This year has been extraordinary for Kagi ( https://kagi.com ).

Kagi is a paid alternative to ad-supported search engines like Google and DuckDuckGo. It has recently revised its pricing model, reducing the cost for a plan with unmetered searches from $25 per month to $10.

Kagi boasts the following (and more) features:

  • Blocking or boosting specific domains in your search results
  • “Lenses”, which are individual setting profiles (e.g. region locks, domain whitelists) that can be applied to search queries
  • All of the Bangs that DuckDuckGo has (e.g. type “!yt” in front of your query to immediately search on youtube.com)
  • Universal Summarizer, which works with any website, PDF document, YouTube video and more

This blog post goes into full details about Kagi’s capabilities.

I’m intrigued, but I don’t want to login to a search engine :/

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Why the hell would you pay for search when the free competitors are just better

Also it’s automatically not private when it requires a login. They know exactly what user is searching what, and basically breaks search in incognito mode. Also people love more accounts to manage.

“If it’s free then you’re the product” isn’t even true when search engines are ad supported, so stick with the much better free alternatives.

If you really want to pay while not having to login, self-host a searx instance and you’ll be logging your own data. You’ll have complete control, it’s significantly cheaper, and it’s far more private without having to even login.

Mnglw
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what search engines are actually good these days?

because that’s the problem, they aren’t

search results have gone down a sharp hill lately

I don’t think Kagi is the answer, but there is a problem - a big one

@dan@upvote.au
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Why the hell would you pay for search when the free competitors are just better

Providing the service is not free, especially something like search that uses a LOT of storage and compute power to index websites. That’s very expensive to do. There’s two options as to how to pay for it:

  1. Pay for it yourself (like what Kagi is doing)
  2. Have someone else pay for it for you. For example, advertising like what Google and Bing do

The latter is what people mean when they say “you’re the product”. The advertisers are the customers.

self-host a searx instance

Two totally different things.

Searx is a search engine aggregation service. It is not a search engine itself, and you still need the backend search engines to make it useful. Searx could use Kagi though.

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Kagi doesn’t index, it’s Google results as a proxy. That’s literally what Searx does, and it’s free. The issues you said with needing to pay for search is solved with Searx even if you claim it doesn’t, it does. Also other search engines like DDG does a crawler + bing results is funded by ads, they’re profitable. The mental gymnastics to pay for a shitty service makes no sense to me, but you do you if you want to support this terrible practice. Not to mention the numerous other issues I listed that you ignored.

Searx could use Kagi though.

Lol that makes no sense, and it probably violates Kagi’s ToS. You’re running a self hosted proxy through a service that’s just a proxy for Google results. Just set Searx to search Google for the exact same thing.

“If you aren’t paying for something, you are the product” sounds nice, but isn’t true. Advertisment can exist and you can still not the product.

Instead it somehow makes more sense to pay for a privacy invasive search engine that requires a login, requires cookies, and doesn’t work in private search.

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Typically every search query on Kagi will call a number of different sources at the same time, all with the purpose of bringing the best possible search results to the user.

But most importantly, we are known for our unique results, coming from our web index (internal name - Teclis) and news index (internal name - TinyGem). Kagi’s indexes provide unique results that help you discover non-commercial websites and “small web” discussions surrounding a particular topic.

They just proxy searches and then sort them lol. Definitely caching thrown in there too, as if that even changes anything. You’re paying $10/mo for that when DDG does the same thing for free.

It says right there they have their own index, that they are pulling from Google et Al and also their own. Whether it’s worth $10, I dunno. But it sounds like more than just an aggregator

Peter Bronez
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@abaci @mojo 100% worth it for me.

I switched from Google to #DDG to #Kagi. Even if the results were exactly the same, Kagi is FAST. The whole experience is very snappy.

Beyond that:

- All your DDG bangs work, and you can add custom bangs

- They have some neat AI summarization features.

- You can manually boost/penalize/block domains

- Lenses focus your search on particular kinds of sites

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Comments like these really make this feel like this is astroturfing. It makes no sense to shill for a product this hard, let alone a really privacy invasive one that is worse the free alternatives.

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No ads disguised as search results. Actually, no ads at all. Great search results. Lenses.

Also, there is a solution for incognito mode. And ad supported, in practice means tracked by advertisers, and hence you are the product.

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DDG proves literally all of that false. Also just use AdBlock with it. Elaborate on it working in private browsing without needing to login.

DDG is just a wrapper around Bing and substantially worse than Google, smaller index and less up to date. Not needing a login doesn’t really guarantee you anything either, as they still can identify you by IP or device finger print if they want to. You basically have to trust their marketing that they don’t do that.

What makes Kagi interesting is that it’s actually right up there with Google in terms of results, while surpassing it in terms of features. Would I pay $10/month for Kagi? Nope. It’s good, but not magic. It’s still just regular Internet search and you’ll find most of what it finds with other search engines as well, especially when you hop between multiple. But if you want a better search engine and have the money, Kagi does feel like an upgrade, which the other alternatives just don’t.

@syl@programming.dev
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DDG has ads in the search result. Laginis honestly a great service. You can easily filter results and it removes BS SEO spam…

Why the hell would you pay for search when the free competitors are just better

They aren’t, that is why.

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I’ll chime in and say that I spent a day in a half looking up a weird Python library issue on DDG and Google and had no luck without searching the exact error message and looking at like 7 different results.

To test Kagi I searched using the vague search term I initially started my round of hunting on the other engines. The stack overflow page with the answer was the first result. I know it’s not a perfect test, but in my few days with it, I’ve had FAR more luck finding things in any topic compared to other search engines.

“If it’s free then you’re the product” isn’t even true when search engines are ad supported, so stick with the much better free alternatives.

This is exactly what “you’re the product” means. Google is selling your presence on their platform to advertisers - you are the product they’re selling.

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My comment says search engines. I specifically said that because I was not including Google. I know you specifically mentioned Google because other privacy search engines prove what you say as false. By that logic literally everything with consumers is a product, that’s such a vague statement.

Atemu
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You are also DuckDuckGo’s, StartPage’s and Qwant’s products. They sell your space on screen for ads. Now, they haven’t enshittificatied to nearly the same degree as Google and full enshittification happening is of course not a given but making the user a product is basically step #1 to enshittification.

With Kagi, the product is the search engine service. You pay money and in return you get search results, lenses, bangs and all those neat little features. You are not being sold to 3rd parties. (At least not right now but I honestly don’t see that happening any time soon.)

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I’ll just use AdBlock and get best of both worlds. You also have no idea what kagi is doing with your data, it’s inherently eventually unprivate since it relies on a login. There is nothing wrong with ads, and they keep the service free and able to use it anonymously. The search results on free search engines are also the product here, since they only get paid from using them for results. All products require a userbase so that doesn’t even make sense.

Atemu
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You also have no idea what kagi is doing with your data

We in fact do have an idea what they do and don’t do:

  • Searches are anonymous and private to you. Kagi does not log and associate searches with an account.
  • We do not log or store your IP address. Your IP address is used only temporarily when enriching location/maps searches, and is not shared with any other party.
  • We only store cookies needed for site functionality.
  • We do not use any web browser analytics or other frontend telemetry.
  • We do not display any ads, or have any first-party or third-party tracking in service of ads.
  • We do not share customer data with third parties, except as needed to perform explicitly accessed services. In those cases, we will share the minimum amount of data needed to provide the service, and will do so in an anonymous way.
  • We collect only the data needed to provide and protect the service.
  • We proxy all images to prevent tracking from third parties.
  • We use HTTPS encryption everywhere. All passwords are hashed and salted.

https://kagi.com/privacy

These terms are legally binding. If they did log searches despite these terms, that could end their business.

it’s inherently eventually unprivate since it relies on a login.

Not anonymous != unprivate.

Even if it was, I don’t think it’s different for all of the other search engines. For example: I do not believe for one second that Google can’t identify you without being logged into your account; even with all the blocklisting your typical ad-blocker does.
Go try and fool https://abrahamjuliot.github.io/creepjs/ if you want to go try how little even things like incognito mode help against identification on the web and this is all just relatively simple client-side analysis without behaviour tracking.

There is nothing wrong with ads

I disagree that there is nothing wrong with modern propaganda but that’s a topic for another discussion.

The search results on free search engines are also the product here, since they only get paid from using them for results.

No. That’s the thing, they’re not. Search results only serve to attract users. They only need to be good enough to be acceptable to users; everything beyond that is a waste of time and money from a business perspective.
They receive exactly $0 from you as a user. There is no sale contract between you. Therefore, you are not their customer, you are the product they sell to their actual customers.

Kayn
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Kayn
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There is zero guarantee they are not logging.

There is also zero guarantee that they are logging. Both are equally true.

DDG has ads based off of search keywords.

That’s still using the general DDG userbase as a product. Just because the ads aren’t personalized, doesn’t mean you’re not a product for ad placement.

Wikipedia is entirely donations.

Wikipedia is run by a non-profit organization. If something offered by a business is free, then you are the product.

TheRtRevKaiser
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I think you might need to take a break and cool off. You’re all over this thread getting way too heated for a discussion about a search engine. Please keep in mind Beehaw’s guiding principal and Be Nice.

@festus@lemmy.ca
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Probably a good pricing decision. To avoid hitting the 300/month usage I kept DDG as default and only used Kagi for more complex searches. If I upgrade to this I could then keep Kagi as default.

How does ddg compare? I’ve tried kagi, but didn’t find it much better than ddg. Perhaps I should try again.

@festus@lemmy.ca
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Similar to what other people mentioned, I find it good at filtering out the obvious SEO spam. Otherwise the top 3 results of a search aren’t really different.

Oh sick!! I was already on the $10/month plan. This is great news!!!

Same. Looks like you and I both will be getting unlimited searches now. :D

PenguinCoder
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Samesies :P This is awesome. Love being a user and not the product. EDIT:

With the redirector extension you can import the following to help with muscle memory.

{
    "createdBy": "Redirector v3.5.3",
    "createdAt": "2023-09-22T00:00:00.631Z",
    "redirects": [
       {
            "description": "Google->Kagi",
            "exampleUrl": "https://www.google.com/search?q=kagi%20rocks&sca_esv=011101111&source=dv&ei=CN",
            "exampleResult": "https://kagi.com/search?q=kagi%20rocks",
            "error": null,
            "includePattern": "^(?:https?):\\/\\/(?:www\\.)?google\\.com(\\/?$|(\\/search\\?q=.*?(?=[&])))",
            "excludePattern": "",
            "patternDesc": "Redirect Kagi",
            "redirectUrl": "https://kagi.com$1",
            "patternType": "R",
            "processMatches": "noProcessing",
            "disabled": false,
            "grouped": false,
            "appliesTo": [
                "main_frame"
            ]
        },
    ]
}
snowe
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Same too! I was literally considering the update to the family plan so I could share it. This is welcome news.

Edit: I’m actually going to update to the duo plan. Super affordable now!

We switched to Duo, too. Making that plan unlimited was the las barrier to my spouse jumping aboard the Kagi train. We’re in for the yearly Duo sub as of this evening!

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This is fantastic. I’ve been a $5 Kagi user for a few months and have been really enjoying it. The only issue has been that sometimes when I’m working on a project I need to blow through a ton of similar queries to find what I’m looking for; I’ve been forced to switch back to google for those. Now I’ve upgraded and am going full Kagi.

I probably come in at ~30-50 searches/day so I never really considered it. But unlimited sounds interesting 🤔

@601error@lemmy.ca
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Just heard of this service but I am signing up first thing tomorrow.

This is awesome! I always wanted to try out Kagi but was not huge fan of the original pricing model. I think I might have to give Kagi a try now!

Ah this is fantastic! I’ve only been using Kagi for a few months, and have been concerned about running into the search limit, but this means I can go and set it as the default everywhere now.

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Yesss! Immediately upgraded to duo unlimited for me and my partner.

Does Kagi support languages outside of English? One issue I have with DDG is the lack of results outside English sites. If Kagi is similar then it would be a big issue.

@dsemy@lemm.ee
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It does, I search in languages other than English quite often and the results are still high quality IMO.

It sea4ches in different languages, but there is no way to force language of the results. Instead, ot tries to be “smart” and uses languages of the region. So it has the same problem Google and Bing does: giving you results in random languages outside of language region (or in multi-lingual regions), even when request is explicitly in language A.

There is a feature request to implement this setting, but not much hope to have this soon.

On this note, if someone knows of a search engine that allows specifying language of results, please let me know :)

With !reg you switch to sniffed regional search, with e. g. !de you switch to German search.

@Ransom@lemmy.one
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Hadn’t heard of this but stoked to try it out!

Lumu
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Awesome! The AI summarizer is very useful, and it gives quality search results from my experience with the free trial. $10 a month still seems a little high for a search engine, though I’m definitely eyeing it more now…

Hopefully we see more competition in the future with paid search engines, this seems to be new territory where everyone is still pretty unsure of the right pricing. I think $5 a month is going to be the sweet spot for me.

Baggins
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Same here. I did the trial 300 search thing and was very happy with that. Settling on the fiver a month plan as I can’t justify a tenner. Plus I realised that I don’t do much more than about 300 searches.

It’s so refreshing to not have ‘sponsored’ posts or adverts in front of your results.

That’s a curious project and I hope they succeed. But I have to wonder. On their “Why pay for search engines” page, they state the following:

Our proposed price is dictated by the fact that search itself has a non-zero cost. In fact, it costs us about $1 to process 80 searches (wherever in the world you search from). So a user searching 8 times a day would perform about 240 searches a month, costing us $3 in search cost. But an average Kagi user is actually searching about 30 times a day. At USD $10/month, the price does not even cover our cost for average use.

So, will they dial the price back up or do they currently just hope that most people pay for the “unlimited searches per month” plan but use it less than an average user would?

They probably have a lot of potential infrastructure savings. $1/80 searches is an absolutely astronomical cost.

I’m imagining there are quite a few gains they can get by way of optimization, different technologies, and optimizing hot paths to bring that number down.

It really depends how they built this thing. For instance, if they built this on the AWS ecosystem, using more than straight compute/K8, their costs are going to be an actual order of magnitude higher than if they didn’t.

Atemu
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Their operations are very small scale still. I imagine as the economy of scale does its thing, that price/search will fall drastically.

They probably haven’t updated the page. This blog post says:

With new search sources proving more cost-efficient, the improved efficiency of our infrastructure, and the broader market embracing Kagi, we can again offer an unlimited experience to a broader group of users.

So it sounds like they have made lots of efficiencies to make it cheaper per search. I’m sure more subscribers helps as well.

But I’m really curious about the “new search sources” part. Where do they source their searches from?

Does anyone have experience with non-english searches? Are the results of similar quality?

@sculd asked the same question further down and got a couple of good responses.

Seconding this

That is actually great thing for now was using you.com might finally move

So how is you.com? I tried using it several months ago was not impressed with the results. That time brave and ddg was better.

to be suprising works kinda fine though still sometimes needs to fall back to other search engine. Though using AI chat is great with Pro plan.

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