Secure Search with Google Alternatives
So, it may come as a huge surprise, but the search engine you are using is actually spying on you. Okay, jokes and sensational news five years ago aside, Google does spy on people a lot. And most users rarely realize how much data it actually aggregates, or they simply don’t care, as they don’t believe something harmful can be done to their online profiles.
According to Alphametic.com, which specializes in analyzing digital marketing, informs that almost 90% of the Internet-active users in many countries use Google as their go-to search engine. With the increasing awareness of dangers, the Google approach to user data might pose, people start to look for safer alternatives.
Some hunt for the perfect private search, while others are content as soon as they know which data is being collected and why. Let’s have a closer look at our options here.
If you still haven’t tried the search engine that uses a cute duck as its logo, you definitely should. At least, do it for the duck. The project started in 2007 with the single objective to provide users with the ability to receive quality search results without being tracked. 12 years ago people tried to protect themselves from unwanted surveillance, imagine, what is happening now “behind the scenes” of the popular search services.
DuckDuckGo uses a custom-built algorithm to deliver relevant search results while keeping your queries and other data private. Well, technically, they are not keeping it, as there’s simply nothing to keep. The service doesn’t collect any personal data, according to their official claims.
DuckDuckGo is highly customizable, so you can tweak and turn it to suit your personal search needs. Some users. However, note that the service displays results slower than average.
Ixquick / StartPage
Now Ixquick and Startpage are a single company operating under the name of Startpage. However, only three years ago they were separate entities. The companies merged in 2016, unifying their efforts to provide users with awesome search experience as well as secure browsing.
Ixquck didn’t start, however, as a privacy tool. At first, it was launched as a metasearch engine, which means a tool that searches other search engines. It became more privacy-oriented after the heavy criticism Google Shopping received in 2006. Now Ixquick started working on retaining as little user data as possible, with stopping to record IP addresses completely as early as 2009 (we are looking at you, Google!).
Another important change happened to the service in 2009 – it launched an additional service, called Startpage.com, which was easier to remember and spell. At first, this new service only focused on fetching results from Google, after the merge with Ixquick, it combined all of the previous features of two services in one mega-private meta-search engine.
This is the newest search engine on the list, and it’s rapidly gaining popularity to its clean design, powerful search mechanisms and respect to users’ privacy rights. The service also has an option for younger Internet users, named “Quant junior.” It filters the results so kids aren’t subjected to improper imagery you can sometimes come across on the Internet.
Now let’s elaborate a little on the privacy features Qwant offers to its users. First of all, the service doesn’t track user activity and use your data for targeted ads. On the contrary, Qwant does not personalize search results to avoid trapping users in the filter bubble, and essentially deciding for you what it is you want more. While it may seem a little odd at first, you’ll get used to it soon.
The service also offers a handy feature called “Qwick Search Shortcuts,” which allows you to search on a certain website simply by putting a short version of the website name with an exclamation mark in front of your query. For example “a! speakers” will give you results of speakers only from Amazon.
After all, privacy feels good! And if you are still not convinced, the French government recently declared that all the searches done in the administration should be done using Qwant.
Don’t Forget a VPN
If you are not already sick of us ranting on every page how VPN will save your data, here’s yet another reminder: get a good VPN. Browsers that don’t track your data are awesome, but there are a lot of other ways how your valuable data can get hijacked.
When you use a VPN, you hide your real IP address, thus making your online activity impossible to trace back to you. Moreover, VeePN also encrypts your traffic, which means that even if a hacker manages to intercept your traffic and tie it to you in real life, they won’t be able to decipher it.
Long story short, with VeePN you are protected from any kind of attack aimed at intercepting and decrypting your data.