Grep is an interesting new search engine -- with one disadvantage

There has been no shortage of new search engines in the past couple of years. While search is still dominated by Google Search, there has been an increase in startups that try to change the game by ditching the advertisement-driven system of the old and establishing commercial search engines.

Users pay a monthly subscription fee to the makers of Neeva or Kagi, and get the promise of ad-free and tracking-free search experiences. These search engines may also have other useful features in addition.

Grep is a new search engine that is also promising "no ads, no spam, no AI-content" to its users. It just launched as a preview, but the main thing that differentiates Grep from its competition is that it building a personal index for users based on a handful of websites that they select.

Grep uses the initial selection to build a 4-degree connection using the initial batch of sites and the websites that this initial batch links to. It follows links from the handful of user-picked sites, and creates an index of at least 70,000 websites using it.

Users may then run searches, and Grep will search the personal index to return results to the user.

Grep requires an account and the initial list of supported sites is somewhat limited. While you find the world’s most popular sites there, lots of sites that a user may be interested in may not be available as the starting selection.

Grep displays results like other search engines, but it reveals the path of sites that it followed to come up with it. A search for "Windows 11 install" returns Microsoft’s main Windows 11 site as the first result.

Each of the sites that Grep followed are displayed as links, which users may follow.

While Grep offers an interesting experience, there is one caveat that users need to be aware of. It is not the rather small number of sites that users can pick for index creation, but that only 10 searches per months are free.

10 searches is not a lot. There is a Grep Pro plan, which is available for $15 per month, and it increases the monthly searches to 800. The limit may be enough for many users, but it seems quite expensive from the outside.

Still, Grep is in preview and things may change. An option to add a custom site to the index would certainly be appreciated by many users.

'Grep is an interesting new search engine -- with one disadvantage' first appeared in Weekly Tech Insights, a free weekly newsletter that you can sign up to here.

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