dogpile is a cute, illustrated search engine that compiles results from other search engines, such as Google and Yahoo. According to the website, it pulls together results from multiple search engines, determines which are most relevant to your search, then weeds out duplicates before showing you your options.
The idea here is that you will get more targeted results for your search faster than if you were using another search engine. The name ‘dogpile’ is actually a rugby term, despite the brand’s dog artwork (that’s Arfie the mascot, by the way), which refers to players piling on top of each other. The branding here is confusing, as the name refers to a sport, but the illustrations and “Go Fetch!” search button are related to animals…but we can go beyond that.
Suggested searches – called favorite recoveries – seem to take into account what people might be interested in at the moment. For example, in August 2021, favorite searches included “cheap flights,” “portable air conditioners,” and “rent a car,” apparently because travel was on many people’s minds. It’s slightly useful if you’re going to be looking for one of those things, but the section isn’t quite necessary. Other search engines, like DuckDuckGo, Google, and Yahoo, don’t have search suggestions like this, probably because they don’t provide much value to the user.
With specific regard to your online activity, System1 also uses trackers – cookies and web beacons, to be exact – to collect location, referral and traffic data from your browsing actions. And while this information is not always linked to your personal information, it can be.
Does this mean that the company does what it wants with your most personal data? No – they still follow legal requirements for data collection and sharing. But Dogpile isn’t as secure as those browsers and search engines that don’t even know who you are or what you’re doing because they believe in utmost privacy for their users.
The search bar is as basic as it gets, making it easy to use, but not particularly attractive. You can designate your search by web, images, video, news, or shopping – pretty standard for a search engine.
When using Dogpile vs. Google to search for the same topic, results were returned in the same amount of time (seconds, so long). And while Dogpile’s layout puts the results more front and center than Google’s, most of those top results are ads – there are a lot more ads than Google’s results at the very top, which makes it will make it unappealing to some users.
What’s great about Dogpile is the way the results page is laid out. Search type options and a list of recent searches are on the left side and suggested searches are on the right sidebar. This means that the main part of the page with the search results integrates much more than Google.
Dogpile is a browser-only tool, so all you have to do is go to dogpile.com to use it. The company’s search engine is optimized for mobile, so you can use it on an iPhone or Android smartphone as well as a desktop computer.
Dogpile doesn’t look as good as any of the major search engines, and its ad-heavy search results are an annoyance even next to another ad-heavy search engine like Google. But its main competition comes in the form of solving Dogpile’s biggest problem: privacy. DuckDuckGo is probably Dogpile’s biggest competitor in terms of online security, as the service has no online tracking and offers users an extremely safe browsing experience. It’s not clear if Dogpile is particularly dangerous, but it seems to track and use a lot of information about you and your actions online, which seems like a very unmodern way of going about it.
Its main drawback is that it doesn’t do anything particularly good or unique – and what it does ranges from a little to a lot worse than its competitors. Google results are more attractive and less full of ads; Yahoo’s search interface is more modern and offers news headlines instead of those useless search suggestions; DuckDuckGo lets you navigate without a tracker and has an intuitive mobile app. To put it simply, there is a big reason not to use Dogpile and no compelling reason to make it your choice.