Most known search engines track everything you do online. Create a profile associated with information like your search history , browser, location ,ip address , who you communicate with , products that maybe interesting and more more info.
All these info that can track has the right to sell it in 3rd parties or share it in affiliate and ad companies that has as partners to deliver more personalize ads.
While this can be helpful because the search results will be more appropriate for many users it feels like there is no privacy.
Thankful if you are concerned about your privacy you have an alternatives that can provide you relative results without compromising your privacy.
After 2 weeks of research i would like to publish my results for private search engines that can use as alternative of the most known search engines
What to look for in the private search engines
When you start search for private search engines you will find quite numbers of alternative search engines.
But not all of them are the same and don’t offer the same protection that maybe want.
Few of the most important things that should look for it after our research are:
- Don’t track your search results
- Don’t track your personal data (ip address, geolocation ,…)
- Don’t store the search history with your personal data or at least to delete after some days.
- Return appropriate search results
So let’s take a look in some of the private search engines that found after our research
Note that don’t want to write down which is the best private search engines just to give you an alternatives and help you understand how track everything the most known search engines
Private Search Engines
Here are the results after 2 weeks research with different private search engines
One of the most popular private search engine for 2021.
It’s not used any cookies by default.
But as it says save search in a non personalization way and use some affiliate code to some ecommerce sites (e.g. Amazon & eBay) that results in small commissions being paid back to DuckDuckGo when you make purchases at those sites.
They do not use any third parties to do the code insertion, and they do not work with any sites that share personally identifiable information (e.g. name, address, etc.) via their affiliate programs.
Because Duckduckgo has partnership with Amazon,Yahoo and ebay you will see Ads in the top of your searches.
Swisscows it’s another one private search engine which launch at 2014 and the company based in Switzerland.
Before start to write down features Swisscom earns money through advertisements. This means that you will see ads in the top of the searches
Part of the advertisement income that generated give children from Haiti a warm meal together with us and give the forgotten children of the world an education so that they can change their country.
- They don’t create user profiles but track only data that are necessary to provide it’s services and store it in an anonymize way.
- Collect data of the incoming search queries to be able to filter out spam and abusive searches.
- But after 7 days we remove all personal information (IP address and user agent) from the search data
- Because they partner with some advertisement networks like Bing ads some data are transmitted after careful anonymization in order to prevent click fraud.
- Data that related with HTTP connections keep it for 60 days
- Perform statistical analysis to understand user behavior and trends in order to improve Swisscows and decide which feature must implemented next. These analysis doesn’t involve personal data
Qwant is launched in July at 2013. It’s a French company located in Paris and it’s a few of search engines company in Europe and one that has own indexing engine.
So let’s see what offers for the privacy protection
- They naturally receive the search terms, the IP address of your computer or mobile device, and information about your browser (the “User Agent”).
- They use one cookie to remember your technical preferences for using Qwant, This cookie does not contain any advertising identifiers and is not accessible to third parties.
- For statistics and transfer to our technology and business partners they pseudonymize what they need to keep.
- In order to detect fraud, Qwant uses a specialized service offered by Microsoft, which does not have access to the keywords of your search. Only your IP address and the browser (your “User Agent”) are communicated to this specialized service to calculate a fraud probability score
- They do not set any advertising cookie on your browser,
- They don’t keep search queries
- For detection of spam processing the following data
- The keywords
- Information about the browser you use (the User Agent);
- Session preferences information
- A salted hash of the user’s IP address with the salt that changes ever three months at the latest (i.e. the result of a mathematical formula based on this IP address, not the IP address itself);
- The approximate geographic area of origin of the search at the scale of a region or a city (as deduced from the IP address).
- They retains for 7 days the keyword(s) entered associated with a pseudonym identifier calculated from the User Agent of your browser and the salted hash of your IP address. After this period, the keywords are no longer associated to an identifier and are retained for 12 months for aggregate statistical analysis
- They partner with Microsoft Ireland Operations Limited to provide a portion of the search results and provide contextual advertising
- They may transfer to the partner the following pseudonymous data related to your query
- The keywords of the search;
- Information about the browser you are using (the User Agent);
- The first three bytes of your IP address;
- The approximate geographical area from which the search originated, at the level of a region or city;
- The salt hash generated from your IP address, your User Agent and a salt that changes at the latest every 3 months;
- A random token generated by Qwant (aimed at limiting data overlap).
- If you subscribe and create an account then keeps some personal data
Startpage.com began as a sister company of Ixquick, a metasearch engine founded in 1998. The two websites were merged in 2016.
Is a Dutch private search engine. But because the company located in Netherlands it’s protected by Dutch and European privacy laws.
Let’s dig into more details to understand what can offer us to increase our privacy
- It’s not collect any personal information (ip address, user agent, location ….)
- It’s non personalized ads
- It’s not record search queries. They stripped unnecessary metadata including your IP Address and other identifying information. Then send the anonymized search queries in Google and return the search results.
- Use partner the Google Ads and share some non identifying system information in order to prevent the click fraud
- You can subscribe in the newsletter bit never share these data.
Disconnect is a meta search engine which act as a bridge between your searches and search engines like Duckduckgo, Bing,Yahoo,Google.
It provide secure search while searching in your favourite search engine. For example you can start search from Disconnect Search and redirect you in other search engine secure and don’t allow to track you.
The easier way is to use App from Web Store in Chrome that will block any track technology,ads or any invisible technology that can track you.
Let’s dig into more details and see what offers for privacy protection
- They don’t collect any of your Personal Info(IP,geo-location detection)
- They collect aggregate usage data from the Services and our website, including number of page views, visitor browser types, operating systems, or the links clicked to navigate to and from our site
- They use a first-party browser cookie only to remember your search preferences.
- They don’t sell your email address or any other Personal Info
- They share your Personal Info only in specific circumstances
- For example only to comply with laws or legally enforceable requests, to enforce our own rights and contracts with users or third parties
- They delete Personal Info from the records within 30 days
- we will comply with a request for user data when the law requires it, but we require valid legal process to compel the disclosure of user data
- They sell some products like private dns,packages premium ,pro and the disconnect.me
Ecosia founded at 2009 as a search engine which is based on Berlin. At the beginning provided search results from Yahoo , Bing and Wikipedia.
Until 2017 provided search results by the Bing and enhanced by the company own algorithm. At 2018 decided to be a private search engine.
Ecosia use 80% of revenue from advertisement revenue to support tree planting projects. Until now has plants more than 134,000,000 trees in more than 30 countries
Let’s see how Ecosia works to protect our privacy:
- They don’t store searches.
- They don’t create personal profiles of you based on search history
- They don’t sell data to advertisers
- All searches are encrypted
- They don’t use tracking tools like Google Analytics
- They collect only necessary data and for these data ensure data protection.
- Like remote parts of the IP Address. For example the ip address 192.168.152.223 becomes 192.168.XXX.XXX.
- All analytics data are stored encrypted
- They keep only anonymized data after 7 days
- Your country and language settings
- Whether or not you have installed an extension
- The value of your search counter
- Your adult filter settings
- The timestamp of your last search
- Your Bing Client ID (if enabled)
- If you have interacted with certain features before, to for example show you that you have unread notifications
- In some cases which way you have found out about Ecosia
- In some cases an identifier for our own anonymous usage data, for example to know how many users we have
- To determine which version of the page to show you if we are running a test with two different version (A/B test)
- Because they work with Bing for the search results when search in Ecosia send in Bing the IP address (obfuscated), user agent string, search term, and some settings like your country and language setting.
Search encrypt was created at 2016 by a group of Developers. Is a search engine that prioritize user privacy. The company is based in Cyprus.
It’s a new search engine compare it with the other ones.
Let’s see how it works to protect our privacy
- They don’t track search history
- They don’t store personal data like IP Address or unique user identifier
- They don’t use tracking tools and not retain logs.
- The search queries are encrypted
- It helps to hide search history on your device
- They store only aggregated search data and error logs data to improve product performance
- When using a browser extension built by Search Encrypt, we collect the extension version, browser user agent, url referrer, extension platform identifier, and a setting for if remote searches should be encrypted
- The company has partners affiliate companies but never share any data with 3rd parties
- They will share the information requested of us to the extent who have it only if receive any legally binding request to comply with a court order or applicable law, , but, as noted above, we would expect this information to be very limited and likely of little use given our limited information collection.
You can find lot of different private search engines that you can use at any time. The question is what do you want to protect from your privacy? How to find out the best for my requirements private search engine?
Start to search for your private search engine and find the best suitable to you.