Monday, October 31, 2011

3 Search Engines that Protect Your Privacy

Most people in the US use one of the following search engines: Google, Yahoo or Bing.  All three do a great job at search, however all three also do a great job of tracking everything you and you family searches for.  These search engines like it even better if you are logged into one of their services (email, blogging etc.) but they can also track yo via queries coming from your IP address and cookies on your computer.  One or two searches by you and your family is no big deal, but over months, day in and day out of search queries these search engines start to develop a pretty good profile of your likes and dislikes on tens of thousands of topics.

The search engines use this data to serve up advertising that you are more likely to click on.  But will the search engines eventually start selling your search data to other companies?  Another problem is that the government has figured out that this search data these companies store is pretty valuable and that government is requesting ever more data.  Remember the Orwellian horror stories of innocent citizens getting put on secret government lists and never being able to get their names removed?

Solution:

The solution is to use a search engine that does not collect any search data on you. Here are 3 good search engines you should try.

1. Duckduckgo - this is what I use as a default most of the time.  DDG uses Bing as their primary and does a bit of crawling on their own.  Very few ads on the search results page for a nice clean look. DDG privacy policy.  More info.

2. IXquick - this is a very good metasearch engine. (And the results are different from it's sister engine Startpage below.) The more stars you see on a listing the more search engines agree that that website is worthy to be in the top results.  Meta search engines are good for the kind of web search queries we do day in day out.  Privacy Policy.

3. StartPage - okay so you have to have Google search results but without the privacy problems of using Google, what to do?  Use Startpage.  That is the big difference between Startpage and IXquick.  Privacy policy.

While I do not think this is a matter to be paranoid  or panic about I do think that what you search for is your business not anyone else's, just like what books you check out of the library are nobodies business but you own. Protect yourself. Take charge of you own privacy.

Challenge:

Use any one of these search engines for a week or two as your default search.  If you like it keep using it. If you don't like it try another.  Do this for all the computers in the house and see how it works for you and your family.

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