Private search engines have seen huge growth over the past few years. Until recently, it was unthinkable that anyone could compete with Google in the search realm. However, there are now many smaller players in the search game that are growing rapidly. Google’s market share has declined from 78.7 percent in February 2017 to slightly below 70 percent in February 2018.
A few of these search engines, including DuckDuckGo and StartPage began as normal search engines with no privacy enhancements. However, after they realized the massive risk associated with storing so much data, they decided to take a different approach.
Your privacy really matters, and these search engines can help you stay private online:
This private search engine uses local encryption to secure your searches. It combines with AES-256 encryption with Secure Sockets Layer encryption. Search Encrypt then retrieves your search results from its network of search partners. After you’re done searching, your search terms expire so they are private even if someone else has access to your computer.
StartPage uses results from Google, which is a good thing if you prefer Google’s result without the tracking. Ixquick, which is an independent search engine that uses its own results, developed StartPage to include results from Google. Its features include a proxy service, URL generator, and HTTPS support. The URL generator is a unique feature that eliminates the need for cookies. It remembers your settings in a privacy friendly way.
DuckDuckGo is probably the most well-known alternative search engine. Its CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, said, “if the FBI comes to us, we have nothing to tie back to you.” Searches are sourced mostly from Yahoo. One cool feature of DuckDuckGo is what it calls “bangs”. Users can directly search other sites, like Amazon, Wikipedia, Yelp or Youtube, by starting their query with an exclamation mark!
Gibiru sources its search results from a modified Google algorithm. Gibiru’s CEO, Steve Marshall, announced in a press release that his service is exactly what Google was early on. It provides reliable search results without all the tracking that Google does today.
Swisscows is made by Hulbee AG, which is a tech company based in Switzerland. Like other private search engines on this list, this one does not build tracking profiles or use unique identifiers for its users. A key difference from the others though, is that this is a semantic search engine. This means that it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to evaluate the context of a user’s search. As a result, Swisscows, offers results that learn to answer your questions — a cool search tool.
Yippy has an additional feature that automatically categorizes query results. For example, a search for “dogs” displays the top results, but also has categories for Training, Photos, Dog Breeds, Rescue, etc. It doesn’t follow search users around the web with ads. Yippy Inc. also has a search product that competes with Google’s Search Appliance.
BitClave is a decentralized search engine built with blockchain to protect user privacy. This search tool empowers consumers by allowing them to choose what info they share with advertisers. BitClave eliminates middlemen in the advertising process, by making the contract directly between the user and advertisers. It then incentivizes users by giving them Consumer Activity Tokens (CAT) for making searches relevant to the advertiser.
We often hear about internet service providers (ISPs) or the NSA intrusions into citizens’ privacy, but what are we doing about it?
There is an inherent risk in sharing your information with third-parties while browsing the internet. That’s why private search engines are beneficial to users. There is very little risk that your searches will be leaked to anyone, because most private search engines don’t track any information that can link you to your search terms. Beyond that, by searching in private, you aren’t creating filter bubbles that isolate you from any results that may conflict with your beliefs.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your information from the websites you visit and the search engines you use.
Practice safe searches and use a private search engine.
Easy Ways to Keep Your Digital Data Safe
Consumer Reports says that it’s a sure bet that keeping your personal data private will be more of a challenge in 2018. It explains that it isn’t just criminal hackers that are accessing your information. It’s also marketers. They are working to track and monetize your data, and do so legally (for the most part).
Consumer Reports’ Five Ways to Protect Digital Privacy
Update Your Devices
Tech companies use updates to patch vulnerabilities in their software. Some updates, however, may change your privacy settings or revert them to default. It’s important to double check to ensure that none of your settings have been adjusted to be “less private”. Consumer Reports suggests updating all devices, not just smartphones and laptops that update automatically.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication can protect you if your password is ever compromised. To long in, you’ll need a second factor, beyond your password. This could be a text message code, or your fingerprint, for example.
Freeze Your Credit
Freezing your credit will make sure that in the event of a hack, hackers won’t be able to get credit cards or loans approved in your name.
Use a Password Manager
Password managers not only store your passwords for you, they can also auto-generate complex, alpha-numeric passwords. Because passwords are the first line of defense for defending your privacy, they are a major contributor to your digital security.
Focus On Privacy
Protecting your privacy online involves actively choosing to protect yourself. You can’t simply become private and secure overnight. There are various steps you have to take to protect your information on the internet. You may have to delete some social media accounts, change your passwords, and install some new software. There are plenty of ways to keep yourself safe, and we think using a private search engine is a good place to start.
Search Encrypt Does Not Track Any User Identifiable Information
Search Encrypt is a private search engine. Therefore, we have a responsibility to protect your information from tracking on the internet. Other search engines collect user information and use it for advertising purposes. While most search engines do perform some encryption on your data, we don’t track any identifiable data about our users and that is what sets us apart the most.
Originally published at hackernoon.com on February 8, 2018.