Recently I’ve been experimenting with a paid search engine called Kagi, this short article talks about why, how I got one with the trial, and whether I went on to subscribe.

I wrote at the beginning of the year about how I was taking ownership of my web presence through In rebuilding my digital life largely away from traditional social media (I cannot completely avoid the Facewall due to various groups that organise themselves on that platform), I have tried to take a much more privacy conscious approach to building this site.

  • Using privacy conscious tracking through Clicky and more latterly Tinylytics.
  • Avoiding social media embeds that can introduce tracking cookies.
  • Using Loom for recording and hosting new videos rather than YouTube - again avoiding tracking cookies used in the latter (legacy embeds remain).

It occurred to me though, that in continuing to use mainstream search engines, I was denying myself many of the benefits that I had designed into my own web presence for my visitors.

I didn’t go looking for an alternative approach to search. This was not a problem that I really realised that I had, or had put much thought into until I heard @manton talking about Kagi briefly on the Shop Talk Podcast a few weeks ago. At a similar time I also stumbled across Kagi’s Small Web project, that takes me back to the curated internet of old.

So I decided to give the Kagi free trial (100 searches) a go. I didn’t necessarily expect to like it, or think that I needed it, but thought that it would be interesting.

Kagi - Home page

Kagi is lightning fast, but what really struck me straight away is the cleanliness of the search results. No adverts or featured posts, straight into the best search results for whatever the question was. What else would you want from a search engine? In the search below, I’ve asked Kagi why I should pay for search, and sure enough at the top of the page is an extract from Kagi’s help site explaining why you might.

Kagi - Search results

There are a number of advantages to this, not having to wade through a number of irrelevant featured links or ads is just the beginning. I can now dare to search for Z Gauge model train sets, without being confronted by adverts of everything to do with trains on every website for the next month.

There are a few other Kagi projects I need to look into more. I mentioned the Small Web project above, which looks a really interesting project to get involved with, much like the webrings of old (and new, see below!). There is also a browser project called Orion that looks great - though I’m only really interested if it can load passwords from keychain using TouchID. Otherwise I’m sticking to Safari.

So I was sufficiently impressed with my 100 search trial (which lasted longer than I thought it would), to subscribe. For now I’m using the $5/mo which gives 300 searches per month, though I may switch us to the $14/mo Duo Family subscription with unlimited searches at some point in the future.

Anyway hope that you liked the article, and if you did please click below to give kudos, or to join the conversation.