11 Privateness-Centered, Various Search Engines to Google

  • January 4, 2023
  • elkenz
  • 10 min read

Google options are in all places, however are they any good?

To reply this query, I poked round a number of fashionable different engines like google for a day or two and used them for my each day work.

My major judging criterion was how every search engine fared in its dedication to defending person information and privateness. Listed below are the 11 that received my approval:

  1. Startpage
  2. DuckDuckGo
  3. Courageous Search
  4. Swisscows
  5. Search Encrypt
  6. OneSearch
  7. MetaGer
  8. Mojeek
  9. Qwant
  10. Ecosia
  11. You.com

Startpage's homepage. Search term "ahrefs" in text field

Startpage is successfully Google with out the monitoring. And because of this, it takes our high spot.

In response to the Netherlands-based search engine, your queries are anonymized earlier than search outcomes are pulled from Google. This implies all figuring out info is blanketed, together with your IP deal with. No monitoring cookies are used both.

Startpage additionally complies with GDPR, a European Union regulation that protects customers’ information. Nonetheless, you must know the nation is a part of the 9 Eyes intelligence alliance, which shares mass surveillance information with eight international locations.

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"Anonymized View" message in search queries

The Nameless View characteristic permits you to go to web sites out of your search outcomes anonymously for each desktop and cell. It basically behaves like a (free) VPN.

DuckDuckGo's homepage. Search term "ahrefs" in text field

DuckDuckGo is well probably the most well-known personal search engine round—and the antithesis to Google in relation to favoring person privateness. (Although, it does monetize from person searches.)

Your search historical past is saved in a non-identifiable method, that means monitoring cookies and private identifiers, similar to IP addresses, are usually not saved.

This can be a large plus for us although outcomes pulled from over 400 sources, together with its personal crawler (DuckDuckBot), crowdsourced websites like Wikipedia and companions like Bing and Yahoo.

To check its efficacy, I plugged the identical keywords into Google and DuckDuckGo—from “covid-19 updates” to “kaws marina bay.” The outcomes had been typically related. I discovered this to be true of breaking information tales too.

A potential draw back is that DuckDuckGo is predicated within the U.S. and, by extension, a part of the 5 Eyes intelligence alliance—which often collects mass surveillance information from web firms.

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Gif showing Bangs feature

DuckDuckGo’s “Bangs” characteristic takes you immediately to go looking outcomes on different websites. For instance, typing “!w” and a key phrase (e.g., !w singapore) takes you on to Wikipedia’s web page for Singapore.

Brave's homepage. Search term "Ahrefs" in text field

I like Courageous Search for its deal with unbiased outcomes, which it pulls from its personal index. The corporate made the daring transfer of relinquishing its reliance on Google SERPs in October 2021.

Upon looking for each evergreen content material and time-sensitive information, I discovered the outcomes to be related sufficient to Google’s—as long as you enable for nameless native outcomes.

For extra privateness, you’ll be able to select to show this toggle off and conduct handbook searches, e.g., “issues to do in [location].”

Toggle button for "Anonymous local results"

Identical to the opposite engines like google right here, there is no such thing as a person profiling and no personalised or focused advertisements.

The search engine is a part of Courageous Software program, whose co-founders embrace Brendan Eich (creator of JavaScript and co-founder of browser Mozilla Firefox) and Brian Bondy (former senior platform engineer at Mozilla).

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Search results for "marketing." Knowledge panel on the right

Courageous has data panels for fast solutions to your burning questions, similar to Google.

Swisscows' homepage. Search term "Ahrefs" in text field

Swisscows is a Switzerland-based search engine that has its personal index for German-language queries. For all different languages, outcomes are pulled from Bing. However this isn’t a difficulty, given that every one search queries are stripped of non-public identifiers.

The search engine additionally omits using monitoring cookies and geo-targeting.

Whereas Swisscows’ search outcomes definitely aren’t on par with Google’s, I like how household pleasant the search engine is: It routinely filters out violent and pornographic search outcomes by means of an enforced characteristic.

So far as privateness goes, Switzerland shouldn’t be a part of an intelligence alliance, however it does have a Mutual Authorized Help Treaty with the U.S.

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Search results for "digital marketing." Semantic map on the right

Swisscows has “semantic maps” that can assist you refine your searches.

Search Encrypt's homepage. Search term "ahrefs" in text field

Search Encrypt sources for its outcomes from its content material companions and engines like google (together with Google, Bing, and Yahoo), albeit in a privacy-safe method.

Like the opposite engines like google on this record, Search Encrypt anonymizes search queries, doesn’t retain server logs or IP addresses, and doesn’t retailer monitoring cookies.

With regards to searches, your phrases are encrypted domestically earlier than being despatched to the servers. After half-hour of inactivity, your searching historical past will likely be erased.

Nonetheless, Search Encrypt does retailer your search information (albeit with none of your private identifiers) to enhance its product efficiency.

I discovered its search outcomes similar to Ecosia’s. So whereas it’s not fairly up there with DuckDuckGo and Startpage, Search Encrypt is dependable sufficient for use for all types of queries—whether or not navigational, transactional, or informational.

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Options to retry search on Yahoo, Bing, and Google

When you’re dissatisfied with the outcomes or need a fast comparability, you’ll be able to simply achieve this utilizing the “retry this search” operate situated on the high of the web page.

OneSearch's homepage. Search term "ahrefs" in text field

Owned by Yahoo’s father or mother firm, Verizon Media, OneSearch claims to be a privacy-oriented search engine—with search outcomes pulled from Bing.

No cookies are saved, and there’s no sharing of identifiable private information with advertisers. Having additionally perused its privateness coverage, I discovered the search engine to be fairly secure.

On the draw back, OneSearch profiles you based mostly on question search phrases and your imprecise location on the time of your search. So you could get contextual advertisements—or educated guesses about your pursuits based mostly in your search keywords. There is no such thing as a private profiling or retargeting, although.

What I like are the little extras: the SafeSearch operate, the power to set a extra particular location, and the “Superior Privateness Mode” choice (extra beneath).

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Toggle button to turn Advance Privacy Mode on or off. Short write-up about privacy below

Allow “Superior Privateness Mode” to encrypt search phrases and search URLs, which can masks your search content material from third events.

MetaGer's homepage. Search term "ahrefs" in text field

MetaGer is a Germany-based, open-source metasearch engine. Like Ecosia, its servers run on renewable power.

Outcomes are pulled from Scopia, Bing, OneNewspage, and OneNewspage (Video), so that they’re fairly well timed. You can even deselect the major search engines used or create a blacklist of internet sites within the settings.

I admire how clear MetaGer is in its dealing with of person info, from queries to maps. Nonetheless, it’s not with out caveats: The search engine shops your full IP deal with for 96 hours, and your identify and electronic mail deal with are stored when you fill out its contact type.

Nonetheless, it does use an anonymizing proxy that ensures you keep full management over your information.

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Example of "Did you know" box

The “Do you know”’ field (to the best of search outcomes) affords tidbits about MetaGer and the way to refine your searches. You can even click on on the textual content to view the complete record of suggestions.

Mojeek's homepage. Search term "ahrefs" in text field

Mojeek is a crawler-based search engine with its personal search index of over 4 billion pages. This makes it glorious for unbiased info. However it additionally means there could also be restricted outcomes, because it doesn’t pull outcomes from different engines like google.

Nonetheless, I just like the search engine for its simple no-tracking coverage. Your private information will even by no means be offered or distributed, which is a big plus in our books. When you’ve crammed its contact type, you’ll be able to request to have the knowledge deleted too, as per GDPR.

All that mentioned, Mojeek is based mostly within the U.Okay., which is a part of the 5 Eyes intelligence alliance—similar to DuckDuckGo.

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Emoticons below text field

The emotion-based search classification characteristic means that you can enter a key phrase and search by emotion.

Qwant's homepage. Search term "ahrefs" in text field

Qwant is a Paris-based search engine whose search outcomes are powered by Bing and its personal net crawler. It’s totally accessible in over 30 international locations however, alas, not Singapore.

Finally test, my colleague, SQ, discovered the accuracy of search outcomes to be first rate sufficient. However don’t count on location-specific solutions, as Qwant doesn’t observe your geolocation.

It additionally doesn’t accumulate information or use monitoring cookies. However it retains your IP deal with for fraud detection functions. When you choose full anonymity, Qwant suggests utilizing a VPN or the TOR relay service.

Like Startpage, Qwant affords GDPR safety. France is, nonetheless, a part of the 9 Eyes intelligence alliance.

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Example of search shortcut. Typing in a specific query leads to Amazon's page

There are “search shortcuts” that give you fast entry to particular web sites. As an example, utilizing the time period “&a books” yields outcomes from Amazon’s books class.

View the record of shortcuts right here.

Ecosia's logo. Next to it is a text field to enter search queries

Do you know each motion you are taking in your digital gadget emits carbon dioxide? And Google performs a giant half in it: It’s accountable for ~40% of the web’s carbon footprint.

To counteract this, personal search engine Ecosia donates 80% of its earnings to tree-planting initiatives, or roughly one tree for each 45 searches made. It has additionally constructed a photo voltaic plant in order that its servers can run on clear energy.

On the entire, I discovered its search outcomes to be shut sufficient to Google’s.

Ecosia isn’t totally personal. It collects search information and personally identifiable info, each of that are solely anonymized after seven days. However we reckon utilizing the search engine is a worthy trade-off, because it seeks to deal with local weather change.

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Search results page. On top right-hand corner, a small scoreboard with a tree next to it

Your variety of searches is proven on a scoreboard (except you select to clear your browser cookies), permitting you to maintain observe of your affect on the setting.

You.com's logo. Next to it is a text field containing search term "ahrefs"

Rounding off the record is You.com. The beta-stage search engine affords a extremely customizable expertise: Your search outcomes seem on one webpage however are cut up into a number of sections which you could rearrange in keeping with your preferences.

"Web results," "Images," and "Videos" sections on search results page

To additional customise your outcomes, join an account so as to add and save apps to your dashboard (discover out extra beneath Characteristic Highlight beneath). These apps are basically your most well-liked sources of knowledge and can present up alongside along with your search outcomes.

Saved app "Reddit" on search results page

Whereas it’s a neat characteristic, it additionally means your first-party cookies will likely be saved for personalization functions. Alternatively, you’re capable of remove first-party cookie-tracking solely by searching privately or by way of VPN.

I discovered the search outcomes for numerous keywords (similar to “ahrefs” and “covid-19 singapore each day instances”) to be similar to Google’s. And whereas some outcomes are drawn from Microsoft, You.com maintains that person information is stored secure and never offered to advertisers. The corporate is carbon impartial too.

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Section to add apps

Personalize your search outcomes by including apps to your feed—there are scores of classes to select from. You may even add developer apps, similar to Github, to your dashboard.

Closing ideas

Whereas Google dominates the worldwide search engine market, it’s had its justifiable share of criticism: antitrust points, making a filter bubble, violating person privateness, and extra.

For customers, different engines like google could also be one workaround. However don’t take our phrase for it; check out those on this record to resolve what works finest for you.

Obtained questions or feedback? Ping me on Twitter.