Google, Bing, Yahoo – all the major search engines track your search history and build profiles on you, serving different results based on your search history. Try one of these alternative search engines if you’re tired of being tracked.
Google now encrypts your search traffic when you’re logged in, but this only prevents third-parties from snooping on your search traffic – it doesn’t prevent Google from tracking you.
Editor’s Note: if you want a search engine that respects your privacy and is also great, DuckDuckGo is your choice. We listed out some other options on this page, but this is the one you want. It’s also clean, and has great search results.
Its home page is simple and clean – even more so than Google’s.
Because DuckDuckGo knows nothing about you, it can’t serve different results to different users. You’ll get the same results as everyone else.
DuckDuckGo’s donttrack.us page explains search engine tracking and DuckDuckGo’s approach in an entertaining way.
If you prefer Google’s search results and just want more privacy, try Ixquick’s Startpage. Startpage searches Google for you – when you submit a search, Startpage submits the search to Google and returns the results to you. All Google sees is a large amount of searches coming from Startpage’s servers – they can’t tie any searches to you or track your searches.
If you’ve heard of Scroogle – a Google scraper that no longer exists – Startpage is a similar service.
Ixquick is the main search engine from the company that runs Startpage. Unlike Startpage, Ixquick pulls results from a variety of sources instead of only Google – this can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how much you like Google’s search results.
Ixquick and Startpage have essentially the same design. Ixquick includes the same privacy features Startpage does, including the Ixquick proxy links in the search results.
Blekko doesn’t go as far as DuckDuckGo and Ixquick, but it’s still a big improvement over Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Blekko does log personally identifiable information, but deletes it within 48 hours. In contrast, Google stores this information for 9 months – and then anonymizes it without actually deleting it.
You can disable the data collection entirely by enabling the SuperPrivacy setting. Blekko even lets you disable ads entirely.
To surf anonymously everywhere — at the cost of slower browsing speed — try the Tor Browser Bundle.
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