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Ecosia — Searching for trees

As I looked at the blog stats I saw a referrer which I followed and had a great impression. Let me share this impression with you.

Besides the software development topics there has to be some spare time to look at other useful sites and things. This is why I write about Ecosia, however I do not have much spare time.

What is about planting trees with searching? And why is it lucrative for someone?

Well, if you know what’s happening in forests you should be concerned about loosing as many trees as we are loosing currently. And yes, it is a problem, because trees are the lungs of the Earth which means that they provide oxygen.

One solution would be to stop cutting trees. This idea is bad for the booming economy where you provide stuff and do not produce on-demand. That’s why we have so many stuff in shops and supermarkets (and this is why we have so much problems of garbage, chemicals).

Another way is to plant trees to replace the cut ones. But you cannot plant trees without money and a place to plant. And Ecosia is mobilising cash to plant trees.

They spend 80% of their income to a tree planting program in Brasil. They provide donation proofs to see where the money flows. With such proofs I’d take a bit care too: you can say anything about your income and your donations. Sorry but I’m sceptic with such semi-transparency. Perhaps because of the Hungarian “transparency” of state money and politicians.

The money comes from advertisements. That’s how search engines work (or earn their income). Currently I do not see any other way a search engine could earn money. And paying for advertisements is the only way you can “cheat” the search engine and reach a top 1-3 position in the result list — on every page.

OK, after such harsh words I have to tell why I write about Ecosia. This is because I like the idea of planting trees. I’m a bit green at the bottom of my heart and I don’t want an awful future where everything is without trees (like in the cartoon “The Lorax”) and you have to pay for air.

Ecosia uses search algorithms of Yahoo! and Bing — with some own fine tuning for a better experience (or to get other results as those engines because they could have integrated those engines) — or you can switch to Google’s results. And as a plus (if you do not like the “Ecosian” results) you can set Google as the default search engine and you get your results from Google. But this means that you do not contribute money to Ecosia (naturally, why should the results of Google benefit another company?).

And if you look at the website of Ecosia you’ll see how they work and how many trees they helped to plant. And as a new feature your contribution in planting trees is also displayed. So if you search you can help in planting trees.  If you plan to be a serious contributor, you can install a search-engine-add-on to your browser (at least for Chrome and Safari). With this you can contribute with your normal work without recognising. Or perhaps you’ll recognise the different layout of the results. What I really like is the big FAQ. The German know how to do the things right 🙂

I tried the two different search engines with the word “hahamo”. As for now Ecosia shows this blog (and articles here) on places 1, 4, 7, 10 in the first 10 results. If I switch the result-display to Google, my blog gets the places 1,3,5,7. Naturally the posts displayed in the results are different — the only exception is place one which redirects directly to hahamo.wordpress.com. So I can conclude that Google and Ecosia give different search results so they are not the same.

One annoying thing is the too much advertisement. Sometimes if I search for a phrase and it contains similarity with something you can “shop” I get 4-5 advertisements on the first place before the results. However if you want to keep up the business for your search engine you have to get the money needed for this purpose.

So after all I encourage you to try Ecosia as your default search engine. And do not fear: other search engines will have their market share too because only few of us know about a tree-planting search engine. Hope you’ll be a part of it.

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Senior developer, consultant, author, mentor, apprentice. I love to share my knowledge and insights what I achieve through my daily work which is not trivial -- at least not for me.

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