Private search engines such as IxQuick and DuckDuckGo has grown popularity for private search needs. These anonymous search engines leverage the power of other well-known search engines like the Google or Bing to list their search results.
Why You Should Care About Secure Search
At famous search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, when you search your query and click on a link, your search query is sent to the clicked website. We call this process a ‘search leakage’ (sharing of personal information).
For example, if you are searching something secret, then instead of a secure search your private query is not only shared with the search engine but also with the sites you click. In addition, every time you visit a website, your computer sends its information to that particular website (including your IP address and User Agent). Such information can be tracked back to you anytime.
Search engines like Google save your search history. Your search queries are saved along with other information about your computer (e.g. User Agent, IP address, and your unique identifier stored in your browser cookie), and if you are logged into your account, then your name and email address will also be saved.
So every time you do a private search, not only the website knows your searched query, but they can also track that YOU searched for it, which raises serious privacy concerns.
Why You Should Use A Private Search Engine
These search engines prevent search leakage. So how private search engines work? When you click on a link on the search engine, it redirects that request in a way to prevent your search queries from being tracked by other sites. The websites will know that you visited them, but they won’t know what query you searched for beforehand. Some anonymous search engines such as DuckDuckGo have encrypted versions (HTTPS) which further protects your internet experience.
These Private search engines have a policy not to log your IP address, search queries, and any cookies placed on your browser. We have gathered top search engines list that takes your privacy seriously.
Top 3 Best Private Search Engines Of 2016
DuckDuckGo is gaining popularity rapidly these days as an alternative to Google search engine. Millions of people use this private search engine to prevent information tracking. The sophisticated, simple, and yet powerful search engine offer features quite similar to Yahoo, because of its partnership with the Yahoo company. It uses search algorithms from Google, Bing, and Yahoo but in a private way to not to track users and promote secure search practices.
The private search engine does not log your IP address, search queries, and cookies, neither it tracks your information for targeted ads or search enhancements. Rather it relies on its developer community.
DuckDuckGo has an exclusive feature named ‘Bang’ which let you directly search a query specific to a site such. For example, type “!” and it will show a list of websites – !a for Amazon – which you can directly search. The search engine relies on ads, but you can disable ads by going to Advance Settings > General > Advertisement and turning them off.
2. IxQuick (aka Startpage)
IxQuick, or Startpage, both owned by a Dutch corporation is an award search engine. Famous in Europe, the private search engine is used by many to prevent search leakage. You can customize the search preferences of the engine to make the most out of it. Recently, the search engine has removed results from the Yahoo searches due to the news related to Yahoo involvement with the NSA.
IxQuick is moving towards Startpage, however, if you want to access the old meta search engine then it is still available at IxQuick.eu. The Startpage’s feature is that it works as a proxy server between you and the internet so that other sites can’t track your original IP address and other web tracking techniques. However, the drawback of such feature is that it slows the secure search process of retrieve and listing.
3. SearX – Private Search
SearX is the underrated private search engine which is attracting attention rapidly within the security community. The search engine is open-source which is easy to setup-and-run. SearX is available in two instances official and volunteer-run which makes sure that the search engine does not keep logs.
The interface might not be pretty for some because it is made to be more ‘functional, ’ but due to its on-going progress, hopefully, we’ll get to see the pretty interface as well. While the search engine results in private searches from various other search engines, you can customize the list of search engines to search from and display. SearX is ad-free and offers excellent results.
Disconnect Search (Add-on)
The Disconnect Search is known for its add-ons over Firefox and Chrome, and its popular Android app. It uses the power of extension to perform a secure search on its Disconnect search engine. Unlike other search engines, the searches and results are routed through its own dedicated servers.
Disconnect’s server hide your identity origin and other information attached, and then open the results in the selected search engine’s web page. The extension also blocks all the invisible tracking websites and social platforms.
Well, I have listed some of the best private search engines alternative to Google. Choosing a good search engine is essential because it is our first point of contact with the world of information over the internet. If you are a Google, Bing, or Yahoo fan and still reluctant to try another search engine, then it would be wise to use a secure VPN connection to hide all your information over the internet so that even if you visit Google or Bing, your online information and identity will not be compromised.
Image Courtesy: DuckDuckGo, StartPage, SearX, and Disconnect
Peter Kendrick is a writer with emphasis on security and other interests. Contributing Author at Most Secure VPN. He is passionate about latest security issues, technology, traveling and blogging. You can reach Peter Kendrick on Twitter @peterkendrickk