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“Search is not just about answering your questions -- it’s also about discovery,” writes Google product manager Michael Galvez.

Google has announced three new search updates around featured snippets, knowledge panel information and suggestions for related topics.

According to a post on Google’s The Keyword blog, a selection of featured snippets will now include more images and related search suggestions within the box displaying the featured snippet content.

It is also expanding the information displayed in the Knowledge Panel to include related content.

 

“For example, while looking at the Knowledge Panel about skiing, you’ll see related searches for sports such as snowboarding directly inside the result,” writes Google product manager, Michael Galvez.

Google says the expansion of related topics has not only been updated within knowledge panel information, but at the top of search results as well.

Related...

Using an example of searches for the famed soccer players Neymar and Messi, Google says searchers will see suggestions for related topics, “… to discover other athletes during your search session.”

In addition to these confirmed updates, it appears Google is also testing a new feature that displays a carousel with a list of answers directly within the search results snippet, as we reported earlier today.

“Search is not just about answering your questions — it’s also about discovery,” writes Galvez, who goes on to say the updates are meant to help searches further explore the topics they are researching.

 Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Amy Gesenhues

Categorized in Search Engine

Company says change is meant to provide more descriptive snippets.

Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it has made a change to the way it displays snippets in search results. A snippet is the description of a page shown below the URL in an organic search result that helps show how it relates to the search query.

A Google spokesperson told us:

We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.

 

Here is a screen shot highlighting the description snippet of a Google search result:

Over the past week or so, many have been noticing that the snippets were longer than what’s typically been shown.

Related...

RankRanger has been tracking these as well, and according to its tools, the snippet length has grown from 160 characters to almost 230 characters on average. Here is the growth chart:

Some webmasters and SEOs may consider updating their meta descriptions, but I don’t believe Google would recommend doing so. The snippets are more often dynamically generated based on the user query and content found in both the meta description and the content visible on the page. If Google is going to go with a longer snippet, it likely will pull that content from the page.

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz

Categorized in Search Engine

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series looking back at the history of Google algorithm updates. Enjoy!


Google’s Freshness, or “fresher results”, update – as the name suggests – was a significant ranking algorithm change, building on the Caffeine update, which rolled out in June 2010.

When Google announced an algorithm change on November 3, 2011, impacting ~35 percent of total searches (6-10 percent of search results to a noticeable degree), focusing on providing the user with ‘fresher, more recent search results‘, the SEO industry and content marketers alike stood up and took notice.

Where Does the Name Come From?

The freshness or ‘fresher results’ name for this algorithm update is directly taken from the official Google Inside Search blog announcement.

Google Freshness Update Nov 2011

Why Was the Freshness Update Launched?

It is predicted that more data will be created in 2017 than the previous 5,000 years of humanity, a trend which has been ongoing for a few years now, and one driving Google to act to cater for this availability and demand for up to date, fresh, new content.

When you combine this data and content growth, with the levels of new and unique queries Google handles, you begin to establish justification for identifying, handling, prioritizing and ranking fresh content within the Google search index.

 

According to a 2012 ReadWrite article, 16 to 20 percent of queries that get asked every day have never been asked before.

A key intention of this update is to provide greater emphasis on the importance of recentness of content specifically tied to areas like latest news, events, politics, celebrities, trends and more, specifically where the user is expected to want to know the most current information.

Someone searching for “Taylor Swift boyfriend” will likely want to know the current person she is dating, therefore content time/date stamped yesterday, with lots of social shares, engagement, and backlinks over the past few hours, will likely displace prior ranking content which has not been updated, or providing the same activity freshness signals.

Here are the results for this query as at the time of writing this article.

Tailor Swift SERPs Oct 2017

Who Was Impacted by Freshness Algorithm?

At a noticeable level, between 6 to 10 percent of search queries were impacted by the Freshness algorithm, but some degree of change was applied to a collective third (35 percent) of all searches.

One of the interesting aspects of the Freshness Algorithm update was the fact that many more sites appeared to have gained from the update, as opposed to having seen lost rankings or visibility from them. This is quite uncommon with most changes to the Google algorithm.

Looking specifically at the identified “winners” from the update, according to Searchmetrics:

Google prefers sites like news sites, broadcast sites, video portals and a lot Brand sites. This is also a type of sites which have regularly fresh content and a big brand with higher CTRs.

Industry Reaction to the Freshness Update

Due to the nature of the update being an overarching positive change; one rewarding content creators, fresh/relevant/latest news providers, and many bigger brands investing in content, the initial reaction was tied towards analysis of the change and the logical nature of the update.

The analysis of the change was associated with the expected “big” impact from the Google announcement of 35 percent of search results being affected, and the actual disproportionately small amount of negative impact being reported.

The Solution/Recovery Process

The Freshness update is one of my favorite Google algorithms as it makes perfect sense, and was impactful for changing SERPs for the better, in a logical, easy to understand, and practical way.

If you’re covering a topic area and the information you have is out of date, time-sensitive, hasn’t been refreshed or updated in some time, or is simply being surpassed by more engaging, fresh and new competing content, it is likely that you need to give that content/topic some more attention, both on page and off page.

An important part of the freshness update is that it is not just about refreshing content, but also tied to the frequency of content related to the topic.

For example; the expected frequency of content prominently ranking during a political campaign spanning weeks, would reflect the latest campaign changes rather than static (even day old) content, with since surpassed relevancy, accuracy, and associated user engagement and social sharing signals.

This update was building on Google’s established “query deserves freshness” (QDF) methodology:

THE QDF solution revolves around determining whether a topic is “hot.” If news sites or blog posts are actively writing about a topic, the model figures that it is one for which users are more likely to want current information. The model also examines Google’s own stream of billions of search queries, which Mr. Singhal believes is an even better monitor of global enthusiasm about a particular subject.

It also was made possible by Google’s Caffeine web search index update:

With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published.

Practical Tactics for Recovering from the Freshness Algorithm

Five of the best ways to recover from any lost ranking (or to take advantage of the new untapped opportunity) as a result of the Freshness Algorithm change include:

1. Revisit Existing Content

Look through year on year, or even previous period content performance. Identify pages/topics that previously drove volumes of impressions, traffic, and rankings to the website, and prioritize refreshing them.

You may find that time and date stamped content in blogs, news, and media sections, have seen significant data change/drops. If this is the case, consider the value of updating the historical content by citing new sources, updating statistics, including more current quotes, and adding terms reflecting latest search queries.

2. Socially Share & Amplify Content

Social signals, fresh link signals, and associated external interest/buzz surrounding your content can fuel ranking gains tied to QDF and previous algorithm updates like the Freshness update.

Don’t underestimate the value of successful social sharing and PR activities driving new content discovery, engagement, and interaction.

3. Reconsider Content Frequency

If your website covers industry change, key events, and any degree of breaking news/insight, you may need to think about the frequency that you are informing your audience, and adding content to your website.

People are digesting more content than ever before, and users demand the latest news as it happens – minor frequency changes can make a positive difference between being first to market, or being late to the party.

4. Take a Tiered Approach to Content Creation 

With voice, video, images, virtual reality, and a host of content types, plus common website inclusion approaches (blogs, news, media, content hubs, microsites, more), adding layers of content to your digital offering will enable broader visibility of the brand on key ranking areas, plus extra  leverage of the various search verticals at your disposal.

 

Whether these updates result in new landing pages or adding of depth and content value to existing URLs, will differ on intent, but either way, this will support many of the freshness points relating to recovery or gains tied to this update.

5. Add Evergreen Content Into Your Content Mix 

Evergreen content is the deeper content creation that has more redundancy to the test of time, and is able to perform month in and month out, contributing to search rankings and traffic over many months, even years. Typically evergreen content reflects:

  • Thorough topical research.
  • Unique insight.
  • Targeted application of expertise on a given topic.
  • Refined content that gets updated every few months when changes require modification.
  • Longer form content (often in the several thousands of works criteria).
  • Mixed content type inclusive.

You may see this as your hero content pieces, those warranting budget, promotion, and reinvestment of time and resource.

How Successful was the Freshness Algorithm Update?

Although the Freshness Algorithm change isn’t frequently mentioned in many industry topical conversations and often gets overshadowed by the likes of Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, Mobile First, RankBrain, and others, to me, this reinforces the level of success it had.

When you look for time intent queries like [football results] you will notice that dominant sites are providing:

  • Live scores
  • In-game updates
  • Latest results
  • Interactive scoreboards
  • Current fixtures
  • Much more

These useful and changing (often changing by the hour) results reflect the practical benefits that this update has had to our search experience, and the opportunity this brings to value-based companies, able to act on the latest data.

Freshness Myths & Misconceptions

The biggest misconception related to this algorithm update was the anticipated negative impact tied to the scale of results (~35 percent) that would be applicable to Google Freshness.

As this was one of the more positive and practical algorithm changes, the freshness update has been overlooked by many, playing the role of unsung auditor of tired, unloved content needing to be improved, and of active content use able to satisfy searcher needs, and rank for more time-sensitive user intent.

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Lee Wilson

Categorized in Search Engine

Started in 1998, Google search is the most used web search engine in the world. While Google makes hundreds of changes to its search algorithm each year, it has not made any major overall to its simple yet functional user interface.

With default settings, when you search for something using Google search, it shows a total number of 10 results (excluding advertisements) per page irrespective of the web browser and operating system you’re using. Though more often than not users find the information they are looking for by clicking one of the results appeared in the first 10 results, at times we need to move on to the second or third page to get the required information.

Users who feel that the default 10 results per page is not sufficient to get the required information and love the idea of getting more than 10 results per page can configure Google to show up to 100 results per page.

Show more results per page in Google

Here is how you can configure Google search to show up to 100 results per page to see more results while searching the web using Google.

Change the number of results per page in Google

Note that we need to turn off instant predictions in order to show more results per page.

 

Step 1: Open Google in your web browser and sign in to your Google account (Gmail). Note that you don’t need to sign-in in order to configure Google show more results per page but signing-in using Google account will save the settings for your Google account.

Step 2: Enter a search keyword in the search box and then press enter key to see the results.

show more search results per page in Google search

Step 3: Click on the small Gear icon appearing on the upper-right corner of the page and then click Search Settings to open the same.

Show more results per page in Google step1Step 4: Here, under Google instant predictions section, select the option labelled Never show instant results.

 

show more search results per page in Google

Step 5: Next, under Results per page section, move the slider to the right to increase the number of results per page. As you can see, 10 is the minimum and 100 is the maximum number of results Google can show per page. Click Save button.

Show more results per page in Google step2

It’s important to note that setting more than 50 results per page might make the overall search experience a bit slower. How to make Google always open search results in new tab page guide might also interest you.

Source: This article was published intowindows.com

Categorized in How to

Google has confirmed the reports of a bug where configuring your search preferences to non-instant results, set to show 100 search results on a page, stopped working.

Google Search Results Setting

The bug began sometime around October 18th, when we first noticed a Google Web Search Help thread with complaints.

Google's Nealeigh only responded to the issue a couple days ago saying:

Thanks for your reports! We're looking into the issue. I will provide info as soon as I'm updated on the situation.

Google may have just rolled out a fix, as one user is now reporting the preference sticks and he is able to see 100 search results on a page.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Source: This article was published seroundtable.com By Barry Schwartz

Categorized in Search Engine

Privacy search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage are becoming increasingly popular. They usually leverage the big search engines in order to return results, but proxy search requests so that Google or Yahoo or Microsoft do not know who made the search. In other words, these see only that the search query came from the privacy search engine.

These privacy search engines promise to not log your IP address or any searches you make. Does this sound good to you? Good. The next question, then, is which privacy search engine to use…

Why privacy search engines?

The problem with most search engines is that they spy on you. This is their business model – to learn as much about you as possible, in order deliver highly targeted advertising direct to your browser window.

 

Google has even recently dropped its moratorium on combining what it learns by scanning your emails with what it learns about you through your searches. All the better to spy on you. Information typically collected and stored each time you make a search includes:

  • Your IP address
  • Date and time of query
  • Query search terms
  • Cookie ID – this cookie is deposited in your browser’s cookie folder, and uniquely identifies your computer. With it, a search engine provider can trace a search request back to your computer

This information is usually transmitted to the requested web page, and to the owners of any third party advertising banners displayed on that page. As you surf around the internet, advertisers build up a (potentially highly embarrassing) profile of you.

Of course, if Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, etc., know lots about you, this information can be (and often is) handed over to the police and the NSA.

Google Transparency Report on the number of User Data Requests received, and the number (at least partially) acceded to

Indeed, it was only recently that evidence emerged showing Yahoo works hand in glove with the NSA to betray its users to the intelligence service.  Naughty, naughty.

The filter bubble

An added benefit of using a search engine that does not track you is that it avoids the “filter bubble” effect. Most search engines use your past search terms (and things you “Like” on social networks) to profile you. They can then return results they think will interest you.

 

This can result in only receiving search returns that agree with your point of view, This locks you into a “filter bubble,” where you do not get to see alternative viewpoints and opinions because they have been downgraded in your search results.

Not only does this deny you access to the rich texture and multiplicity of human input, but it can also be very dangerous as it can confirm prejudices, and prevent you from seeing the “bigger picture”.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo Privacy Search Engines

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • Looks great
  • Discrete non-targeted ads
  • Bangs
  • Contextual filters
  • CONS
  • US company
  • Uses Amazon servers
  • Yahoo results 

DuckDuckGo is “The Search Engine that Vows Not to Track You.” Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo has stated that “if the FBI comes to us, we have nothing to tie back to you.”

It is a US-based company, and is the most popular and high-profile of the privacy search engines. Searches are primarily sourced via Yahoo, with whom DuckDuckGo has a strong relationship.

This is very worrying given recent revelations about its ties to the NSA,  but DuckDuckGo continues to promise that it does not collect or share personal information.

Aesthetics

DuckDuckGo sports a clean interface. I find its red, grey, and white styling and cutesy logo attractive and fun, although this is, of course, a matter of personal taste.

Search results

  • DuckDuckGo offers search suggestions as you type in a query.
  • Search returns are very fast. This includes image and video search returns.
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Search filter categories include Web, Images, Videos, Products, Meanings, Definition, and News. Displayed filters are adaptive, and DDG will initially show results under the filter category that it feels is most appropriate to the search terms. Depending the filter selected, DuckDuckGo may display image, video or Wikipedia previews at either the top of the search page, or in a box to the right of the results.
  • Ads may also be displayed to the right of search results. Paid ads are clearly marked as such, are discreet, and are never mixed in with the “pure” search returns.
  • Image results, however, can only be filtered by size (Small, Medium. Large).
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. YouTube videos can be played directly from DDG the website, but a warning alerts you to the fact that these will be tracked by YouTube/Google.
  • Results can also be filtered by country and date (Anytime, Past Day, Past Week or Past Month).
  • Subjectively, I find the quality of DuckDuckGo’s search returns to be very good. I have seen complaints, however, by others who do not find them as good as those of Google. This is one reason why “bangs” are so useful (see below).

Here we can see both the contextual filter in actual (auto-direct to Products) and DDG’s discrete ads

How it makes money

DuchDuckGo displays ads alongside its search results. These are sourced from Yahoo as part of the Yahoo-Microsoft search alliance. By default, when advertisers sign up for a Bing Ads account, their ads automatically enter rotation into all of Bing’s distribution channels, including DuckDuckGo

Importantly, however, these ads are untargeted (they are displayed based on your search terms). And as already noted, there are clearly marked and are displayed separately from the “pure” search returns.

DuckDuckGo is part of the affiliate programs of Amazon and eBay. When you visit those sites through DuckDuckGo and subsequently make a purchase, it receives a small commission. No personally identifiable information is given out in this way, however, and this does not influence search result rankings.

Privacy

DuckDuckGo states that does not collect or share personal information.

  • An affiliate code may be added to some eCommerce sites (e.g. Amazon & eBay), but this does not include any personally identifiable information.
  • Being based in the US means that DuckDuckGo is subject to government pressure and laws such as FISA and the Patriot Act. This means that the US government could mandate that DuckDuckGo start logging its users’ activities. And prevent the company from alerting users to this fact via a Gag order.
  • DuckDuckGo uses Amazon servers. Again, this is a US company, subject to pressure from the US government.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has contacted me regarding this article. Please see the Update at the bottom of this page for his answers to some  criticisms expressed here.

Features

In addition to its rather nifty contextual filters, the most striking feature of DuckDuckGo is “bangs”.

These allow you to search other websites quickly and easily. For example, typing !guk before a search query will return Google UK search results, and typing !a will search the Amazon store for you.

Note that bangs take you to the website in question. The searches are proxied, but if you are signed into Google (for example), then Google will know who you are and will record the search terms.

My thoughts

DuckDuckGo is, in my opinion, the best looking and most user-friendly privacy search engine out there. This makes it great to use, although some may prefer Google to the primarily Yahoo-based search results.

Bangs are a killer feature, however, and one that go a long way towards compensating for this issue. Just remember to sign out of your Google account before using a Google bang!

It is little surprise, then, that DuckDuckGo is so popular. But the fact that it is a US company should sound a note of caution.

Startpage (and Ixquick)

Startpage

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • Non-targeted ads
  • Can proxy webpages
  • Based in Netherlands
  • Google results
  • CONS
  • Runs servers in the US (but can you choose non-US servers)

Startpage and Ixquick are run by the same company. In the past, Startpage returned Google results, while Ixquick returned results from a number of other search engines, but not Google. The two services have now been combined, and both return identical Google results.

Although no longer actively supported, the old Ixquick metasearch engine is still available at Ixquick.eu. Interestingly, despite no longer being actively supported, Startpage has recently removed Yahoo results from the legacy search engine. This is in response to news that Yahoo has been helping the NSA spy on its users.

Aesthetics

The cloudy blue sky default theme doesn’t really do it for me, although this can be changed in the settings. Overall, there is nothing wrong with how Startpage looks, but I much prefer DuckDuckGo’s red-themed cutesiness.

Search results

  • Suggestions are not offered as you type.
  • Search returns are fast, but perhaps not as fast as those of DuckDuckGo (this is a purely subjective assessment).
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Searches can be only filtered by Web, Images and Video categories. An advanced search option is available that allows you to specify a variety of search parameters, and you can filter results by time.
  • Ads are displayed above search results. These are clearly marked as ads, and are not mixed with the “pure” search results.
  • There are no additional filters for Images.
  • Video results display an image preview. YouTube can be played directly on the Startpage website, although you are warned that this is not private.
  • Search results are pulled directly from Google, and are therefore very good. This does mean, however, that information censored by Google is also censored from these returns.

startpage-1

Ads are more prominent than with DDG, but the ability to proxy webpages is great

How it makes money

Much like DuckDuckGo, Startpage makes money from ads and affiliate links. These ads are untargeted, clearly marked, and not mixed in with the “real” search returns. They are somewhat more prominently displayed than with DuckDuckGo, however.

 

Privacy

  • Startpage is based in the Netherlands, which has strong privacy laws.
  • It runs servers collocated in the US. These are owned and controlled by Startpage, and I am assured that they are secure against government snooping. If this worries you, however…
  • It is possible to use non-US servers only (or non-EU servers).
  • Webpages returned from searches can be proxied (see below).
  • Startpage is the only privacy search engine that has been independently audited.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Features

Startpage’s killer feature is that, rather than visiting a website directly, you can proxy the connection. If you select this option, then a proxy server run by Startpage sits between your computer and the website.

This prevents the website from knowing your true IP address (much like a VPN), and from being able to use web tracking and fingerprinting technologies to identify and track you.  The downside is that pages load more slowly, since StartPage must retrieve the contents and redisplay them.

I must say that this is a terrific feature, and one that can greatly improve your privacy. Given its downside, however, you probably won’t want to use it all the time.

My thoughts

Startpage is not as pretty or user-friendly as DuckDuckGo. But thanks to being based in the Netherlands and having nothing to do with Yahoo, it should be more resistant to NSA spying than its US-based rivals long (if you specify non-US servers!). And  the ability to proxy web pages is an absolute doozy.

 SearX

Search

  • PROS
  • Can be self-hosted
  • Choose which search engines to leverage
  • Can proxy webpages
  • No ads
  • CONS
  • Public instances could be logged

Less well-known, but fast gaining traction with the security community is SearX. Not only is SearX fully open source, but it is easy to setup and run your own instance of it.

 

There is an official public SearX instance, or you can use one of many volunteer-run public instances. But what SearX is really about is running your own instance. This makes SearX the only metasearch engine where you can be 100 percent sure that no logs are kept!

Aesthetics

I would describe SearX as functional looking, rather than pretty. That said, the layout is clean, and results are displayed clearly. It is possible for hosts to customize their instances somewhat, although most instances look and feel fairly similar to the official template.

Search results

  • By default, SearX leverages results from a large number of search engines.

searx-search-engines

In Preferences, users can change which search engines are used

  • Search suggestions are not offered as you type, but are displayed to the right of your search returns.
  • Searches can be filtered by the following categories: General, Files, Images, IT, Map (using OpenStreetMap), Music, News, Science, Social Media and Videos. They can also be filtered by time.
  • There are no ads
  • Wikipedia entries are displayed to the right of search results
  • There are no additional filters for Images, although a preview is displayed when they are clicked on.
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. Clicking on a video takes you to the website it is hosted on (for example YouTube or Vimeo).
  • Search results can be downloaded as a .csv, .json., or rss file.
  • As with Starpage, search results can be viewed proxied. This will “break” many websites, but does allow for a very high level of privacy.
  • Search results are as good as the engine’s selected. The official instance uses Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and a host of other first-rate engines by default, so the results are excellent.

How it makes money

SearX is an open source project run by volunteers. On the official instance there is no on-site advertising and no affiliate marketing.

Because it is open source, individual operators of public SearX instances are free to introduce their own finance models. But I have yet to find a single instance that is not 100 percent ad and affiliate-free.

Privacy

  • There is no way to know if a public SearX instance operator is logging your searches. And this includes the official instance.
  • That said, there is no way to guarantee that DDG, Startpage, or any other “private” search engines are not logging your searches either…
  • If you are serious about privacy, therefore, you should set up your own SearX instance. In fact, setting up your own SearX instance on a server that only you directly control is the only way currently available to guarantee that your searches are not logged.
  • This makes self-hosted SearX instances by far the most secure search engines available. Documentation for installing your own SearX instance is available here.
  • For the casual user, public SearX instances are unlikely to log your searches, and are much less likely to be monitored by the likes of the NSA than the other services mentioned here.
  • Just remember, though, that there is no way to be sure of this.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report for searx.me (the official instance): A. Note that each SearX instance (public or private) is different in this respect.

searx-reults

The are no ads, search suggestions are listed to the right, and as with Startpage, you can proxy webpages

Features

As with Startpage, the ability to proxy websites is a killer feature if you can live with it breaking many websites that you visit.

My thoughts

For serious tech-savvy privacy-heads, a self-hosted SearX instance is the way to go. Simply put, nothing else is in the same league when it comes to knowing for certain that your searches are not logged.

 

More casual users may also be surprised at how well the software works on public instances. My personal feelings are that these are much less likely to log your searches or be spied on by the US and other governments than DuckDuckGo, Startpage or Disconnect. But this is purely speculation.

Disconnect Search

Disconnect Search

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • No ads
  • Choice of search engines
  • CONS
  • US company (so beware the NSA)
  • Uses Amazon servers (so beware the NSA)

Before writing a Disconnect review, we knew the US-based company had made a name for itself with some excellent open source privacy-oriented browser extensions. One of these is the open source Disconnect Search add-on for Firefox and Chrome (a non-open source Android app is also available).

This browser add-on is still the primary way to use Disconnect Search, although a JavaScript web app is available. This mimics the browser extension, and allow you to perform web searches from the Disconnect Search web page.

Disconnect also markets a Premium VPN and online security app, with Disconnect Search functionality built-in. Please see my Disconnect review for more details on this.

Search results

  • Searches are usually made from the browser add-on.
  • You can select which of three search engines to query: Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo (default).
  • Unlike the other privacy metasearch engines discussing this article, Disconnect does not display search returns on its own website. Results are simply routed through Disconnect’s servers to hide their origin, and are then opened in the selected search engine’s webpage.
  • Incognito mode searches are supported.

disconnect-search-1

The browser extension

How it makes money

Disconnect markets a Premium product (see review), but the Disconnect Search browser extension is free. It hides your IP when making searches, but then sends you direct to the selected search engine.  This means that Disconnect performs no advertising or affiliate marketing of its own when making a search.

Privacy

  • Disconnect is a US company, and is therefore not a good choice for the more NSA-phobic out there.
  • The browser extension is open source, but search requests can still be logged by Disconnect, as they are made through its servers.
  • Disconnect hosts its service on Amazon servers.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A (this is for the Disonnect.me website).

My thoughts

The Disconnect Search browser extension provides a quick and easy way hide your true identity whilst making searches using your favorite search engine.  The fact that Disconnect is US-based, however, is a major issue.

Honorary mention: Peekier

Peekier is a new no-logs search engine. There is not enough information about this service currently available for me to give it a proper assessment. It is worth mentioning, however, because of the attractive and innovative way that it displays search results.

Results are displayed as large thumbnail previews of returned webpages

In a field were where, if we are honest, most search engines look pretty similar, it is great to see a different approach. I therefore think it worth flagging up Peekier, and keeping an eye on the service to see how it develops.

Privacy Search Engines Conclusion

Using any of these services engines will greatly improve your search privacy. Crucially, your searches will not be recorded in order to build to help a profile that is used to sell you stuff. All the search engines I looked at in this article are easy to use and return good results.

 

DuckDuckGo, in particular, is extremely user-friendly. This makes it a great service for transitioning away from Google.

Will these services protect your searches from government surveillance (and the NSA in particular)? In the case of US companies, it is safest to assume not. But unless you are doing something very illegal, this may not concern you (although it should).

Startpage is non-US based, has been independently audited, and allows you to access websites with a great deal of privacy thanks to its proxy feature. It is therefore a much better choice for privacy-heads than DuckDuckGo.

Public SearX instances are less likely to be monitored than other higher-profile search engines, but they may be. It is also likely that you will know nothing about their operators. Running your own SearX instance on hardware directly under your control, however, is an extremely secure and private solution. And is therefore only one that I can recommend to serious privacy fanatics.

The fact the SearX has a great interface and returns on-the-button results from all the major search engines is the icing on the cake.

Update

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has contacted me regarding this article. It is his firm (and I believe genuine) belief that DDG is as secure and private as a search engine can be (barring one that is self-hosted). And that my concerns about it being a US company and over its partnership with Yahoo are largely unfounded.

Central to his argument is that DDG keeps no logs. This means that it cannot be subpoenaed to provide what it does not have, and makes it irrelevant who it partners with. As no information exists about DDG’s users anyway.

Gabriel also pointed out the legal protections US citizens enjoy against government spying that are not afforded to other nationals, and that DuckDuckGo operates non-US servers. Users outside the US will mostly be directed to these when performing searches.

Now. I will go on record as saying that I think being a US company is a serious threat to privacy. This article is not the place to discuss such issues in detail, but look out for an upcoming article where I will dive into the subject head first.

Source: This article was published bestvpn.com By Douglas Crawford

Categorized in Search Engine

Need a new show to watch? Bing helps make your options clear.

Bing users in search of their next Netflix binge may now have an easier time finding the perfect show. Microsoft announced a few updates to its search engine through a blog post, with one of them being entertainment search results showing content options from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

The update makes Bing smarter and better able to give you suggestions based on entertainment-related searches. Bing will show up-to-date information about trending search topics like “fall 2017 TV premieres,” as well as service-specific topics like “trending movies on Netflix.” Results show up in a carousel at the top of the results page, separated from webpage links, much like visual results in Google’s search engine. An image in the blog post shows that you can further filter search results by year, genre, and show rating.

 

Bing now also has a new “My Saves” section where you can save images and videos for later reference. To save media to your Saves section, you’ll only need to hover over the image or video and press the small plus icon that appears. Saves appears to be similar to a media-specific bookmark collection, with the option to make specific folders based on the types of media you want access to quickly (one folder in an image on the Bing blog is entirely dedicated to “favorite cat videos”).

Windows Phone may be dead, but Bing mobile search isn’t. The final new Bing feature in this update adds tabbed sections to search results on mobile devices. When searching movies, artists, and other types of entertainment, mobile searches will now display information through tabbed sections like “cast,” “showtimes,” and “reviews.” The first search results page is considered the “overview” tab, while the other category-specific tabs appear next to it, allowing users to more easily see specific information about any piece of entertainment.

Again, Microsoft took a page out of Google’s book with these mobile tabs. In general, they provide good organization to mobile search results while also providing more visual information compared to the slew of hyperlinks we’re used to seeing in desktop searches.

Source: This article was published arstechnica.com By VALENTINA PALLADINO

Categorized in Search Engine

The European Commission has hit Google with a record fine of €2.42 billion ($2.72 billion) for abusing its dominant market position and tweaking search results to favor its Google Shopping service to the detriment of its direct competitors.

The EU says that Google intentionally and knowing promoted its Google Shopping listings on its search engine front page, at the top of all other search results.

Additionally, the EU found Google guilty of tinkering with its search classification algorithm in a way that buried listings from competitors.

"Evidence shows that even the most highly ranked rival service appears on average only on page four of Google's search results, and others appear even further down," the European Commission wrote today in its decision to a long-winding antitrust case that started in 2010.

 

Antitrust investigation started following Microsoft's complaint

Ironically, the complaint against Google abusing its dominant market position came from Microsoft, a company that was also fined for similar practices when it pushed Internet Explorer on Windows users.

At the heart of the fine is a service launched in 2002 under the name Froogle, rebranded in Google Product Search in 2008, and later rebranded as Google Shopping in 2013.

Described by the EU as a comparison shopping service, Google Shopping worked by taking products from various stores and allowing users to compare prices and features in order to select the best products they wanted to buy.

When Google launched Froogle, there were already several comparison shopping services on the market. Documents and data obtained by the European Commission during its investigation showed that Froogle was a failed product up until Google decided to place it above other search results and later demoted its competition to lower search results pages.

 

"Froogle simply doesn't work," said one Google document from 2006 obtained by the EU. Things changed two years later, and the EU says Google's service started to take off once Google began aggressively pushing the service in its search results.

Rival services lost over 80% of their traffic

Market studies have shown that top Google search results — the position where Google Shopping listings were displayed — usually garner around 35% of all search engine traffic, while results on the first page get 95%. Furthermore, things get worse with second-page listings, which only get 1% of the traffic. By downgrading rival services to page four and beyond, Google had effectively killed traffic to its competitors.

According to statistics obtained by EU investigators, rival services lost between 80% and 92% of their normal traffic.

"This shows that Google's practices have stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets, depriving European consumers of genuine choice and innovation," the EU ruled.

Google faces two more antitrust investigations

The fine was passed down today, and Google has 90 days to comply or face new penalties. Furthermore, based on the EU's ruling, Google is now open to civil litigation from past rivals it tried to kill off.

 

In a blog post today, Google tried to explain "the other side of the story," saying it promoted Google Shopping because it felt their service was superior to anything else on the market. The company also hinted it might appeal the ruling.

The EU and Google will be locked in many legal battles in the upcoming years. The European Commission is also currently investigating Google in two other antitrust cases.

One is for the Android mobile operating system, where "Google has stifled choice and innovation in a range of mobile apps and services by pursuing an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in general internet search," and the second is for AdSense, where the EU things "Google has reduced choice by preventing third-party websites from sourcing search ads from Google's competitors."

Source: This article was published bleepingcomputer By CATALIN CIMPANU

Categorized in Search Engine

The new Personal tab will show search results from one’s Google accounts.

Aiming to help people find what they are looking for, Google has added a “Personal” tab in search results to show content from private sources like Gmail account and Google Photos library.

“Similar to the Images, News and Maps tabs, the Personal tab narrows down search query and shows results from your Google accounts instead,” technology website theverge.com reported.

 

The “Personal” tab can be found behind the “More” menu and will surface results like Gmail messages and calendar events from users signed-in accounts. For photo searches, users can either immediately open an image result or click through to do a deeper search in Google Photos. In March, Google introduced shortcuts on the Google Search app for Android, iOS and Google.com on the mobile web that gives users the ability to explore deeper within topics they care about.

With shortcuts right on the home screen, users now have access to in-depth experiences across sports, eat and drink, entertainment and weather sections. Android users will find other useful shortcuts too like translate, nearby attractions, flights, hotels, internet speed test, currency converter and more. 

Source: This article was published bgr.in By IANS

Categorized in Search Engine

Google is getting ready to make a big change in the way it indexes web pages for search results.

In a few months, the company will implement a previously announced plan to index mobile pages separately from desktop pages, a Google employee said at a conference Thursday, according to Search Engine Land.

Google also plans to keep its mobile website index more up to date than the desktop index, which means mobile users will get the best results faster than desktop users.

 

It also means websites and online publishers will have to make sure their sites are mobile friendly if they want to be properly indexed by Google.

This is the latest move in Google's efforts to enhance search on mobile. Recently it introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which loads news articles found through Google much faster on mobile devices and shares a cut of the advertising with the publisher.

Google didn't say exactly when the new mobile index will come, but it sounds like it'll be here soon.

Get the latest Google stock price here.

Source: This article was published businessinsider.com By Steve Kovach

Categorized in Search Engine
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