Recent years have seen Google’s reputation take a battering, from bowing down to Chinese censors, to losing vast quantities of user data. So many of us are looking around for search alternatives.

Yippy might have come up in your quest for a different type of search engine – one which respects your privacy. But does it measure up and should you make the switch from Google straight away? This Yippy review will weigh up its strengths and weaknesses, and help you make the decision.

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What’s the big deal with private search engines?

Firstly, why would you think about using a search tool like Yippy instead of established options like Google? Well, unless you’ve been in the Siberian wilderness for the past five years, you’ll probably be aware that Google has a less than stellar reputation for protecting user privacy.

From implanting tracking cookies to monitor user activity to leaking huge troves of data from Google Docs, and allowing app developers to access users’ Gmail accounts, the search giant has not distinguished itself on the privacy front.

As a result, plenty of alternatives have started to emerge which privilege privacy, and the Yippy search engine is one of the leading contenders. These providers offer something very different. Instead of monetizing searches by tracking, storing, and selling user data, they tend to seek other ways to make money. And, in some cases, they aren’t in the search game for a quick buck at all.

So how does Yippy search measure up? Let’s get into the details and work out whether this is the web search you’ve been waiting for.

Getting to know Yippy: What is it, and what does it do?

Despite its name, the Yippy search engine is not a communal solution dreamed up by hippies. Instead, its origins lie in the IT department at Carnegie Mellon University.

In the 2000s, researchers there developed a tool called Clusty. Unlike traditional search engines, which use keywords and other metrics to deliver listed results, Clusty sought to deliver results in the form of “clusters” – a different way to visualize what users were looking for.

When the creators branched out to form their own company, Vivisimo, they quickly sold their work onto a company called Yippy, in 2010. This was followed by an even larger acquisition in 2012, when the company was swallowed by IBM.

Much of the Vivisimo developed tech around Clusty was incorporated into IBM’s Watson AI-based search systems. But as of 2019, the Yippy search engine continues to operate as a standalone Google alternative.

What is Yippy search?

Yippy provides bespoke search-related services for corporate clients – offering a fast, intuitive way to search through mountains of big data. The idea is to leverage the Clusty project’s achievements, turning this data into actionable, relevant results.

This makes the company’s services relatively popular with data mining operations, which seek to derive profitable insights from medical, retail, or scientific data.

Data mining of this type is not something you can really do with the basic Google front end. And Yippydefinitely market themselves as occupying a niche above Google – calling their tools “search appliances” and referring to searches as “e-discovery.”

But here’s the big question for our purposes: is it useful for ordinary web users?

Major features of the Yippy search engine

Before we answer that question, let’s quickly summarize some aspects of what sets Yippy search apart:

  1. The search engine employs what are known as “content connectors” to find (or “discover”) relevant search results. These connectors associate similar pieces of content based on subject matter and can be applied to unstructured data sources. So it’s not all based on a web mapping system as with Google.
  2. The Yippy search engine claims to offer enhanced security relative to Google, using “field level security” to keep client searches confidential. This is mainly intended for use by companies with complex IT networks, who want to lock down older data sources and defend their proprietary interests.
  3. The Yippy search front end can be extensively customized, resulting in bespoke search applications, and this extends to offering endless data visualization options. So when users discover connections and clusters, they can present these findings in ways that are easy to understand.

These features are delivered at an enterprise level – not via a simple web app. And they can be implemented at a lower cost than Google’s equivalent enterprise services. That may be why organizations as diverse as federal credit unions and oil corporations have embraced Yippy search.

How does Yippy search work?

Yippy isn’t primarily a mass-market Google search alternative. It’s not the kind of tool you can turn to every morning to seek out the latest news. Instead, Yippy is pitched at businesses who have internal and specific data processing requirements.

However, there is freely available front end for all of us to try. And it’s a pretty effective private search engine. Users can type in whatever they need to look for, and the engine delivers a list of clean, more or less relevant results.

If you check the left-hand side of the results page, you’ll find something interesting: a list of clusters with “+” links to unfold related websites. If you click on these links, you’ll be taken to a fresh list of links which expands on the original list. It all adds up to an interesting way to navigate the web.

Is Yippy search safe to use?

Finally, we need to move onto the question of security. In terms of privacy, one big detail stands out: Yippy don’t record user logs. They make their money by providing corporate services, not by monetizing search data.

Officially the company does not collect information that could identify users (something spelled out in its privacy policy).

However, be aware that IP address information may be collected, along with “browser type, browser language, referral data, the date and time of your query and one or more cookies…that may uniquely identify your browser while in a session.”

So while Yippy is more solid than Google when it comes to privacy, there’s still quite a lot going on underneath the surface which might alarm searchers.

But, overall, if you want a powerful business tool for searching the web or internal data, Yippy search could be ideal. It’s an intriguing Google alternative for the rest of us, but not the last word on search engine security.