Ecosia search engine (review)

Photo by Michael Tuszynski on Unsplash

Plant trees while you search the web

Last year I stumbled upon the search engine Ecosia. Their pitch is that every search you make contributes to plant trees across the world. On average, it takes 45 searches to plant a tree.

I loved the concept, so I gave it a try for a couple of months. During my trial, my 500 searches contributed to plant 11 trees.

Sadly, there’s a problem. For my usage, the search results were mostly not accurate. Several times I found myself opening another tab on Google, only to immediately get the result I was looking for. You might despise Google the company, but the search is accurate, there’s no way around it.

Here’s an example.

This is me searching for a maven error on Ecosia. Look at the top 3 results. The first two are unrelated, as they don’t even include the “maven” word. The third result is in a language I can’t even recognise (maybe Chinese?).

Same search in Google: the top 3 results all have results related and useful to my problem.

Another example, now for an image search.

Do you know the satisfying meme? I was looking for the black and white drawing of a person feeling their face in satisfaction. Let’s start with the Google search this time. First 4 results are what I’m looking for, 2 are also good alternatives, 1 is just a random example. Pretty accurate.

Now same search term in Ecosia. None of the top results are what I’m looking for. It even includes a reference to a porn website. Really?

tl;dr On average Ecosia search results are less accurate which hurts my productivity. This is why I gave up on Ecosia, which is really a pity, because their goal is commendable.