Code & Sundry

Paying For Search

564 words, 3 minutes to read

I've been using DuckDuckGo for years, and I've been happy with the search results. However, I recently tried to search for places that sold the Sami flag, but DuckDuckGo was stumped. Google however found 2 places immediately. This coincided with a discussion at work about search engines and which ones people were using. Long story short, after some browsing I landed on trying out Kagi.

Kagi has a free trial of 50 searches per month, for more than that you'll have to pay for a subscription. After trying 50 searches - including a search for places that sell the Sami flag - I was satisfied with the results it gave me. I took the leap and paid for a monthly subscription.

While a yearly subscription is cheaper, I'll stick with the monthly for now, before taking an even bigger leap of faith and comit to a whole year.

One of the things I like about Kagi is the ability to use !bangs, just like I did with DuckDuckGo. In fact, Kagi reuses the !bangs from DuckDuckGo, saving me from unlearning a habit I've become incredibly fond of and reliant on.

Kagi also let's you use different "lenses" when searching. As a programmer I frequently search for problems related to my work. By turning on the Programming lens, Kagi will prioritize results related to programming. A search for rust with the programming lens on filters away results related to Rust the game and Rust the movie. Kagi also has lenses called Academic, World News, and Forums, to mention some.

Search results for the game Rust, the movie Rust and the programming language Rust

Search results for the programming language Rust, it's documentation and a code sample

You're also able to manually rank websites. You can raise or lower the ranking, block the site entirely, or pin it, to make it show up at the top of the results every time.

Controls for ranking, and technical information about the site

The price of the subscription is $10, which is steep, but they have a whole FAQ answer on why the price is so high: they know the price of a single search and based on an estimated average number of searches per paying user, they've set a price that should cover the cost. That also includes covering the cost of the free trial searches. While paying users are searching more than the estimate at the moment, they hope that number will fall to make the $10 price point viable.

I can actually see what my consumption is costing them. Of the $10 I've paid them for the current billing cycle, I've spent $1.41. I get a little heart and a thank you for my contribution to further development.

Total pay: $10; total usage: $1.41; payment to usage balance: $8.59. Also a list with number of searches per individual day

Will I keep paying? We'll see, but so far I'm very happy with Kagi. I'm also the kind of person who pays for their email provider, so paying for search isn't a huge leap.