Initial observations on Kagi (search engine)

A few days ago I signed up for Kagi. If you didn’t know, it’s a new search engine whose main differentiator is that you have to pay them actual money in exchange for search results, currently in the order of 2.5 Australian cents per search. The idea is that since you’re paying them, this frees them to have no advertising or user tracking at all and focus on giving you the best possible results according to your wishes.

In short: yeah, it’s quite good actually. At this stage I’m inclined to keep paying for it.

  • Results are cleanly presented. No ads or outright junk, thank the maker.
  • The relevance is quite good, particularly for technical topics which is what I’ve been searching for recently.
  • It’s not perfect: junk SEO content scraper websites do sometimes show up on the first page.
  • On the bright side you have the ability to promote/demote/block domains in search results (shown above).
  • Results feel a little sluggish to show up. It goes to show much work Google et al have put into throwing results in front of you immediately. If I think about it consciously it’s not something I put much weight on—I can wait a second; my time isn’t that precious—but it is something I notice.
  • Their privacy page is readable but highly detailed, describing the exact purpose of each cookie, etc. They set a very high bar, assuming you trust them to do what they say they do.
  • I use it on Firefox on desktop and Android. For the former I installed their addon which made it a one-click operation to set the default browser, and lets me use my Kagi account in private windows. For Android I followed their instructions to add a custom search engine. All working well.
  • Pricing is currently 300 searches for $US 5/mo, 1000 for $10/mo, excess at 1.5c/search, and $25/mo for unlimited.
  • I seem to be in the vicinity of 15 searches a day. I need more data to figure out if it’s worth going to the $10/mo. I think I would pay that, particularly since the service should only improve from here with additional time and resources.
  • I didn’t realise how often I use my Firefox search history to go back to a search engine results page I’d visited previously. I feel consciously inefficient doing that now because it’s consuming my budget, even if it’s tiny.
  • No search history. Hooray.
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I’ve been hearing about Kagi for a while now and it sounds like most people who try it out really seem to like it. Just the ability to add weightings to certain domains sounds like a great feature.

I’m a bit of a tight arse though, so I’m not sure if I could deal with the whole “pay per search” thing. I’d be somewhat tempted if it was US$5/month for unlimited searches, but for only 300 searches seems a bit on the expensive side. Just for work stuff I would probably blow through that rather quickly. For some things I find I’m trying lots of different search term combinations trying to find answers for the same thing, so if Kagi is that much better then those sorts of “multiple searches” might be less of an issue when it comes to the per search cost.

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I find this super interesting.

It’s a mind shift but makes sense on the privacy and quality side.

Will check it out today :slight_smile:

That’s a great write up! Thanks @thombles !

Kagi sounds interesting, but I’m struggling to see the reason I’d pay for that versus using Duck Duck Go.

The only things that jump out at me is:

  • It’d block the ads - but typically they’re not offensive, and they’re typically on-topic so I’ll click them to get to the site I want just to support DDG; and
  • The ability to promote/demote/block domains - that’s pretty cool, but perhaps not at that price point.

I’m keen to understand what I’m missing.

I have now also learnt how often i use a search engine to search reddit for things lol.

It’s subjective, of course. :slightly_smiling_face:

For me the answers are quality (so far!)—I fairly regularly have to !g with DDG but haven’t experienced that yet with Kagi—and a strangely intense personal dislike of direct advertising. I’ll credit DDG with one of the best possible advertising policies you could imagine but even that feels icky to me and I’m enthusiastic to support different modes of operation that can be sustainable without ads.

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Great answer, definitely clarifies the whys.

Thank you. :pray:

I just noticed that the $10/month plan now includes unlimited searches.

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That’s Great. I have been using it since I saw it here and it’s been great. Need to adjust my plan now :joy: