Tired of Google? Try this new search engine that funds biodiversity efforts

A person holds a phone displaying the Karma search engine

Earlier this year, a new study was released about the declining quality of search engines, answering to the popular critique that “Google is getting worse.” 

While Google continues to release new updates to combat spam and misinformation, other search engines are stepping in to provide folks with another option — one that, while still imperfect, at least does a little good.

Just like Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees every time an Internet user types an inquiry in their search bar, there’s a new Google alternative that conscientious web surfers may want to try out: Karma.

Karma is the world’s first search engine dedicated to protecting animals and biodiversity. This is done through ad revenue from sponsored links, which are already widely promoted on traditional search engines when users search for something online.

The difference? Karma donates 100% of its proceeds to nonprofit partners: Re:wild and Humane Society International.

A person holds a laptop displaying the Karma search engine
Photo courtesy of Karma

“Search engines are used daily by all internet users, making them the most scalable tools to have an impact. With Karma, we are providing internet users with the opportunity to be part of the solution in just a few clicks,” Yann Kandelman, cofounder of Karma, said in a press release.

“If just 1% of Google users were to use Karma as their default search engine instead, we’d be able to donate $1 billion per year to our nonprofit partners.”

Karma was first launched in France in 2022 and is finally operational in the U.S. as of this month. It can be downloaded as a Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge extension, as an app on both iOS and Android, or simply accessed through karmasearch.org.

Karma is based on the search engine Brave Search, meaning its web indexing is fully independent from Google and Bing. It also supports ad blockers and anti-tracking extensions and does not permanently store search histories or resell personal data, according to a press release.

In France, Karma has received enthusiastic feedback, with more than 150,000 downloads and an average rating of 4.7 stars from users. By branching out to North America, Karma expects to raise $100 million over the next three years.

A squirrel
Photo courtesy of Geran de Klerk/Karma

In a time when protecting biodiversity is more urgent than ever, these funds will be essential to organizations doing important work for animal conservation.

“Conserving biodiversity is not just about saving individual species,” Carrie Hutchison, director of marketing and brand for Re:wild said in a statement. “It’s about maintaining the complex ecosystems that sustain life on Earth.”

Karma also has a unique “Learn & Act” feature, which curates a news feed on biodiversity and animal rights, allowing users to maximize their impact by signing a petition, learning more about starting a vegan diet, or participating in a citizen project to help with wildlife efforts in their area.

This adds to the overall value it brings to its nonprofit partners.

“By working with companies like Karma, which are supporting our conservation work and expanding our reach, we can protect more of the world’s irreplaceable places for biodiversity, and inspire a global community to act for the wild,” Hutchison said.

A sea turtle swims in the ocean
Photo courtesy of Karma

Karma is also reportedly discussing future partnerships with several American nonprofits to complement its work with Re:wild and Humane Society International.

“Your internet searches with Karma can help fund our vital initiatives such as banning the sale of real fur, ending some of the most inhumane factory farming practices, and creating a more compassionate world for all animals,” Nick Jones, executive director at Humane Society International UK, said in a statement.

Ultimately — just like other tech solutions like Tab for a Cause — Karma wants everyday people to be able to partake in small solutions that could make a big difference.

“The word karma is derived from the Sanskrit karman, which means action. So the concept of karma is about cause and effect. As a search engine, we’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re reimagining what it can do,” Karma’s website reads.

“Karma strives to be part of a new kind of world ecology, a community of conscious individuals who are ready to find inclusive ethical solutions to every problem.”

Header image courtesy of Karma

Article Details

March 14, 2024 12:58 PM
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