Search engines are the frontline of privacy loss on the Internet. In fact, many track you even when you aren’t using them. But you don’t have to allow it, and one of the easiest ways to avoid being tracked is by using a search engine that doesn’t track you. Here’s my top three picks.
Did you know that every time you perform a search on the Internet, you’re being tracked? All of the big companies do this. Google is the most notorious, but Bing, Yahoo and AOL are all equally involved. Try out these alternatives so you’re not tracked.
Tracking information collected about you is used to build back-end user profiles. These profiles weren’t initially designed for anything malicious, just to sell you customized search results and ads. But, what is done with this information has become increasingly ambiguous.
If you haven’t read already, Duck Duck Go provides an easy to follow trailmap of what happens to data harvested on the average search user everyday. Read it here. But this data is also used to to personalize your search results, and the end result is a censored internet. Duck Duck Go has another groovy page on that here.
Are you concerned enough about your privacy to make a change in which search provider you use? Below are three alternatives to Google and Bing that don’t harvest anything about you. When you use one of these search engines, they act as a proxy between you, the source engine, and the website that it takes you to. Overall, your privacy is protected at the small expense of missing out only a few features you might otherwise have had. Each pro-privacy search engine guarantees the following:
- SSL Encrypted Searches (can be disabled in user preferences)
- IP address not recorded
- No tracking or identifying cookies
- No searches or activity stored
If you’d prefer results from multiple search engines, ixquick provides them. Being the same company that runs Start Page, don’t expect things to be much different from an interface perspective. Ixquick doesn’t exactly show you which search engines it uses to pull results, but Google and Bing are among them. Ixquick is also designed to pull localized results dependent upon which language you use to search.
Duck Duck Go is probably the most feature rich of the privacy-oriented search engine. Like Ixquick, Duck Duck Go pulls results from other search engines. But unfortunately, Google is not one of them. Instead, results from Duck Duck Go are more likely to feel like you are searching Bing. Duck Duck Go also has the most simple interface, and I’ve noticed performance on it doesn’t lag behind as much as its Ixquick contenders.
Overall each search engine provides a groovy alternative. While it’s true, your bank and credit card company know much more about you, does everyone else on the web need to also? Many don’t think so, and Ixquick recently announced that over 2 million searches are performed through it’s network of sites on a daily basis.
Do you have another great privacy minded search engine you like to use? Let us know if another deserves a spot on the top list by shouting it out in the comments below.