Looking for more privacy?

Private and confidential

Judging from blog statistics, readers can’t seem to get enough of Google alternatives – especially privacy-based search engines. Clearly, many of you are tired of Google’s practices, including collecting and sharing your data and customizing search results.

It’s not just privacy issue. As an investigator, I need to avoid filtered results, since I don’t want to miss anything that’s left out because it doesn’t fit my profile. I’m also not thrilled about sharing my searches with Google due to the sensitive nature of my work. That’s why I was interested in a November Denver Post article on European search engines that take your privacy seriously.

The article reports that, in light of European privacy laws and recent revelations about Facebook’s use of private data, we’re seeing a growing number of privacy-based search engines. I’ve written about Qwant and several others mentioned in the article, so this time I’ll focus on three not covered before:

Mojeek – Billed as a tool for “independent and unbiased search results with no user tracking,” this site does not collect identifying information. Unlike other privacy-based search tools that use mainstream engines, Mojeek starts with its own index (two billion pages) and algorithms. My test search pulled a promising list of results, including items not found with other search engines.

Unbubble – Unlike Mojeek, Unbubble is a meta search engine, using results from mainstream engines. They then neutralize the results and “store very little data.” For my test search, Unbubble delivered fewer results than Mojeek.

Oscobo – This site claims that it doesn’t collect your information, and it encrypts your searches locally before sending to their servers. It also doesn’t show your search in the page title or metadata, so it won’t appear in your browser history. My test search results included a lot of ads, and I’m not sure how that affects my privacy.

Avoid prying eyes and filtered results. Give these Google alternatives a try – and let me know what you think.


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