People have finally begun to realize that online privacy is an important issue. Google provides an immense utility and convenience in our online routine but the data it collects from our searches is something to be concerned about. This is one of the reasons why anonymous search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage are gaining popularity.
These search engines leverage the search capabilities of big search engines like Google and Bing but deliver the results in a completely anonymous fashion.
Our search engine recommendations have been built for the purpose of minimizing your online footprint. They don’t collect data on users and simply deliver search results.
Why You Should Use a Privacy Search Engine
Google’s entire business model is designed around knowing as much as it can about the person using it. The purpose? That’s simple, to collect data in order to deliver targeted advertising wherever you are on the web. Each time you make a search the following information is collected and stored on its servers:
- Your IP address
- Time and date of search query
- The exact query
- A cookie – this is used to uniquely identify your computer. This is stored on your computer.
It’s not a coincidence when you see a product that you want to be advertised on some random website. Search engines and privacy are linked very closely, and you should consider alternative search engines if you want to stay anonymous.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the best privacy search engines. We’ve taken important factors into account such as the accuracy of search results and the level of anonymity they offer to users.
Anonymous Search Engine Recommendations
DuckDuckGo is a completely anonymous search engine that does not track any of its users. Of course, that’s easier said than done but that is exactly it’s at the top of our list. It does offer some sort of advertisement to users, but the ads are picked at random and are non-targeted. To put it simply, the DuckDuckGo knows nothing about its users.
The accuracy of search results is reasonably good, if not at par with those delivered by Google. DuckDuckGo has close ties with Yahoo and uses its search technology. Yahoo has been previously been linked to NSA, but DuckDuckGo continues to insist that it takes the promise of absolute privacy very seriously.
The performance of the website is very good, with a clean interface and fast response times. You can search for images and videos in separate tabs like Google. The image filtering capabilities aren’t as comprehensive as Google’s, with options limited to filtering images by size only.
In a nutshell, DuckDuckGo offers the most user-friendly search engine alternative to Google.
If you’re looking for an anonymous search engine that uses Google to source search results, then Startpage is the answer. The user experience isn’t as slick or as responsive as DuckDuckGo, but the overall impression is still quite good.
There are no search term suggestions as you type, so you’ll have to know exactly what you’re searching for. The interface is pleasantly clutter-free, although we’re not really sure about the blue sky background on the home page. Searches can be filtered to return images and videos, and there’s an advanced search option with additional parameters.
The site displays ads but these are completely non-targeted and not influenced by what you’re searching for. Rest assured, this is a completely anonymous search engine. The fact that it is based in Holland also helps.
Still not convinced that search engines can be truly anonymous? SearX is an open-source search engine that you can self-host to ensure that absolutely no usage logs are being stored on any unknown servers. SearX uses the search capabilities of several search engines. It also allows users to choose which search engines to source results from.
The interface can be best described as ‘utilitarian’, but it’s still perfectly usable. If you’re really concerned about privacy, SearX is the way to go.
Can a search engine be completely anonymous? That’s up to speculation. Companies like DuckDuckGo insist that they’re as anonymous as a search engine can be, but the fact that they use Amazon servers (which is an American company) does lead to some suspicions.