6 things Gexsi does better than Google

© Leonie Servatius

Gexsi is a search engine like Google set-up as a non-profit company. The three founders provide insights what inspired them to challenge Google, and what makes Gexsi unique. 

Each of us searches the internet almost daily, statistically about 100 times a month. Almost always with Google. Google’s market share is about 92% worldwide. Is this a problem? This depends on how you look at it. We at Gexsi see that there is enormous potential to develop attractive alternatives. Startups like Ecosia have shown that it is possible to challenge Google with a social business model. The company deploys about half a million to one million euros a month to plant trees. The numbers are currently fluctuating. The COVID-19 lockdown has temporarily reduced the budgets of advertising partners by about 35-40%. Nevertheless, search engines are an amazingly profitable business, unlike other widespread internet services like Wikipedia. Despite the economic downturn, Google generates several hundred million euros in revenue. Per year? No, daily!

It is therefore not surprising that many new alternative search engines entered the market over the past few years. Besides Ecosia and our new search engine Gexsi – the search engine for a better world – there are several others. Some also allocate funds to good causes, such as Lilo in France, Givero in Denmark, or the Malaysian search engine Ekoru.

We didn’t create Gexsi simply as a blueprint that imitates others. We want to make many things different, better, more effective or even more attractive.


1. Gexsi re-allocates funds for the common good

We are not sure whether Robin Hood is a role model for us. What excites us is the opportunity to redirect part of the huge funds generated in the search engine market, for a good cause. Not like Robin Hood who robbed the rich to support the poor, but simply by convincing more and more people to change the search engine. To a certain extent we use our funds to support projects regionally. For us it feels right that a relevant part of the revenues which are generated by our users, is re-allocated to the region where the users are based. This connection does not exist when using Google.


2. We spark the 17 Global Goals movement

We envision a world where many things which troubles us, are solved: Educational opportunities for all, climate protection, sustainable urban development, the energy or food turnaround, oceans without plastic waste, a stable health system and basic services for all people in the world, the protection of biodiversity, equality and much more. We believe that many people around the world have a similar concerns, and see the same urgencies. With our focus on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we cover the entire range of challenges to make the world a better place. They give us a clear frame of reference. And honestly: There is no easier way to set a sign that you form part of this global movement than to change the search engine. One click and you support the 17 goals every day anew.

«Search the web and fund  SDG projects? Awesome! The change begins in everyday life.» Rebecca Freitag, former UN Youth Delegate for Sustainability


3. We help you to find the right balance which safeguards your privacy

When we are asked about our opinion about Google, we compare the company to a double-edged sword. Google is making tremendous progress in many ways. Google has enabled quantum leaps in data processing, not only in search, but also in less visible areas like medical research. But the danger of losing our privacy is growing. With Gexsi, we are giving people back a part of the control over their data. Everyone can decide for themselves the extent to use the Google search, as we offer an convenient alternative, which does not disclose any data to Google. We have deliberately integrated the Google navigation into our search to allow anyone to directly access Google search results without having to re-enter the search term. Everyone decides for himself or herself to define the right balance. There is no right or wrong.

«We have integrated the Google navigation bar into our search to allow everyone to stay within his or her comfort zone. The less you use it, the higher the level of impact and privacy protection which you achieve » Andreas Renner, Co-Founder Gexsi


4. We support social innovators who think out of the box

We, the Gexsi founding team, all are rooted in the impact sector. We constantly meet change makers who see a problem and do something about it, rather than waiting for others to take action. This positive momentum and energy is what we like to share with others. We explicitly support social innovators and young teams with new, often unusual, ideas. We see our greatest impact when supporting teams which are not yet backed by large investors or major foundations. What excites us particularly is that many solutions to social or environmental challenges a market-driven, based on a social business model. If this works out, the solutions will create a lasting social impact, based on a financially self-sustaining model. This is a powerful means to scale social impact!


5. We believe in storytelling to inspire you about how to change the world

We want share a spirit of optimism and positive excitement when you use Gexsi. This is why we share the stories of the projects which we support – with your help. Take a look the projects which we featured recently: Namati, a non-profit which empowers local communities through barefoot lawyers to defend their rights, e.g. with regard to safeguarding their land rights; or Between The Lines, a chatbot powered smartphone app which helps young people to find the right support no matter what their problem is, be it love sickness, trouble with the parents, or at school, loneliness or depression. With Forest Gum (without the “p”) we supported a crowdfunding campaign for plastic-free chewing gum. Not many people know that typically chewing gum is based on petrochemistry. But there exist natural alternatives, which have been used already thousand years ago. When using Gexsi as your default search engine, you know that you made a contribution to all these exciting projects. This feels good!


6. We advise to take a close look on who is behind the search which you use

We believe that it is not enough to offer a good product, the company as a whole must have an ethical set-up, be part of the purpose economy. It is definitely worthwhile to check out who are the shareholders of the search engine which you like to use – especially if the the search engine comes up with an ethical claim such as being a social or data-friendly search engine. With this respect we definitely differ substantially from others. To give an example: The privacy-focused search engine Startpage argues that because of their internal privacy policy they cannot disclose the team or the owners who run the search. This is a perverse logic. As a user, I want to know whether my search is funding the Russian mafia or a good cause – or anything in between. With regard to transparency and an ethical governance set-up, we are at the forefront of the movement. We, the founders of Gexsi, transferred our entire company shares to the charitable Good Impact Foundation. None of the other social search engines except of Ecosia has followed this route to date, or at least joined one of the very powerful ethical business networks like the Certified B Corps or the “Gemeinwohlökonnomie”, the Economy for the Common Good. We hope that our role model will inspire others to join in!


Let us change the world together, one search at a time!

We see ourselves as a learning organization that is constantly looking how to increase its reach and impact – without large advertising budgets. To grow, we need you! Talk with your friends about Gexsi, use Gexsi at home or at your job, test our smartphone app or our extensions to set-up Gexsi as your default search. And challenge us with your ideas and suggestions!

You have any thoughts, questions, or ideas? Write to us!

Dr. Andreas Renner, Co-Founder Gexsi: andreas@gexsi.com