Tristan Hume

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The Best Search Engine For Programmers

There are many different comparisons of search engine results out there but I thought I would do one specifically geared towards the audience I identify with: programmers.

Do note that these tests are not rigorous and are based on my observations of which search engine delivers the best results from a programmer’s perspective for a number of programming related searches.

The tests were conducted using Google Chrome in Incognito mode while signed out of any accounts I had with the site in question.

I will be comparing the following search engines:

1. Slate

Slate is a window management tool for OSX which I have written about before. The correct first result should probably be Slate magazine but the geeky result I am looking for is the window manager. Since Slate is not as popular as my other search terms I threw this one in as a tough start to the comparison.


Google actually got it as the second result! I was so stunned by this that I thought Google was tracking me even with incognito. But I got one of my non-geeky friends to Google it and he got it as a result as well. Google

All the other search engines returned the magazine first and then the rock.


Google by a long shot! I only tried this one because I thought none of them would get it.

2. Chef

If a programmer searches for “Chef” they are probably referring to the automation platform by Opscode. What I am looking for is results that talk about Chef, preferably from OpsCode.


All search engines had OpsCode Chef on the first page but only some had it in the top 3. Google Bing  DDG   Samuru


Google was the only search engine that returned Chef in the top 3 results and it put it as the first result.

3. Node

This is an interesting one since even as a programmer it is tough to figure out if the correct result is a networking node or Node.js.


Google Bing  DDG   Samuru


Depends on your personal preferences. Google and Samuru put first and Bing and DDG put networking nodes first. Bing is the only one that does not mention both.

4. Underscore

Should refer to underscore.js. No screenshots for this one because I have already made you scroll too much.

Google: 2/3 including top result are underscore.js DuckDuckGo: 1/3 Bing: 0/3 Samuru: Samuru gave underscore.js as third result on first search but because of the way the engine works it gave 3 articles about the character 30s later after it had done more processing.

5. Ruby

Interestingly, every search engine got the Ruby language as the top result except for Bing, which gave the gem as the top result.

Overall Winner

Google is the only search engine that returned the results that a programmer would be looking for every time. It seems the worst of the 4 search engines was Bing, which got many things and even something as simple as Ruby wrong.

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