Privacy-Focused Search Engine Alternatives
In an article dated about 600 years ago I wrote about 25 Google Alternatives that would blow your mind.
In essence, I created an alternative to Google for every one of their main products. So you didn’t have to become their privacy-busted guinea pig.
Within that article I recommended 3 alternatives to Google Search: DuckDuckGo, Startpage, and Bing.
Well, sh*t. Not my best work.
If you haven’t been following the news recently, then you probably wouldn’t know why I am bringing this up. Three reasons:
- DuckDuckGo has developed some privacy problems. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. I’d replace my prior recommendation pretty quickly if given the chance. Plus, the search results are notoriously bad.
- Startpage got sold to an advertising company. Yeah, the anti-ad search engine is now owned by a US based advertising company. You can’t even make this up.
- Bing is owned by Microsoft and is just as terrible as Google. I have no excuses for this one.
So here I am reviewing search engines again. I’m back to redeem my past mistakes.
My Top 3 Alternatives To The Biased Google Search Engine
You can’t go wrong with Qwant, SwissCows, or Searx.
Qwant, the search engine that respects your privacy. Designed and based in France, Qwant is the first search engine that protects the freedoms of its users and ensures that the digital ecosystem is preserved.
Our key words: privacy and neutrality.
Respect for your privacy Qwant delivers the best possible results for your research without ever trying to find out who you are or what you do. We strongly believe that what you are looking for is only a matter of your privacy. Qwant therefore does not keep anything in memory and does not use any personal data for advertising or other purposes.
Out of these 3, the one I use the most is Qwant. It’s setup on my phone and computer as default. I like it because it actually brings back applicable search results even without the tracking cookies of Google.
I had switched to it even before I learned DDQ turned sour, simply because it gives really good search results.
We do not store your data!
Since we NEVER collect your data, we NEVER track your data! We respect your privacy!
1. It is in our DNA to protect every user!
2. We DO NOT store your data!
3. With Swisscows you are 100% anonymous!
We take it so seriously that we even have
1. our own servers and do not work with a cloud or third party!
2. have our DataCenter in the Swiss Alps – THIS is the safest bunker in Europe!
3. have positioned everything geographically outside of EU and US.
We place great importance on family-friendly Internet content!
1. We promote moral values.
2. We hate violence and pornography.
3. We promote digital media education.
SwissCows is non-arguably a #1 search engine as well. They get a heavy recommendation from me. Their focus on family, good values, and still being an awesome search engine seals the deal.
They also use a tremendous amount of exclamation marks which is fun.
You really can’t go wrong with them. 95% of my searches are done with Qwant and SwissCows.
Search without being tracked. Searx is a free internet metasearch engine which aggregates results from more than 70 search services. Users are neither tracked nor profiled. Additionally, searx can be used over Tor for online anonymity.
Get started with searx by using one of the Searx-instances.
If you don’t trust anyone, you can set up your own, see Installation.
- Self hosted
- No user tracking
- No user profiling
- About 70 supported search engines
- Easy integration with any search engine
- Cookies are not used by default
- Secure, encrypted connections (HTTPS/SSL)
- Hosted by organizations, such as La Quadrature du Net, which promote digital rights
One good instance I found is a Belgium based instance: https://searx.be/.
I love Searx but they don’t have an official instance. You have to select an instance which you need to vet yourself. Or set up your own instance.
For this reason, it’s not the most user friendly. However, if you do set it up – it is undeniably the most private. So for the more tech inclined: Searx very well may be your best option.
Runner Up Search Engines
I only wanted to do a quick 3 but there are a few that I wanted to toss in at the end:
- Ecosia (Plants trees while browsing. Not the best for privacy but far better than Google)
- DuckDuckGo (Still better than Google)
Give them all a look if you’re on the lookout for a new search engine.
Obviously, avoid the Google’s and Bing’s of this world. Also avoid Startpage since they have become traitors.
I’m confident if you give SwissCows, Qwant, or Searx a try, you won’t want to go back to any of these other engines anyway.
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