I replaced Google Search with Opera’s Aria AI feature and I don’t miss the former one bit

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Opera has been my on-and-off default browser for years. Starting early in 2023, once the development team added artificial intelligence to the browser, I thought I was done with it permanently. But I gave it a chance and am glad I did.

To my surprise, I found Aria — Opera’s built-in AI tool — to come in handy for one specific function. And that function has me using google.com less and less with every passing day.

Also: How to use Opera’s built-in AI chatbot (and why you should)

Let me explain.

When I run a search on google.com and the results appear, I always assume one or more of the following:

  • The resulting site content will be out-of-date.
  • The resulting site will contain so many ads (or poorly designed code) that it will cause problems with my web browser.
  • The resulting site content is behind a paywall.
  • The resulting site content will require that I sign up.

I realize that’s a bit heavy on the pessimism, but anyone who searches as much as I do will get what I’m throwing down. 

It can be exhausting. 

It also means I have to continue refining my search to find what I’m looking for. And, given most often what I’m querying is for research purposes (either for an article or a book), I need to be as efficient as possible. I’m too busy to spend my time on deep dives down various rabbit holes to find what I need. 

That’s where Opera’s Aria comes in. Let me give you an easy example.

In the current book series I’m writing, every character’s name is a combination of classical composer’s names. For example, one of the main characters is Anton Frank. The first name is from Anton Dvorak and the last name from Frank Bridge. I’m sometimes randomly putting those names together and sometimes with intention. Although I know a lot of classical composer names, once you’re four books into a series, you have to start digging deep into more obscure composers. 

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To that end, instead of using a Google search — which might have me clicking through sites until I find one that’s useful — I open Aria and type:

List 50 classical composers

If that doesn’t give me what I need, I might type:

List 50 female classical composers

I can continue narrowing down the query, making sure to start each one as a new chat — which saves it in the Aria sidebar — so I can refer back to it later.

When I go this route, I don’t have to worry about poorly coded websites dragging my browser to a halt or any of the other issues I’ve run into when researching something.

Aria just works.

Keep this in mind: I don’t use Aria (or any AI) for anything but that purpose. I’m not using it as a crutch to write for me. AI is not my muse and it never will be. You see, I’ve spent 30 years developing my “writer’s voice” and have no intention of not using it. 

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Essentially, I use Aria in place of Google searches.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that I don’t use Aria in place of the sites I like to frequent. When I follow a writer, it’s because of their unique perspective and/or voice. I don’t want to read pieces that were generated by soulless algorithms. I want heart in my news and/or entertainment; I want vision, depth, and experience in the words I read. I want to know that someone was moved enough by something to write about it. 

When I discover that a site uses AI to create content, I never return. I won’t knowingly read articles or books written by AI, won’t listen to music created by AI, and would never watch videos created by AI. AI is not a creative process and it never will be.

But for research…I only need information (like names).

So, at least for me, Aria is beating Google at its own game and I don’t see this changing any time soon. Give Opera’s Aria a try. I believe you’ll find it can often best Google at helping you find the answers you need for your queries, without worrying about what site you’re being sent to.

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