Users continue to flock away from Google as the search engine giant becomes more elusive about privacy rights. We all know that Google, and other large search engines, have compiled in-depth user profiles about each person.
No one seems to know how extensive these profiles are, but the theories alone are frightening. We do know the user profiles are sold and used for targeted advertising. Check the game score from last night, and you will see team gear ads pop-up for the rest of the day.
So, for users who want to start reclaiming their privacy, what are the options? An excellent place to start is with a private search engine that does not store user’s data. There are a large number of them available. Remember, a private search engine only means that it is privately owned, and not that it takes active steps to protect your privacy.
The following is a list of search engines that do take steps to protect the privacy of their users:
- searX—searX is a meta-search engine that collects search results from several large search engines and combines them. It protects users’ privacy because the larger search engines receive the search query as an anonymous request. Instead of advertising cluttering your results, you will see a simple link to a donate button. searX runs open-sourced software and encourages users to download it and customize it to best suit their privacy needs.
- DuckDuckGo—DuckDuckGo is one of the most popular private search engines. DuckDuckGo makes money by advertising and affiliate marketing. The advertising you see may be related to your current search query, but it is not targeted based on any sort of profile. DuckDuckGo also offers the advantage of removing users from the bubble of search results based on your prior history. To simplify, assume you own a construction business. If you do a Google search for hammers, you are likely to see high-quality hammers designed for your industry. If you are using DuckDuckGo, you will see the same results as the teacher in the next state who wants to hang a picture.
- Hotbot—Hotbot does not show advertising, so results are very uncluttered. Hotbot also has one of the most inclusive internet privacy blogs on the web. If you want to understand more about keeping your online data private, visit their blog for great tips and tricks.
- Hot.com—https://hot.com/is the go-to place for sexual and other suggestive content. The proprietary web-crawlers have indexed nothing but mature content so that every search query will return results based on those parameters. You have the option to opt-out of data sharing on the search engine, giving users the ability not to have this content seen as part of their overall big data profile.
- SearchEncrypt—SearchEncrypt uses local encryption to secure your search remains private. Once encrypted, your search results are then retrieved from a network of search engines. Once done searching, your search terms expire, so they stay private even if someone else uses your computer. If you don’t want your kid to find where you were searching for their birthday surprise, this is a great alternative. You can also watch videos directly from the search engine. When you do not leave the search engine, everything remains safely behind the local encryption, and the history expires.