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[Source: This article was Published in exchangewire.com By Mathew Broughton - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

Talk about Google, along with their domination of the digital ad ecosystem, would not be on the lips of those in ad tech were it not for their original product: the Google Search engine.

Despite negative press coverage and EU fines, some estimates suggest the behemoth continues to enjoy a market share of just under 90% in the UK search market. However, there have been rumblings of discontent from publishers, which populate the results pages, about how they have been treated by the California-based giant.

This anger, combined with concerns over GDPR and copyright law violations, has prompted the launch of new ‘disruptive’ search engines designed to address these concerns. But will these have any effect on Google’s stranglehold on the global search industry? ExchangeWire details the problems publishers are experiencing with Google along with some of the new players in the search market, what effect they have had thus far, and how advertisers could capitalize on privacy-focused competition in the search market.

Google vs publishers

Publishers have experienced margin squeezes for years, whilst Google’s sales have simultaneously skyrocketed, with parent company Alphabet’s revenue reaching USD$36.3bn (£28.7bn) in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Many content producers also feel dismay towards Google’s ‘enhanced search listings’, as these essentially scrape content from their sites and show it in their search results, eliminating the need for users to visit their site, and in turn their monetization opportunity.

Recent changes to the design of the search results page, at least on mobile devices, which are seemingly aimed at making the differences between ads and organic listings even more subtle (an effect which is particularly noticeable on local listings) will also prove perturbing for the publishers which do not use Google paid search listings.

DuckDuckGo: The quack grows louder

Perhaps the best-known disruptive search engine is DuckDuckGo, which markets itself on protecting user privacy whilst also refining results by excluding low-quality sources such as content mills. In an attempt to battle against privacy concerns, and in recognition of anti-competitive investigations, Google has added DuckDuckGo to Chrome as a default search option in over 60 markets including the UK, US, Australia and South Africa. Further reflecting their increased presence in the search market: DuckDuckGo’s quack has become louder recently, adding momentum to the recent calls to transform the toothless ‘Do Not Track’ option into giving more meaningful protections to user privacy, as originally intended.

Qwant: Local search engines fighting Google

Qwant is a France-based search engine which, similar to DuckDuckGo, preserves user privacy by not tracking their queries. Several similar locally-based engines have been rolled out across Europe, including Mojeek (UK) and Unbubble (Germany). Whilst they currently only occupy a small percentage (~6%) of the French search market, Qwant’s market share has grown consistently year-on-year since their launch in 2013, to the extent that they are now challenging established players such as Yahoo! in the country. In recognition of their desire to increase their growth across Europe, whilst continuing to operate in a privacy-focused manner, Qwant has recently partnered with Microsoft to leverage their various tech solutions. A further sign of their growing level of gravitas is the French government’s decision to eschew Chrome in favour of their engine.

Ahrefs: The 90/10 profit share model

A respected provider of performance-monitoring tools within search, Ahrefs is now working on directly competing with Google with their own engine, according to a series of tweets from founder & CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko. Whilst a commitment to privacy will please users, content creators will be more interested in the proposed profit-share model, whereby 90% of the prospective search revenue will be given to the publisher. Though there is every change that this tweet-stage idea will never come to fruition, the Singapore-based firm already has impressive crawling capabilities which are easily transferable for indexing, so it is worth examining in the future.

Opportunity for advertisers

With the launch of Google privacy tools, along with stricter forms of intelligent tracking prevention (ITP) on the Safari and Firefox browsers, discussions have abounded within the advertising industry on whether budgets will be realigned away from display and video towards fully contextual methods such as keyword-based search. Stricter implementation of GDPR and the prospective launch of similar privacy legislation across the globe will further the argument that advertisers need to examine privacy-focused solutions.

Naturally, these factors will compromise advertisers who rely on third-party targeting methods and tracking user activity across the internet, meaning they need to identify ways of diversifying their offering. Though they have a comparatively tiny market share, disruptive search engines represent a potential opportunity for brands and advertisers to experiment with privacy-compliant search advertising.

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in searchengineland.com written By Greg Sterling - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Rene Meyer]

Google's response is that significant SERP personalization is 'a myth.'

A new study (via Wired) from Google rival DuckDuckGo charges that Google search personalization is contributing to “filter bubbles.” Google disputes this and says that search personalization is mostly a myth.

The notion of filter bubbles in social media or search has been a controversial topic since the term was coined a number of years ago by Eli Pariser to describe how relevance algorithms tend to reinforce users’ existing beliefs and biases.

Significant variation in results. The DuckDuckGo study had 87 U.S. adults search for “gun control,” “immigration,” and “vaccinations” at the same time on June 24, 2018. They searched both in incognito mode and then in non-private-browsing mode. Most of the queries were done on the desktop; a smaller percentage were on mobile devices. It was a small test in terms of the number of participants and query volume.

Below are the top-level findings according to DuckDuckGo’s discussion:

  • Most people saw results unique to them, even when logged out and in private browsing mode.
  • Google included links for some participants that it did not include for others.
  • They saw significant variation within the News and Videos infoboxes.
  • Private browsing mode and being logged out of Google offered almost zero filter bubble protection.

The DuckDuckGo post offers a more in-depth discussion of the findings, as well as the raw data for download.

Comparing the variation in search results 

Comparing the variation in search results

My test found minor differences. I searched “gun control,” “immigration,” and “vaccinations” in private mode and non-incognito mode. I didn’t find the results to be substantially different, though there were some differences in the SERP.

In the case of “immigration” (above), you can see there’s an ad in the incognito results but none in the non-private results. The normal results also feature a larger Knowledge Panel and “people also ask” search suggestions, which didn’t appear on the first page in the incognito results but did appear in subsequent searches on the same term.

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan responded to the study with a series of tweets explaining that there’s very limited personalization in search results but that the company does show different results because of location, language differences, platform and time (on occasion). He said, “Over the years, a myth has developed that Google Search personalizes so much that for the same query, different people might get significantly different results from each other. This isn’t the case. Results can differ, but usually for non-personalized reasons.”

In September this year, Google told CNBC that it essentially doesn’t personalize search results.

Why you should care. Non-personalized search results make the job of SEO practitioners easier because they can better determine the performance of their tactics. Google doesn’t consider “localization” to be personalization, although many SEOs would argue that it is. On mobile devices, proximity is widely seen as a dominant local ranking factor.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published searchenginejournal.com By Chuck Price - Contributed by Member: Eric Beaudoin

Google is a behemoth in the search engine world. With its powerful algorithms, dominant advertising platform, and personalized user experience, Google is a force to be reckoned with.

That said, Google’s easy-to-use interface and personalized user experience comes at a cost.

It’s no secret the search engine giant catalogs the browsing habits of its users and shares that information with advertisers and other interested parties.

However, if you are unwilling to trade privacy for convenience, there are dozens of Google alternatives – many offering a better search experience.

Here are 14 search alternatives to Google.

1. Bing

Bing Search

Despite trailing Google by a wide margin in U.S. market share (24.2 percent vs. 63.2 percent), an argument can be made that Bing performs better in certain aspects.

For starters, Bing has a rewards program that allows one to accumulate points while searching. These points are redeemable at the Microsoft and Windows stores, which is a nice perk.

The Bing image search performs flawlessly across all browsers, whereas Google image search seems to be optimized just for Chrome.

In my view, the Bing image search GUI is superior to its rival’s and much more intuitive. Bing carries that same clean user experience to video, making it the “go to” source for video search without a YouTube bias.

2. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo Search

If you’re looking for true privacy, DuckDuckGo is the search engine for you.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or store any of your personal information. That means you can run your searches in peace without having to worry about the boogeyman watching you through your computer screen.

DuckDuckGo is the perfect choice for those who wish to keep their browsing habits and personal information private.

3. Wiki.com

Wiki.com Search

Looking for a search engine that pulls its results from thousands of wikis on the net? If so, Wiki.com is a good choice.

Wiki.com is the perfect search engine for those who appreciate community-led information as found on sites like Wikipedia.

4. Twitter

Twitter search

Twitter is hard to beat as a real-time search engine. It’s the perfect place to go for a minute by minute updates in the case of an emergency.

Google’s algorithm will catch up eventually, but nothing beats a Tweet in the heat of the moment.

5. CC Search

Creative Commons Search

CC Search should be your first stop on the hunt for many types of copyright-free content.

This search engine is perfect if you need music for a video, an image for a blog post, or anything else without worrying about an angry artist coming after you for ripping off their work.

The way CC Search works is simple – it draws in results from platforms such as Soundcloud, Wikimedia, and Flickr and displays results labeled as Creative Commons material.

6. Gibiru

Gibiru Search

Are you wearing a MAGA hat while reading this? If so, Gibiru may be the search engine you’ve been looking for.

According to their website, “Gibiru is the preferred Search Engine for Patriots.”

They claim their Search results are sourced from a modified Google algorithm, so users are able to query the information they seek without worrying about Google’s tracking activities.

Because Gibiru doesn’t install tracking cookies on your computer they purport to be faster than “NSA Search Engines.”

7. Internet Archive

Internet Archive Search

The Wayback Machine is great for researching old websites, but it’s so much more.

As the name implies, this search engine queries a massive collection of documented material, including millions of free videos, books, music, and software.

Essentially, Internet Archive is a vast online library where you can access just about anything you could imagine.

See Anyone's Real-Time Analytics
What will you do when you can lift the curtain on the internet? Insights you were never meant to see. Data that will change marketing forever.

8. Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt is a private search engine that uses local encryption to ensure your searches remain private.

It uses a combination of encryption methods that include Secure Sockets Layer encryption and AES-256 encryption.

When you input a query, Search Encrypt will pull the results from its network of search partners and deliver the requested information.

One of the best parts of Search Encrypt is that your search terms will eventually expire, so your information will remain private even if someone has local access to your computer.

9. Yandex

Yandex search

Looking for a search perspective outside of the United States?

Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia, which is used by more than 53 percent of Russian Internet users. It is also used in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Yandex is an overall easy-to-use search engine. As an added bonus, it offers a suite of some pretty cool tools.

For example, if you use its cloud storage service, Yandex Disk, you can search for your personal files right from the search bar of the search engine!

10. StartPage

StartPage search

StartPage was developed to include results from Google, making it perfect for those who prefer Google’s search results without having to worry about their information being tracked and stored.

It also includes a URL generator, a proxy service, and HTTPS support. The URL generator is especially useful because it eliminates the need to collect cookies. Instead, it remembers your settings in a way that promotes privacy.

11. Swisscows

Swisscows

Swisscows is one of the more unique options on this list, billing itself as a family-friendly semantic search engine.

It uses artificial intelligence to determine the context of a user’s query. Over time, Swisscows promises to answer your questions with surprising accuracy.

12. Boardreader

Boardreader Search

If you’re interested in finding a forum or message board about a specific subject, Boardreader should be the first place you turn to.

This search engine queries its results from a wide variety of message boards and forums online. You should be able to find the forum you want with just a few keystrokes.

13. SlideShare

SlideShare Search

This unique search engine allows you to search for documented slideshow presentations.

You can also search for ebooks and PDFs, making it an excellent tool if you have a business presentation to prepare for.

SlideShare also allows you to save slides and even download the entire slideshow for use on your local computer.

14. Ecosia

Ecosia Search

Looking to save the planet, one tree at a time? Then check out this environmentally friendly search engine!

This may come as a surprise, but your Google searches actually contribute to the creation of quite a bit of CO2.

To battle this issue, Ecosia uses the revenues generated from search engine queries to plant trees. Typically Ecosia needs around 45 searches to plant a new tree.

Bottom Line

Google may be the most popular choice in search engines, but you still have a multitude of alternatives to use.

Many of these alternative search engines provide a better user experience and superior information to Google.

Whether you’re looking for more privacy or simply want to explore your options, there are plenty of search engines to experiment with. So what are you waiting for?

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published pymnts.com - Contributed by Member: Anna K. Sasaki

Think of online privacy as a race.

With consumers increasingly focused on how their data and web personas are used by eCommerce and other digital organizations, regulators and lawmakers are moving to get ahead of that political and cultural wave. Payments, commerce, and tech companies, meanwhile, are trying to stay a step ahead of regulators and lawmakers, and tweak or refashion their brands and reputations so they can boast about privacy protections and reduce the risk of losing profit as customers rethink their loyalties.

DuckDuckGo, the no-tracking search engine with a name that reflects a childhood play activity, intends to make the most of the ongoing privacy backlash from consumers. It has raised $10 million in fresh capital — only the second funding round for the 10-year-old, Pennsylvania-based operation —  and has plans to better promote itself to a global audience, while also offering other privacy-protection technology.

It seems foolish to even fantasize about the search engine ever catching up with Google. However, in a new PYMNTS interview, DuckDuckGo Founder Gabriel Weinberg said that, in the coming year, it could end up accounting for a double-digit chunk of search activity.

Optimistic View

His optimism stemmed in large part from the search’s engine growth: Use is up at least 50 percent over the last couple of years, with more than 5.8 billion direct search queries in total so far in 2018, compared with nearly 6 billion for all of 2017. The site’s daily direct traffic averages about 26.2 million. The United States stands as the largest source of DuckDuckGo traffic, followed by such countries as France, Germany, and Canada.

Of course, Google has numbers that dwarf that: about 3.5 billion searches per day. Though DuckDuckGo does not engage in tracking the behavior and habits of consumers online, it does make its money via ad offerings based on the keywords entered by users when searching for something — just as Google does. A consumer on either search engine might type in “car insurance,” for instance, resulting in relevant ads being served up, which in turn can result in revenue for that search engine.

The difference is that DuckDuckGo stops there — it does not sell search data to third parties for advertising (which, of course, cuts out a lucrative source of revenue). The search engine does not store users’ search histories, either.

That limit stands as a big part of the search engine’s appeal in these privacy-sensitive times, according to Weinberg. The search engine, its results compiled from more than 400 sources and its own web crawler, earns revenue from serving ads via the YahooBing network and affiliate relationships with such eCommerce operators as Amazon and eBay. For each user who buys a product that originates with certain DuckDuckGo searches, the site earns a commission on that transaction.

“We are definitely small,” he said, acknowledging the obvious. However, the company turns a profit and has yet to do any major marketing. So far, DuckDuckGo has benefited from word of mouth, essays, blog postings and question-and-answer content published and distributed on Quora and social media sites, he said.

New Funding

The new capital, from OMERS Ventures, a Canadian pension fund, will enable DuckDuckGo to beef up its marketing, among other areas. “We’re not sure what kind of marketing yet,” Weinberg said. “We’re running different kinds of experiments to figure out what works the best.”

DuckDuckGo last raised capital in 2011 — $3 million in seed funding. Since then, the digital landscape has significantly changed, which attracted OMERS. “Issues of privacy and security in the digital world have become increasingly topical and controversial,” the firm said in explaining its investment. “In 2018, these concerns have risen to the forefront of public consciousness. Users are becoming more aware of their personal data and are increasingly concerned with protecting it.”

DuckDuckGo aims to go beyond online searches in further building its pro-privacy brand. It recently launched what OMERS called “a mobile browser and desktop browser extension to their product mix; these products include built-in tracker blocking and smarter encryption.”

Facebook Example

Recent data and consumer trends support that path, Weinberg told PYMNTS. Like others in the space focusing on privacy (or worried about the consumer backlash), he used Facebook as an example.

For those who’ve enjoyed the luxury of a news-light summer away from digital leashes, the story goes like this: The social media platform needs to maintain — or even win back — the trust of consumers who were either shaken by the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal or are just increasingly wary of sharing too much information online with a massive corporation. In fact, Pew Research recently reported that 42 percent of Facebook users have taken a break from the platform during the past year, while 54 percent of those 18 and older have adjusted their privacy settings during that time frame. Additionally, 26 percent of U.S. adult consumers said they deleted the Facebook app from their smartphone.

“Awareness is really high,” Weinberg said about online privacy, adding that the company’s own surveys echo findings that a good chunk of consumers are having second thoughts about how their data is used by digital service providers. “People are trying to figure out how to protect themselves online.”

Figuring out answers is taking on an almost existential flavor in digital payments and commerce (which is to say, most of Western daily life). A recent discussion between PYMNTS’ Karen Webster and Sunil Madhu, founder of identity verification and fraud prevention services provider Socure, dug deep into those questions and featured a debate about how much Facebook really has to worry about and analysis of what makes a solid digital ID.

The consumer focus on privacy, and the ongoing backlash — demonstrated in part by Europe’s GDPR and other laws — is no flash in the pan, Weinberg said. This moment of privacy protection effort represents, perhaps, the best opportunity for DuckDuckGo — one that could propel it to capture 5 percent to 10 percent of searches, he said.

Historians will have to figure out and define the various phases of internet development and digital economy growth, and trying to anticipate what they will say is a fun game, but often ends up as a reckless intellectual endeavor. That said, the last few years — don’t forget the Edward Snowden NSA revelations, because Weinberg and other students of online privacy sure don’t — are shaping up as a turning point in how online consumers view privacy.

That will, no doubt, provide an opportunity for a host of businesses — not just DuckDuckGo.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published cbsnews.com - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

Even if "Location History" is off on your phone, Google often still stores your precise location.

Here are some things you can do to delete those markers and keep your location as private as possible. But there's no panacea because simply connecting to the internet on any device flags an IP address, a numeric designation that can be geographically mapped. Smartphones also connect to cell towers, so your carrier knows your general location at all times.

To prevent further tracking

For any device:

Fire up your browser and go to myactivity.google.com . Sign into Google if you haven't already. On the upper left drop-down menu, go to "Activity Controls." Turn off both "Web & App Activity" and "Location History." That should prevent precise location markers from being stored to your Google account.

Google will warn you that some of its services won't work as well with these settings off. In particular, neither the Google Assistant, a digital concierge, nor the Google Home smart speaker will be particularly useful.

On iOS:

If you use Google Maps, adjust your location setting to "While Using" the app; this will prevent the app from accessing your location when it's not active. Go to Settings - Privacy - Location Services and from there select Google Maps to make the adjustment.

In the Safari web browser, consider using a search engine other than Google. Under Settings - Safari - Search Engine, you can find other options like Bing or DuckDuckGo. You can turn location off while browsing by going to Settings - Privacy - Location Services - Safari Websites, and turn this to "Never." (This still won't prevent advertisers from knowing your rough location based on IP address on any website.)

You can also turn Location Services off to the device almost completely from Settings - Privacy - Location Services. Both Google Maps and Apple Maps will still work, but they won't know where you are on the map and won't be able to give you directions. Emergency responders will still be able to find you if the need arises.

On Android:

Under the main settings icon click on "Security & location." Scroll down to the "Privacy" heading. Tap "Location." You can toggle it off for the entire device.

Use "App-level permissions" to turn off access to various apps. Unlike the iPhone, there is no setting for "While Using." You cannot turn off Google Play services, which supplies your location to other apps if you leave that service on.

Sign in as a "guest" on your Android device by swiping down from the top and tapping the downward-facing caret, then again on the torso icon. Be aware of which services you sign in on, like Chrome.

You can also change search engines even in Chrome.

To delete past location tracking

For any device:

On the page myactivity.google.com , look for any entry that has a location pin icon beside the word "details." Clicking on that pops up a window that includes a link that sometimes says "From your current location." Clicking on it will open Google Maps, which will display where you were at the time.

You can delete it from this popup by clicking on the navigation icon with the three stacked dots and then "Delete."

Some items will be grouped in unexpected places, such as topic names, google.com, Search, or Maps. You have to delete them item by item. You can wholesale delete all items in date ranges or by service but will end up taking out more than just location markers.

Categorized in How to

Source: This article was Published thehayride.com By Bethany Blankley - Contributed by Member: Alex Grey

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t track its users and offers a level of privacy– for free– that hasn’t existed on the Internet because of Google.

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO & Founder at DuckDuckGo gives 10 reasons why DuckDuckGo is a better, safer service for users. Below are five:

DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users. Google does.

All of a user’s personal information: medical, financial and anything else should be private, but on Google, it’s not. On Google, your searches are tracked, mined, and packaged up into a data profile for advertisers to follow you around the Internet.”

Weinberg says, “To keep your searches private and out of data profiles, the government, and other legal requests, you need to use DuckDuckGo. We don’t track you at all, regardless of what browsing mode you are in. Each time you search on DuckDuckGo, it’s as if you’ve never been there before.”

DuckDuckGo blocks Google trackers lurking everywhere.

Google tracks users on more than just their search engine. They track everyone on YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android, Gmaps, and all the other services they run.
Private alternatives like DuckDuckGo can enable people to live Google-free. Google trackers lurk behind the scenes on 75% of the top million websites. Facebook is the next closest with 25%.

DuckDuckGo provides unbiased search results.

Weinberg notes that when people google information they expect to find unbiased results, but that’s not what they get. On Google, results are tailored to what Google thinks the user is likely to click on, based on the data profile its built on each user over time from tracking everything everyone does online.

Users can search without fear.

“When people know they are being watched, they change their behavior” Weinberg notes. Called the chilling effect, an MIT study found that people began searching less online after Snowden revealed they were being watched. People became afraid that their personal medical issues might be publicized. It reported:

“Suppressing health information searches potentially harms the health of search engine users and… In general, our results suggest that there is a chilling effect on search behavior from government surveillance on the Internet.”

Weinberg says, “Your searches are your business, and you should feel free to search whatever you want, whenever you want. You can easily escape this chilling effect on DuckDuckGo where you are anonymous.”

Google is simply too big, and too powerful.

Weinberg notes that Google is a monopoly, with a market cap of at least $750 billion (at the time of writing) with at least 75,000 employees that dominate search, browsing, online advertising, and more. Its tentacles are in everything tech, online and offline Weinberg warns.

Because of their size, their influence on politics is disproportionate. Last year Google outspent every other company lobbying in Washington, D.C.

DuckDuckGo is a team of 45 worldwide. Its focus is narrow: helping people take control of their personal information online. “The world could use more competition, less focus on ad tracking, fewer eggs in one basket,” Weinberg says.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published productwatch.co By Kevin Meyer - Contributed by Member: David J. Redcliff

I don’t think I’m blowing your mind when I say most sites are trying to collect your data. If you don’t have to pay for the product, you are the product — it’s the reason Movie Pass doesn’t mind taking a loss if you see more than one movie a month, though who knows how long that experiment will last.

So, if you want to protect your privacy, you will have to put in some effort. Thankfully, there are services you can use to make your job easier. And we’ll show you both which ones are efficient, and how to use them.

uBlock Origin

The very first extension you should get when you get a new device is a good ad-blocker. Not many are better than uBlock Origin. Essentially, this service will filter the content you see in your browser. Also, unlike other ad-blockers, uBlock doesn’t slow your browser down.

Furthermore, using it is a breeze. All you need to do is install the extension and let it run. The default settings are such that the standard filters for ads, privacy, and malware are active. You just need to let the extension run.

In the meantime, if you want to change the settings, you can easily do so by clicking the shield icon next to your URL bar.

BitDefender

BitDefender is one of the biggest companies that offer device protection services. In fact, if you choose to use their products, you will be one of over 500 million users they have. They offer multiple tools that can protect your computer from harm. And, more importantly for this article, they also offer online privacy tools. For example, their BitDefender VPN tool is possibly the best VPN tool you can get.

The interface is rather simple, and once you start using the tool, you will see how easy it can be to protect yourself.

Unshorten.It

Short URLs were very popular when they first came out. After all, they are a lot tidier than the usual bunch of symbols you might get. However, not long after, they became one of the serious threats to your computer’s safety. Namely, even though the link says it is going to take you to a funny site, it might just take you to a site that will mug you instead.

Naturally, you might want to get a tool that will let you analyze the said short URLs. That is where unshorten. It comes into play. This service lets you see exactly what page you will visit if you follow the link. It will give you the description, the safety ratings, and even screenshots of web pages you might unwittingly visit.

HTTPS Everywhere

Do you want to have Internet privacy, but you are not ready to go as far as using Tor? Well, in that case, it seems like HTTPS is the right extension for you. This Chrome, Firefox, and Opera extension will let you encrypt your communications on almost all major websites. Thankfully, a lot of websites already support encryption over HTTPS. But, they tend to make it difficult to use properly. On the other hand, using HTTPS Everywhere is easy and intuitive. Overall, it is a great way to make your surfing a lot safer.

No Coin

Another danger of using unknown websites lies in the fact that many of them will use your resources to mine cryptocurrencies. In essence, these websites will hack your device and use its processing power for themselves.

Now, you might think it’s not that bad. You are only on the website for a couple of minutes at a time. But, the issue doesn’t stop there. Namely, once they do hack your device, they can keep using it for a long time after you visit their website. Thankfully, you can use No Coin to stop the websites from doing this to you. With this service, you should see noticeable improvements in your computer’s performance.

Punycode Alert

Punycode Alert is an extension that will give you a notification if you venture onto a phishing website that uses Unicode to trick you. For those who don’t know what phishing is, in layman’s terms, it is a practice of stealing someone’s information by setting up an imitation of a successful website.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for phishing websites to trick people out of thousands of dollars. The reason these traps are incredibly effective is that their URLs look exactly like you would expect them to. So, you might very well follow a URL that reads as “apple.com” and ends up on a completely different website. We definitely recommend using Punycode Alert to protect yourself from such websites.

LastPass

Coming up with good passwords is not easy. You might think that your birthday is as good a password as any, but that couldn’t be further away from the truth. Fact is, a lot of people use passwords that are too weak to protect their data. And the reason for that is simple – they don’t want to bother with remembering complex passwords.

That is where LastPass comes in. This tool will let you store all of your passwords and use them without having to type them out. In essence, this password manager will let you use unbeatable passwords without having to worry about forgetting them.

ProtonVPN

Using VPN services is of utmost importance if you want your data to remain safe. And ProtonVPN is one of the best providers you can find. The company behind this service created ProtonVPN to give protection to activists and journalists around the world. And, not only that, but it will also let you avoid Internet censorship and visit websites that are trying to lock you and other people from your country out.

1.1.1.1

If you don’t feel like you want to go to extremes to protect your data, but you still don’t want your DNS resolver to sell your data to advertisers, you might want to consider using 1.1.1.1. This service, in essence, is a public DNS resolver that respects your privacy and offers you a fast way to browse the web.

DuckDuckGo

The first thought that might pop into your mind when you want to search for something online is probably: “I’ll just Google it.” However, you should be aware by now that Google is not only guilty of storing your data, but it also doesn’t offer the same results to everyone. In fact, it is almost impossible to find unbiased results by using Google. However, DuckDuckGo will help you protect your privacy and give you objective search results. And, you don’t have to do a lot to make this change. Simply switch to DuckDuckGo as your primary search engine, and you are good to go.

 

Categorized in Internet Privacy

 Source: This article was published icij.org By Spencer Woodman - Contributed by Member: Dorothy Allen

Reporters are navigating a more treacherous environment than at any time in recent memory, and despite a plethora of digital tools to keep them safe – many are failing to adopt new strategies.

It’s a bleak reality: Last year alone, a record number of journalists were killed in Mexico, reporters were imprisoned in Myanmar and journalists in Turkeyfaced criminal charges en masse.

The press’s enemies have been boosted by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has lodged almost daily attacks against journalists, and many have followed his lead. Wealthy private interests have launched their own crusades: a private firm was hired to undermine New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer’s reporting on Koch Industries, and Harvey Weinstein offered big bucks to a military-grade surveillance firm to spy on reporters and their sources breaking the story of his sexual harassment.

“The World Press Freedom map is getting darker,” according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, “and media freedom is under threat now more than ever.”

[Journalists] frequently disregard their sense of insecurity even when they feel unsafe in public or cyberspace.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

These threats are compounded by increasingly potent hacking tools falling into the hands of governments around the world and, in some cases, hackers serving government interests. This makes personal cybersecurity an essential first line of defense for reporters everywhere.

Yet many journalists are failing to utilize some of the most basic tools to keep them and their sources safe from digital attack. A recent study by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression found that some of the most at-risk journalists “frequently disregard their sense of insecurity even when they feel unsafe in public or cyberspace.”

So what can journalists (and citizens) do to better protect themselves online? Here are five security tools that have emerged as among the most commonly recommended for reporters and news organizations as well as their sources.

1. Signal and other end-to-end encrypted apps

Phone calls and digital messaging often comprise the bulk of a journalist’s workday. But conventional lines of communication can leave the contents of conversations vulnerable to hacking. And, even if someone is not able to intercept to the contents of these chats, a hacker can still access extensive archives of related metadata, including who you talked to and when.

But there are an increasing number of options to help you communicate securely with a high degree of confidence.

As we settle into 2018, the app Signal — possibly you’ve already heard of it – is a clear favorite for secure voice calls and messaging between journalists, their editors, and sometimes their civil servant sources.

You can easily use the Signal app on your phone.

“Everyone is really enthusiastic about Signal,” said Harlo Holmes, director of newsroom digital security with the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “Right now it’s the state of the art in terms of encrypted communication.”

To the user, Signal looks and operates like a traditional chat app, and also allows you to avoid expensive international call and text fees. But Signal also offers what’s called end-to-end encryption, meaning communications can only be deciphered on the physical devices of the communicating users. Even if a government tried to compel the group of developers that administers Signal to turn over your communications, it couldn’t provide information: Signal simply has no ability to figure out exactly what you’re doing on its platform.

An increasing number of digital platforms are using end-to-end encryption, but some popular products differ from Signal in one key way: While some of these firms may not be able to access the content of your communications, they can often access valuable metadata that may reveal who you were communicating with and when. These apps also may allow users to inadvertently send messages without end-to-end encryption.

To learn more about Signal, Holmes recommends checking out the foundation’s page on Security Planner, a project of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.

2. Secure file storage and encrypted sharing

A large portion of our lives is often stored on our laptops and the messaging platforms, social media sites and work portals they access. For journalists, this can mean a lot of sensitive material, including leaked documents, identities of sources and unpublished story drafts.

Bill Budington a security engineer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group dedicated to digital privacy, points to the particularly risky situation of crossing a border and recommends a series of products and measures journalists and others can adopt to keep files safe in the most at-risk circumstances.

His first tip: When most under threat, ditch your primary laptop or smartphone completely. If you have a burner phone or a cheap netbook that doesn’t contain sensitive data, bring this secondary device along instead while traveling.

But when burner devices aren’t an option, Budington says, “the most powerful thing” a person can do to keep devices safe at a border-crossing is to make sure the hard drive is fully encrypted beforehand – helping to ensure that only those with the device’s passphrase will be able to access its files. This step is also among the easiest – for Mac iOS and some Windows users, it can be as simple as clicking a few buttons to activate built-in encryption programs.

Even with an encrypted hard drive, hackers can attempt to “brute-force” a password, potentially gaining access to the encrypted data. (In many jurisdictions, courts and law enforcement agencies can try to compel you to turn over your password under threat of punishment, including incarceration.) An open-source program called VeraCrypt can add an additional layer of encryption, so that, even if hackers get access to your hard drive, they then must enter what amounts to a highly-fortified folder to gain access to your most sensitive information.

Yet even the most highly secured hard drive will provide little help in protecting your data when you inevitably need to transfer a sensitive document to someone else via the internet. Some of the most prominent file-sharing programs, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, do not provide what Budington calls “client-side” encryption by default.

“For cloud storage, the most important feature for secure storage is for the program you’re using to encrypt files locally on your own machine before they are uploaded to the cloud servers,” Budington told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). There are some services that provide local encryption prior to upload – Budington recommends SpiderOak, the Keybase filesystemtresoritand Jungle Disk.

You can learn more about device security and document storage by watching a security talk Budington gave in December.

3. Password managers

As hackers become more sophisticated, maintaining strong and up-to-date passwords that aren’t reused across different services is a must. But for reporters who use numerous online services and databases, this can become burdensome: Memorizing a series of complex and ever-changing passwords isn’t feasible and storing them in your computer or email makes them prone to fall into the hands of hackers.

Chris Walker, Digital Security Advisor at the Tactical Technology Collective, a cyber security initiative based in Berlin, recommends solving this problem with an encrypted password manager, which can both generate and store your passwords for you.

“Writing down your passwords and keeping them all in one place might not sound like a good idea at first,” Walker says, but he assures that with the right password manager, users will be more secure with fewer hassles. These apps can both generate stronger passwords and remember them for you.

KeyPass is just one Password manager available.
 
Walker recommends one tool in particular: KeePassXC, a system he describes as highly secure. “It is well maintained, free and open-source software that relies on well understood, standards-based encryption to protect your passwords,” Walker says. “It is also quite simple. It does not try to store your data online or sync between multiple devices. This simplicity helps protect KeePassXC from many potential avenues of attack.”

KeePassXC also has competitors that have been highly rated, including Lastpass, which both Securityplanner.org and online consumer guide Wirecutter recently recommended.

4. Two-factor authentication and its innovations

But Walker is quick to point out that even the most well-managed passwords must be used, when possible, alongside two-factor authentication – an extra layer of security that most often requires users to enter a temporary code that is only accessible from a personal device, usually a cell phone, in addition to their passwords. The idea is that, even if hackers have cracked your password, they still must somehow get their hands on a physical device that only you carry.

This is a basic step that should be used whenever you need to log in to an online service – including email portals, Twitter, Facebook, bank accounts and wherever else you use passwords to protect and to prevent hackers obtaining sensitive information.

One problem with this: The text messages containing these codes can be intercepted. This year may also see a growing adoption of a new sort of two-factor authentication that security engineers believe may be safer than receiving a code on your iPhone: Google is now offering to provide people at high risk of surveillance a program that requires users deploy two physical authenticator keys as a final step for unlocking an account. The devices can fit on a keychain and use USB or bluetooth technology to communicate with your computer and smartphone.

Google’s two-factor authentication requires an extra login step.

Runa Sandvik, the senior director of information security at The New York Times, is a fan of Google’s new initiative, known as the Advanced Protection Program. “I think the Advanced Protection Program (APP) is a great option for at-risk users,” Sandvik told ICIJ. “I have, personally, used APP for a few months and see no reason not to turn it on.”

For more information on Google’s APP and its physical security key, the New York Times has a good article on it and you can also visit the Google’s website. (Unfortunately, this feature isn’t free – each key costs about $20.)

5. Slack alternatives for your office

Over the past several years, new technology known widely by the brand-named Slack has pervaded American office culture. It’s part chat, part email, highly distracting and can archive everything you say and all the documents you upload. Slack has been criticized for its lack of full encryption, and, last year, a web security researcher discovered that a vulnerability in Slack’s code would allow hackers to gain access to millions of users’ private conversations – a particularly sensitive potential exposure for some, given that Slack’s private channels are infamous for encouraging fierce workplace gossip.

Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption, so the contents of your communications may be retrievable if the firm receives an order from, say, an intelligence agency or law enforcement office. Martin Shelton, a data security researcher who works with at-risk groups, says that, although Slack may be the most user-friendly service of its kind, organizations seeking a higher level of security have other options. Semaphor, designed by the tech security firm SpiderOak, is a prominent alternative to Slack. Shelton recommends it as a “nice choice for an end-to-end encrypted chat,” but notes that its “user experience is a little clunky.”

Shelton also points to Mattermost, another potentially appealing chat application for organizations on perhaps the more established side. Like Signal, Mattermost’s code is open source, meaning that anyone can inspect its architecture for vulnerabilities.

“This is great because it’s regularly audited by security researchers,” Shelton says. “You can also host it on your own server, so you know where your data is located,” Shelton notes that this last feature can, however, mean a bit more work. “News institutions will need administrators who know what they’re doing to maintain the server,” Shelton says.

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation reminds us, good data security is a process, not just a series of products. The tools above only offer a start. Some commonly used digital security products that didn’t make the list also include email encryption – which can be a pain to set up but can ensure your encrypted emails are all but impenetrable – as well as secure and private web browsing with Tor and DuckDuckGo.

For more tools and a more detailed explanation of how to use them, take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense project and the Citizen Lab’s SecurityPlanner.org. Threats to journalists may be building, but, luckily, so are our defenses against them.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

 Source: This article was published crixeo.com By A.J. SØRENSEN - Contributed by Member: David J. Redcliff

UNLIKE GOOGLE, THE DUCKDUCKGO SEARCH ENGINE DOESN’T TRACK YOU.

In 2006 Gabriel Weinberg sold a company for millions. A year and a half later, he founded his next project with the money: an alternative search engine named DuckDuckGo. Initially, the goal was to make it more efficient and compelling than Google by cutting down on spam and providing instant answers, similar to a Wikipedia or IMDb. The project launched in 2008, bringing Weinberg’s brainchild into public consciousness.

But Weinberg didn’t realize at the time that the main reason people were wary of Google wasn’t the user experience but how the search engine tracked its users. Being the astute entrepreneur that Weinberg is, he instantly saw this as an area for an opportunity and a way to compete with one of the largest companies in the world. As a result, DuckDuckGo became the go-to search engine for privacy — long before the NSA leaks in 2013, when the government got “Snowdened,” and Facebook’s recent Cambridge Analytica scandal — all with a better user experience.

Here’s why you should consider making the move to the “Duck Side.”

1. THE SEARCH ENGINE THAT DOESN’T TRACK YOU

DuckDuckGo browser
DUCKDUCKGO

According to a micro-site connected to DuckDuckGo — DontTrack.us — Google tracks users on 75% of websites. The information gathered from your site visits and search terms can be used to follow you across over two million websites and applications. Oh, and all that private information is stored by Google indefinitely. (Hint: Don’t use Google for embarrassing searches that might cost you money during a divorce, for example. All that information can be subpoenaed by lawyers.)

Even Facebook tracks you across the internet. According to Weinberg, the social media company “operates a massive hidden tracker network.” He claims they’re “lurking behind about 25% of the top million sites, where consumers don’t expect to be tracked by Facebook.” And, as of now, there is no way to opt out of this so-called “experience.” (Don’t forget: Facebook owns Instagram.)

And since there are no digital privacy laws currently active in the United States, at the time of this writing anyway, consumers are forced to vote with their attention and time once again. As it stands now, companies are not required by federal law to share what information they collect, how it’s used, and whether or not it’s even been stolen. You’ve got to protect yourself by choosing your platforms and tools wisely.

As for DuckDuckGo, they do not track you or store your personal information. And while they do have some advertising on their platform for revenue purposes, you only see ads for what you search for — and those ads won’t stalk you around the web like a rabid spider.

2. DUCKDUCKGO IS A COMPANY WITH SERIOUS BALLS

DuckDuckGo browser
DUCKDUCKGO

Weinberg resembles a younger, techier version of Eric Bana, and he’s got the same gall of the actor/rally racer. Case in point: in 2011, Weinberg pulled a highly successful publicity stunt for his alternative search engine by strategically placing a billboard right in Google’s backyard that called out the company for tracking its users. It earned the scrappy start-up valuable press from the likes of USA Today, Business Insider and Wired.

For those opposed to Google’s handling of users’ data, the billboard represented a major burn. Of course, it’s just one of the many ways Weinberg helped his company gain users. I highly recommend Traction, a wildly useful book co-written by Weinberg and Justin Mares. It’s a must-read for any start-up founder or creative entrepreneur.

3. KEEP YOUR SEARCHES PRIVATE & EFFICIENT

DuckDuckGo browser

DUCKDUCKGO

As for working with search engines, think of all the “embarrassing searches” you wish to keep private, whatever they may be. Now imagine that Google has all that information stored indefinitely — plus, it can be held against you in a court of law. Scary stuff, right? Turns out that what you search for online can be far more sensitive than the things you openly share on social media platforms. So how can you keep that stuff private?

In 2017 DuckDuckGo was able to integrate with the Brave Browser to provide a potential solution. With most browsers, websites can still track and monitor your behavior, even while you’re in “private browsing mode.” However, with this new combination of Brave’s privacy protection features and DuckDuckGo’s private search capabilities, you can surf the web without having your search terms or personal information collected, sold or shared.

But that’s not the only thing DuckDuckGo has to offer for a more empowered user experience. Another feature the search engine has become known for are “bangs!” Here’s how they work.

DuckDuckGo browser
DUCKDUCKGO

Random example: Let’s say you want to find Camille Paglia books on Amazon. If you were to search via Google, you might type “site: amazon camille paglia.” Your results might look like this:

DuckDuckGo browser

GOOGLE

Now let’s say you do the same thing with DuckDuckGo’s bangs. In this case, you would type “!a Camille Paglia.” Here’s what you’d get:

DuckDuckGo browser

AMAZON

Bang! You’re right there on Amazon, redirected to their internal search page from DuckDuckGo.

Of course, you might be thinking, “Why not just search Amazon.com for the answer, to begin with?” Well, bangs aren’t just for searching Amazon. You can use bangs to search nearly 11,000 sites (as of this writing), including eBay, YouTube (owned by Google), Wikipedia, Instagram and more. You can even suggest new ones.

Plus, with DuckDuckGo, you can see social media profiles by searching the user’s handle, explore app stores and discover alternative apps, shorten and expand links/URLs, generate complex passwords, find rhymes, determine whether or not sites are down (or if it’s really just you), calculate loan payments, receive instant answers to questions and more — all without having to leave the search engine.

4. IT’S GROWING — FAST

DuckDuckGo browser

DUCKDUCKGO

In a sense, Weinberg has achieved his initial goal of creating a search engine that offers a more direct and spam-free user experience. It just also happens to be much more private and way less creepy than the buzzword alternatives. Perhaps that’s why it’s growing so damn fast — 10 years after launching, that is.

In fact, 2017 was a monumental year for DuckDuckGo, accounting for 36% of all searches ever conducted through the search engine. It was also during 2017 that the company achieved 55% growth in daily private searches, crossing the threshold of 20 million private searches a day. Sure, the experience isn’t as highly customized as Google’s — which relies on your personal data to fine-tune results — but this little search engine that could still manage to provide solid, relevant results without infringing on your personal privacy.

5. BALANCING THE SCALES OF GOOD & EVIL

DuckDuckGo browser

DUCKDUCKGO

When Google first started, it touted the mantra “Don’t be evil.” Curiously, it’s since changed to “Do the right thing.” It’s only now that most users have started to ask, “Do the right thing for whom?” And in light of the recent Facebook scandals, these same users are starting to wonder, “What the hell is my data actually being used for? Who does it benefit? And who actually has it?” Unsurprisingly, these are turning into the biggest questions of our time.

In the past, users assumed they had nothing to hide, and that it was even shameful to consider hiding their internet histories or online preferences. “Nobody cares about me. I’m nobody.” But to a major data company, one without constraints, how you spend your time and money, with whom, and on what sites can easily be sold to the highest bidder at your expense. So while Dax the Duck may not need to say, “We’re a source for good,” the brains behind DuckDuckGo seem to be balancing the scales in that direction anyway.

Through their donations to private organizations, as well as their micro-sites providing eye-opening data, various email campaigns to help internet users maintain their privacy, and plenty of generous content outlining the trouble with “informed consent” online, DuckDuckGo has become a force for good in the digital age. Of course, Google doesn’t have to become obsolete in the process — they still offer some remarkable services — but there need to be more alternatives if only to provide a choice. What do you want as a search engine user? And how do you want your information to be handled?

That’s the real service DuckDuckGo provides: it gives you the option to say no to track. And without real policies in place in the U.S. to protect internet users, your best bet for privacy and data protection may just be to #ComeToTheDuckSide. end

 

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published itsfoss.com By Ankush Das - Contributed by Member: Issac Avila

Brief: In this age of the internet, you can never be too careful with your privacy. Use these alternative search engines that do not track you.

Google – unquestionably being the best search engine out there, makes use of powerful and intelligent algorithms (including A.I. implementations) to let the users get the best out of a search engine with a personalized experience.

This sounds good until you start to live in a filter bubble. When you start seeing everything that ‘suits your taste’, you get detached from the reality. Too much of anything is not good. Too much of personalization is harmful as well.

This is why one should get out of this filter bubble and see the world as it is. But how do you do that?

You know that Google sure as hell tracks a lot of information about your connection and the system when you perform a search and take an action within the search engine or use other Google services such as Gmail.

So, if Google keeps on tracking you, the simple answer would be to stop using Google for searching the web. But what would you use in place of Google? Microsoft’s Bing is no saint either.

So, to address the netizens concerned about their privacy while using a search engine, I have curated a list of privacy oriented alternative search engines to Google. 

Best 8 Privacy-Oriented Alternative Search Engines To Google

Do note that the alternatives mentioned in this article are not necessarily “better” than Google, but only focuses on protecting users privacy. Here we go!

1. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is one of the most successful privacy oriented search engines that stands as an alternative to Google. The user experience offered by DuckDuckGo is commendable. I must say – “It’s unique in itself”.

DuckDuckGo, unlike Google, utilizes the traditional method of “sponsored links” to display the advertisements. The ads are not focused on you but only the topic you are searching for – so there is nothing that could generate a profile of you in any manner – thereby respecting your privacy.

Of course, DuckDuckGo’s search algorithm may not be the smartest around (because it has no idea who you are!). And, if you want to utilize one of the best privacy oriented alternative search engines to Google, you will have to forget about getting a personalized experience while searching for something.

The search results are simplified with specific meta data’s. It lets you select a country to get the most relevant result you may be looking for. Also, when you type in a question or searching for a fix, it might present you with an instant answer (fetched from the source).

Although, you might miss quite a few functionalities (like filtering images by license) – that is an obvious trade-off to protect your privacy.

2. Qwant

best privacy oriented search engine

Qwant is probably one of the most loved privacy oriented search engines after DuckDuckGo. It ensures neutrality, privacy, and digital freedom while you search for something on the Internet.

If you thought privacy-oriented search engines generally tend to offer a very casual user experience, you need to rethink after trying out Qwant. This is a very dynamic search engine with trending topics and news stories organized very well. It may not offer a personalized experience (given that it does not track you) – but it does feel like it partially with a rich user experience offered to compensate that in a way.

Qwant is a very useful search engine alternative to Google. It lists out all the web resources, social feeds, news, and images on the topic you search for.

3. Startpage

best privacy oriented search engine

Startpage is a good initiative as a privacy-oriented search engine alternative to Google. However, it may not be the best one around. The UI is very similar to that of Google’s (while displaying the search results – irrespective of the functionalities offered). It may not be a complete rip-off but it is not very impressive – everyone has got their own taste.

To protect your privacy, it lets you choose it. You can either select to visit the web pages using the proxy or without it. It’s all your choice. You also get to change the theme of the search engine. Well, I did enjoy my switch to the “Night” theme. There’s an interesting option with the help of which you can generate a custom URL keeping your settings intact as well.

4. Privatelee

best privacy oriented search engine

Privatelee is another kind of search engine specifically tailored to protect your online privacy. It does not track your search results or behavior in any way. However, you might get a lot of irrelevant results after the first ten matched results.

The search engine isn’t perfect to find a hidden treasure on the Internet but more for general queries. Privatelee also supports power commands – more like shortcuts – which helps you search for the exact thing in an efficient manner. It will save a lot of your time for pretty simple tasks such as searching for a movie on Netflix. If you were looking for a super fast privacy oriented search engine for common queries, Privatelee would be a great alternative to Google.

5. Swisscows

best privacy oriented search engine

Well, it isn’t dairy farm portfolio site but a privacy-oriented search engine as an alternative to Google. You may have known about it as Hulbee – but it has recently redirected its operation to a new domain. Nothing has really changed except for the name and domain of the search engine. It works the same way it was before as Hulbee.com.

Swisscows utilizes Bing to deliver the search results as per your query. When you search for something, you would notice a tag cloud on the left sidebar which is useful if you need to know about the related key terms and facts. The design language is a lot simpler but one of its kind among the other search engines out there. You get to filter the results according to the date but that’s about it – no more advanced options to tweak your search results. It utilizes a tile search technique (a semantic technology) to fetch the best results to your queries. The search algorithm makes sure that it is a family-friendly search engine with pornography and violence ruled out completely.

6. searX

best privacy oriented search engine

searX is an interesting search engine – which is technically defined as a “metasearch engine”. In other words, it utilizes other search engines and accumulates the results to your query in one place. It does not store your search data being an open source metasearch engine at the same time. You can review the source code, contribute, or even customize it as your own metasearch engine hosted on your server.

If you are fond of utilizing Torrent clients to download stuff, this search engine will help you find the magnet links to the exact files when you try searching for a file through searX. When you access the settings (preferences) for searX, you would find a lot of advanced things to tweak from your end. General tweaks include – adding/removing search engines, rewrite HTTP to HTTPS, remove tracker arguments from URL, and so on. It’s all yours to control. The user experience may not be the best here but if you want to utilize a lot of search engines while keeping your privacy in check, searX is a great alternative to Google.

7. Peekier

best privacy oriented search engine

Peekier is another fascinating privacy oriented search engine. Unlike the previous one, it is not a metasearch engine but has its own algorithm implemented. It may not be the fastest search engine I’ve ever used but it is an interesting take on how search engines can evolve in the near future. When you type in a search query, it not only fetches a list of results but also displays the preview images of the web pages listed. So, you get a “peek” on what you seek. While the search engine does not store your data, the web portals you visit do track you.

So, in order to avoid that to an extent, Peekier accesses the site and generates a preview image to decide whether to head into the site or not (without you requiring to access it). In that way, you allow less websites to know about you – mostly the ones you trust.

8. MetaGer

best privacy oriented search engine

MetaGer is yet another open source metasearch engine. However, unlike others, it takes privacy more seriously and enforces the use of Tor network for anonymous access to search results from a variety of search engines. Some search engines who claim to protect your privacy may share your information to the government (whatever they record) because the server is bound to US legal procedures. However, with MetaGer, the Germany-based server would protect even the anonymous data recorded while using MetaGer.

They do house a few number of advertisements (without trackers of course)- but you can get rid of those as well by joining in as a member of the non-profit organization – SUMA-EV – which sponsors the MetaGer search engine.

Wrapping Up

If you are concerned about your privacy, you should also take a look at some of the best privacy-focused Linux distributions. Among the search engine alternatives mentioned here – DuckDuckGo – is my personal favorite. But it really comes down to your preference and whom would you choose to trust while surfing the Internet.

Categorized in Search Engine
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