you support. SearchScene will then divide up their charitable contributions accordingly. More on that here - https://www.searchscene.com/charity-voting-system.

In particular, anyone moving from Ecosia to SearchScene will be pleased to find that they can also support a tree-planting charity at SearchScene. Eden Reforestation Projects is one of the world's largest tree-planting charities and is already the recipient of much of Ecosia's charitable donations.

 
  SearchScene also provides the best search experience of all the charitable search engines we've reviewed.  


 

Search Experience:

The most important aspect of any search engine is, of course, the search experience. If you are giving up Google to use SearchScene, then you will want your search experience to be as close as possible to the search experience you had with Google. In this regard, SearchScene does not disappoint. SearchScene is mainly powered by Bing but the search results are enhanced using SearchScene's own algorithms. It is one of just a handful of charitable search engines that will give you the rich-content you have come to expect from Google's search results. This rich content includes relevant images, videos and top news stories with thumbnails embedded in your main search results - just like Google. As with Google and Bing, these images, videos and news thumbnails are loaded in a carousel, where you can click (or swipe) right to see more items.

 

Advanced knowledge panels:

As on Google or Bing, you will find an advanced knowledge panel with more information relevant to your search query to the right of the main search results (on your computer) or above the main search results (on your tablet or phone).

On SearchScene (just like on Google and Bing) this knowledge panel contains a lot of additional data, broken down into easily digestible lists. For music-related searches you are likely to find a list of songs, albums and similar artists, all with accompanying thumbnails. For movie-related searches you are likely to find cast information, critic reviews and a list of similar movies - all with thumbnail images. If you search for an actor you are likely to see a list of the movies and TV shows they've starred in. If you search for a book you're likely to find some book reviews, a list of books by the same author, as well as a list of similar books - all with thumbnail images. And if you search for an author, you'll probably find a list of the books they've written - again, all with thumbnail book-cover images. But this is where SearchScene goes even further than Google or Bing, because SearchScene's knowledge panels are divided into tabs, giving you a lot more information at your fingertips. For example, if you searched for a movie, you can instantly see the full cast of the movie by clicking on the "Cast" tab at the top of the knowledge panel. On Google and Bing, this would normally require an additional search.

You can see this in action in the search results below for Billy Joel. The search results contain videos and top news stories about Billy Joel, both of which are in a sliding carousel where you can click (or swipe) to the right to reveal more videos and top stories. But check out the knowledge panel to the right, where you get a lot more facts about Billy Joel, along with his list of top songs (all with playable snippets), albums and similar artists. Notice the tabs across the top of the knowledge panel, giving you access to "Summary", "Songs", "Albums", "Movies & TV" and "Similar" artists. Not even Google and Bing provide this much information!


Search results are mainly powered by Bing with an advanced knowledge panel displayed to the right of the main search results. Rich-content includes images, top news stories and videos.
Search results are mainly powered by Bing with an advanced knowledge panel displayed to the right of the main search results. Rich-content includes images, top news stories and videos.

As with most other search engines, additional tabs are provided at the top of the search results for dedicated image searches and video searches. Like Google and Bing, images are loaded as a gallery, where you just click on the image to see a larger version.


Images are loaded as a gallery in the image tab. Click on an image for an expanded view.
Images are loaded as a gallery in the image tab. Click on an image for an expanded view.

Like Bing, but unlike Google, video search results are also loaded as a gallery of thumbnail videos. Unlike either Google or Bing, most of these videos will play as embedded videos on the SearchScene site, without redirecting you elsewhere. SearchScene will also show you 50 video results per page, in large thumbnails, whereas Google will only provide 10 video results per page using very small thumbnails. In this regard, SearchScene does a much better job of showcasing the video search results than Google does.


Video thumbnails are loaded in a gallery in the videos tab. Many of the videos will play on the page in an expanded panel, without you having to leave the site.
Video thumbnails are loaded in a gallery in the videos tab. Many of the videos will play on the page in an expanded panel, without you having to leave the site.

As with most search engines, additional filters (or Search Tools) are provided above the search results to allow you to filter the results by freshness (as well as size, color and aspect ratio on the image search tab).

SearchScene also offers autosuggestions, much like Google and Bing - these are a list of search suggestions that drop down under the search box as you start to type. These are very useful and you may have taken them for granted, but beyond Google and Bing they are not as common as you might think on alternative search engines.


As with Google and Bing, autosuggestions appear below the search box as you type.
As with Google and Bing, autosuggestions appear below the search box as you type.

We are confident that for 99% of searches you would not know the difference between SearchScene and Google in terms of their search results. And for those cases where you do notice a difference, the difference will not be that great. A small price to pay for saving the planet!

 

Dark Mode:

A really great feature on SearchScene is its dark mode. Flick a switch in the side menu and all your search results will go dark. This is really great for browsing the web in bed at night on your phone or laptop, as it reduces eye strain tremendously. It also uses slightly less energy than the traditional white-background display, so it also helps save the planet just that little bit more. But apart from that, we think it's really cool and it's our default setting when we browse the web using SearchScene in our offices. You can check out the search results in dark mode for the Batman movie below.


Switch to dark mode and your search results will go dark. Great for reducing eye strain in low light and looks pretty cool, we think.
Switch to dark mode and your search results will go dark. Great for reducing eye strain in low light and looks pretty cool, we think.

 

User Experience:

The first thing you'll notice when you visit SearchScene is the homepage with its stunning wallpaper scenery that changes daily. In this regard, SearchScene have very much modeled themselves on Bing, with its scenic homepage. Bing, who have long called themselves the "world's most beautiful search engine", now have stiff competition for that title from SearchScene. SearchScene state that you can "explore some of the world's most beautiful places as you search" and this much is certainly true.

You can click on the image info box at the bottom right of the homepage for the name of the scenic location and you can click on the left and right arrows to navigate through the past 7 days of wallpaper images - much like Bing. (Visit the user settings page to select your preferred wallpaper resolution.) Unlike Bing, SearchScene also allows you to "Pin" an image, so if you see a wallpaper image you like, you can pin it to your homepage and it will load every day - the "pin" button is located at the bottom right of the homepage. Simply "Unpin" it to revert to the daily changing wallpaper.


One of SearchScene's stunning homepages that change daily
One of SearchScene's stunning homepages that change daily

SearchScene will also allow you to select your own image to use as your wallpaper - want your SearchScene homepage to show you a picture of your pet, child, girlfriend, boyfriend or your favorite sports team? No problem! Just use the "Select Image" button from the side menu and you can choose any image you like from your computer, phone or tablet as the wallpaper image. This is another feature that neither Bing nor Google have.

Furthermore, if you find that the search box is in the way of the homepage scenery, you can simply drag it to your preferred location on the page (desktop only). This is a nice touch!

If you would prefer to have a Google-style blank homepage, then you can select the blank version of SearchScene from the side menu or navigate to blank.searchscene.com. Use the side menu to navigate back to the scenic homepage again, or simply visit www.searchscene.com. The website will remember your preference and so will return you to your preferred homepage each time you click on the SearchScene logo.

 

SearchScene !Snaps

A useful feature provided by SearchScene is SearchScene !Snaps - these are shortcuts that can be used to jump directly to other sites, usually search engines or social media sites. So if you can't find what you're looking for on SearchScene, simply add !g to the start or end of your search term, and your search query will be executed directly on Google. Want your search to be executed on Bing instead, add !b to your search query. Use !y to search Youtube, use !f to search facebook, use !insta to search instagram, simply use !maps to jump to Google Maps, and so on. The most commonly used !Snaps are also provided in a drop down menu at the top of each page of search results (simply click the "Snap To..." button for the drop down list). A full list of the !Snaps supported can be found here - https://www.searchscene.com/searchscene-snaps

 

Privacy:

SearchScene is a "privacy friendly" search engine. It states that it does not store your searches or any identifying attributes, such as your IP address. However, as with most charitable search engines, it does use Bing as the basis for most of its search results and, in that regard, you will also be subject to Bing's privacy policy. Thankfully, Bing's privacy policy is quite good in that, whilst it does store your searches and IP address, it deletes them after 6 months. To be honest, anything is a step up from Google's privacy policy!

As with most (although not all) search engines, your searches on SearchScene are end-to-end encrypted, meaning that no one else, including your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can see what you searched for.

SearchScene also do not use third-party analytics tools (the most common of which is Google Analytics) to monitor your search behavior on their site. This prevents Google or any third-party analytics or ad-tech firm from accessing your search terms.

In common with most reputable search engines, SearchScene also promises not to sell any of your data to advertisers. For added peace of mind, SearchScene also delete their server logs automatically every 30 days, wiping away all trace of you from their servers.


One of SearchScene's many nature scenes. You can choose your own image from the side menu if you prefer, or load the blank version of SearchScene for a minimalist experience and instant loading.
One of SearchScene's many nature scenes. You can choose your own image from the side menu if you prefer, or load the blank version of SearchScene for a minimalist experience and instant loading.

 

Speed & Reliability:

SearchScene uses AWS (Amazon Web Services) to host their site, which makes it as fast and reliable as it gets. AWS is a cloud-based web host, so your search results will come from the hub nearest to you. Also, it will handle any number of users, making the site truly scalable. SearchScene also use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to deliver static content, such as their wallpaper scenery. A CDN has many more nodes than a standard or cloud-based web host and this makes it blazingly fast on all but the slowest internet connections.

 
  SearchScene raises the bar for charitable search engines and finally provides a viable alternative to Google and Bing that most users would be happy switching to.  


 

Eco-Credentials:

By using AWS for their servers, SearchScene have done a pretty good job at being eco-friendly. As a large-scale cloud provider, AWS uses 84% less energy than standard web hosts and they also support their energy needs with the use of wind farms, geothermal and solar farms, located all over the world. As a result, AWS are currently able to provide 50% of their energy demands from renewable sources with a commitment to becoming 100% reliant on renewable energy in the near-future. Also, Bing (who supply the majority of SearchScene's search results) are carbon neutral.

Also, of course, don't forget that, as a charitable search engine that supports climate change charities, including the tree-planting charity Eden Reforestation Projects, SearchScene are easily able to offset what remains of their carbon footprint.

 

Browser Extensions:

SearchScene offers a number of browser extensions, one for Chrome, one for Firefox and one for the Edge browser. The browser extensions basically set SearchScene as your homepage, set SearchScene as your default search engine (which affects your browser search box and omnibox), and also loads SearchScene in each new tab you open. If using a browser extension isn't your thing, then simply click on the "Make SearchScene My Homepage" link in the side menu or footer to get browser-specific instructions on setting SearchScene as your homepage.


SearchScene's browser extensions automatically load the SearchScene homepage when you open your browser or open a new tab. This happens almost instantly.
SearchScene's browser extensions automatically load the SearchScene homepage when you open your browser or open a new tab. This happens almost instantly.

The site doesn't have any mobile apps available yet, but you can add SearchScene to your phone's home screen by following the instructions in the side menu. This places a SearchScene icon on your phone's home screen and allows you to access SearchScene with just one tap - in this regard, it looks and feels exactly like an app, except that the site opens in your default browser instead of inside an app.

You can also manually set SearchScene as your default search engine and homepage within the Firefox mobile app - simply download the Firefox browser from your app store and change your homepage and default search engine to SearchScene.com within Firefox's settings.

 

Conclusion:

SearchScene raises the bar for charitable search engines and finally provides a viable alternative to Google and Bing that most users would be happy switching to. Whether its in terms of its outstanding search experience, its stunning homepage, the fact that it is the only search engine to support major international charities or the fact that it donates more of its profits to charity than any other search engine, SearchScene is easily the best charitable search engine in our view. Make it your default search engine for just one week and see what it feels like to help save the planet with every search you make!

If you're an existing Ecosia user or you're torn between Ecosia and SearchScene, you can find a detailed description of some of the main differences between Ecosia and SearchScene here, along with screenshots that show you clearly why SearchScene is a better search engine.

 

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