Online security is the need of the hour today. With so many hackers, breaches and malicious bots floating around, it’s but natural to opt for a bulletproof solution even when you are browsing the internet. After all, you don’t want to let the world know about all the things you searched for, the sites you viewed and the subjects you were deep diving into. This is particularly true if you are a whistle blower, an investigative journalist or a privacy advocate who believes in securing your privacy.
However, if you aren’t any of these people, privacy is important because it prevents people from stalking you online and getting to know every single detail about you. How does this help, you ask? Well, the biggest threat to leakage of private data is identity theft. Imagine someone else is masquerading as you at your bank, passport office or even Aadhaar office. Well, there are people who don’t exist because they are going around using your identity.
In this blog post, we would like to dwell on some of the best search engines that guarantee your privacy better than the regular Chromes, Internet Explorers and Safaris of the world.
Yes, we are pretty sure you have not heard of it but it’s a nifty little tool that works like magic. To begin with, it’s a European search engine that respects your privacy unlike Chrome whose revenue model is woven around snooping on you. As Qwant puts it, they are the first search engine in Europe “which protects its users freedoms and ensures that the digital ecosystem remains healthy.” Their keywords? Privacy and neutrality.
So how does it accomplish this, you ask? Well, according to them, Qwant never tries to guess who you are or what you are doing. Therefore, it never records your searches and never uses your personal data for advertising or other purposes. There’s more. Qwant allows the whole Web to be visible without any discrimination or bias. The search engine’s sorting algorithms are applied equally everywhere and for every user, without trying to put websites forward or to hide others based on commercial, political or moral interests. Importantly, Qwant delivers all its results on a single web page, a panoramic search no less. Websites, social networks, pictures, videos, shopping, music… all is easily accessible through a single search. It is based in France, with headquarters in Paris.
Unlike the ‘incognito’ mode option given by the Chromes of the world, DuckDuckGo is incognito by default. What this means is nobody knows what you are searching for if you use this search engine. And the best part is that unlike Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer, you don’t have to install anything. If you are using Firefox internet browser for example, you could just ask to be searched using DuckDuckGo and not Chrome. The search engine does not record your IP address or the terms you were looking for. In addition, it has an encrypted version that connects to the encrypted versions of major websites, which further preserves the privacy between the user and the site.
Free access is as crucial as privacy and Metager is yet another search engine that offers both. It’s run by a non-profit whose source code is in public domain, so anybody can check and find out if their tall claims are indeed true or they actually track and store user data. Like Quant, this search engine also does not store private data and allows for anonymous access to the search results.
Metager is primarily a meta search engine. Which means, whenever you type your search query, Metager serves up recommendations from up to 50 search engines. This means, there is more variety and far less bias. And the best part? This search engine has been around for over two decades now, so you can trust this over others any day. What’s more, they only use green electricity to power their data storage servers.
Claiming to be the ‘world’s most private search engine’, Startpage does it in a unique manner. All the search results are from Google, but the privacy is guaranteed as the results are done in sync with Ixquick, claimed to be the world’s most private search engine.
And even we tend to agree with that as Ixquick was given the first European Privacy Seal way back in 2008. It was also the first and only EU-approved search engine. One of its best features is that you can surf the web anonymously because of its built-in proxy service that does not reveal your location. What’s more, it offers a cookie-free internet through its ‘URL generator’ tech. Nifty and neat!
Yes, this is open source and therefore more trustworthy over Chrome any day. Searching on this tool can be done without any fear of your profile being generated and stored in their database. They neither record your digital footprints and nor do they intend to make money from your searches. It’s just an open source community of privacy evangelists who believe in digital freedom.
This is UK’s anonymous search engine since late 2015. Like DuckDuckGo, the search results are based on Yahoo and Bing but it does not record IP address or any other user data. Since it’s no open source project or an NGO, the company behind this makes money from sponsored search results. According to them, all traffic routed through its search engine is SSL encrypted. They have implemented something called ‘Perfect-Forward Secrecy’ with their SSL implementation to further encrypt your search queries locally to ensure that no one will be able to intercept or decrypt your search queries.
Importantly, they don’t use any third-party scripts or analytics which further protects you from other companies snooping on your surfing habits. They also don’t show your search in the page title or meta information so it is never revealed in your browser history.