OceanHero vs Ekoru

It can be hard to know which charitable search engine to choose when there are so many out there! We take a look at OceanHero and Ekoru – two charitable search engines with a focus on the ocean – to see which is better.

Central mission

OceanHero and Ekoru are both ocean-focused search engines and their mission is to save our seas!

The central mission of OceanHero is straightforward – for every five searches you complete on their search engine, they will recover one ocean-bound plastic bottle. Their message is ‘search the web and save the oceans’. They aim to tackle the increasing problem of plastic pollution, noting that marine life is suffering and microplastics are causing toxins to enter our food chain.

They make money from advertising, as most search engines do, but they then donate a portion of this money towards recovering plastic. They have partnered with PlasticBank who pays people in need to recover ocean-bound plastic. They currently have hubs in Indonesia, Haiti and the Phillipines and will soon add Brazil to that list. They have also partnered with WasteFreeOceans who collect plastic from the land and pay fishermen to recover plastic from the sea.

Ekoru, on the other hand, is focused on two core issues relating to the ocean – cleaning up the oceans and reforestation of the ocean floor. They have partnered with Big Blue Ocean Cleanup, a charity which removes rubbish from the oceans as well as protecting vulnerable marine life, providing free educational resources, and supporting research and the development of innovative technologies.

They have also partnered with Operation Posidonia, a charity which is helping to reforest oceans and keep them healthy by planting seagrass on the ocean floor. Seagrass is important because it can capture carbon 40 times faster than tropical rainforests and is home to young marine life.
Ekoru also power their servers using hydro-electricity to make searching even more eco-friendly.

As you can see, both charities are very ocean-focused, so if you are looking for a charitable search engine which supports a wider range of causes, it might be worth checking out one like SearchScene or Youcare.

Donations to charity

So, it’s clear that both OceanHero and Ekoru have noble aims when it comes to saving our oceans, but how much money do they actually give to their partner charities?

As it stands, OceanHero donates 50% of its revenues to PlasticBank and WasteFreeOceans to aid with plastic recovery, while Ekoru donates 60% of its revenues to both Big Blue Ocean Cleanup and Operation Posidonia.

These are both fairly similar, but Ekoru wins over OceanHero in this case. However, there are charitable search engines which are more generous, such as Ecosia and Youcare, which donate 80% of profits and SearchScene, which donates an impressive 95% of profits to partner charities.

Homepage design

When it comes to the homepage of both search engines, OceanHero and Ekoru are fairly similar. Both have a white background as default and their logo is displayed in the middle with a search bar underneath. They also both have a counter in the top-right corner so you can see how many searches you have made.

OceanHero has an additional counter underneath the search bar which displays the number of ocean-bound plastic bottles they have recovered so far thanks to people using their search engine. They also have an easy link to their donation certificates on the homepage and, if you scroll down, more information about their mission.

Both search engines might benefit from additional features, such as a dark mode, which are offered by other providers including SearchScene.

Search experience

At the time of writing (December 2020), Ekoru are making some technical changes and so any searches you make are redirected to Bing. However, we have used their search engine in the past and so can still report on the experience of the search results.

Like most search engines, Ekoru has an ‘All’ tab for the main search results, as well as dedicated tabs for images, video, news and maps. Their results are powered by Bing, as with the majority of charitable search engines, so delivers accurate and relevant results. There is also an integrated image carousel within the main results, and related searches at the side.

Since Ekoru are currently making changes, we might see some new developments so will update this article in due course!

OceanHero displays a featured snippet at the top of the search results and also has a knowledge panel at the right hand side, both of which have information pulled from Wikipedia. This creates a more sophisticated and in-depth results page than Ekoru. They also have integrated ‘Videos’, ‘Images’ or ‘News’ sections within the main results.

The background of the results page can appear in ‘Ocean Mode’, which displays a sea image, but you can also toggle this off at the top. OceanHero also has a button to ‘repeat the search on Google’ so you can compare results.

Both search engines have fairly good search experiences, but users may notice quite a difference in experience from using Google, as the knowledge panel is either absent or not as advanced.

On the other hand, SearchScene is a search engine which displays a very detailed knowledge panel for informational queries, including published works for authors, movies and TV shows for actors, songs and albums for artists and so on. Opting for this search engine over the other two may provide a closer experience to Google.

Overall, it really comes down to personal preference and what is important to you! Do remember that OceanHero and Ekoru aren’t your only options when it comes to alternative search engines and it’s worth comparing them all to see which suits you best.