Privacy on the web is a big issue and in one way or another you are always giving up your information, intentionally or unintentionally. Search engines allow you to search across the web and they are first in the list to track you. Take the example of Google, it knows everything about you including what you are searching, what are your interests, your location and whatever you are doing on the web, and then uses this information to offer customized results and ads.
If you are not comfortable with this tracking and you have been looking for a search engine that actually respects your privacy, we have got you covered. There are many search engines available that don’t track your searches, IP addresses, search history and don’t store cookies. In this post, we are listing down 4 search engines that never track your searches and let you browse the web with a peace of mind.
DuckDuckGo is hands down the best private browser that respects your privacy and ensures websites don’t track your activity. DuckDuckGo is not just a search engine that makes your data private, it also offers tons of features that may even make it a better option than Google Search. One of its most notable features is “!Bangs“, that allows you to search directly inside a website (supported one) right from the DuckDuckGo website.
DuckDuckGo also offers great search results with instant answers that are very accurate and arguably more informative than Google Search (in some cases, at least). It is ad supported (based on keyword, not previous searches), but you can always turn them off right from DuckDuckGo settings. On top of that, it features a number of customization options and its built-in handy instant tools make it the perfect private search engine. DuckDuckGo will be my first recommendation if you are moving from Google Search or similar tracking search engine to a private search engine.
If you love Google but want to switch to a more private search engine, then Startpage might be a better option for you. It actually uses Google’s search engine, but removes all the tracking features from it. This makes sure that you get quality search results from Google Search while being protected from its tracking features. Of course, the search results will not be same as what you may see on Google Search, that’s because Google Search provides customized results based on all the info it has about you.
Another plus point about Startpage is its clean interface, which comes without all the bells and whistles. You will also see a “Proxy” button next to each search result which will open a web page using Ixquick (owner of Startpage) proxy, leading to more protection against tracking, as all the data goes through the proxy server.
Disconnect is actually a software company trying to fight user tracking and device protection, and Disconnect search engine is a great example of their work. Disconnect lets you use search engines like Yahoo and Bing privately by routing all your searches through their servers. This shows the search engine that all the searches are coming for Disconnect, therefore it becomes impossible for a search engine to track all the queries. Disconnect itself doesn’t track any of your activity, so you can basically use both Yahoo and Bing without being tracked. There is also an option to search using DuckDuckGo, but this will only search your query on the actual DuckDuckGo website because it is already a private search engine.
To get a little customized results, you can tell your region and you will see results catering to your specific region. Furthermore, Disconnect also has a paid app for smartphones and PC that protects your whole device from any form of tracking and malware. It also secures your Wi-Fi connections to give you the freedom to securely use public Wi-Fi networks while also protecting your connection with their VPN service.
WolframAlpha is another great search engine that is worth a mention in this list. It is a computation based search engine that only provides answers to the queries that may have a computable answer. For example, if you search for “Thanksgiving” it will not bring you info regarding what the holiday is about, instead it will show you when it is celebrated and how many months, weeks, weekdays and days are left till Thanksgiving, along with details like sunrise and sunset time on that day and phase of the moon.
The purpose of WolframAlpha is to only provide computable information such as size, weight, total value in numbers, math, tables and graphs, etc. It will be able to handle most Mathematics and Physics related questions and should provide complete step-by-step instructions on how to solve a problem. Additionally, you can ask questions about food nutrition, people in history, units and measures, finance, materials and even shopping items. If you are looking for computable information, then give WolframAlpha a shot and we are sure you will like it.
You can also opt for WolframAlpha Pro ($5.49/month) that will let you upload images to search, get a detailed view of graphs and tables, download answers, use symbols and few other handy features.
Concerned about your privacy on the web? Try these private search engines
If you are concerned about your privacy on the web, you should definitely start using one of the aforementioned private search engines. However, it’s important to note that Google Search is considered the best search engine for a reason. Its custom results can be very accurate for your needs. When you move to a private search engine, you may feel that the search results are not precise enough; it’s simply because they are not tracking you.
Well, it’s up to you now. What do you prefer, customized search results or privacy on the web? Let us know in the comments below.