Google Search Alternatives

Best Privacy-Focused Alternatives to Google Search

Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.

What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.

In this series we explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything.

SearchingGoogle Search is a hugely popular web search engine with more than 92% market share. But there are many who are concerned about how the service tracks them. If you believe that Google invades your privacy, what alternatives do we recommend?

Let’s start with Startpage. They are a Dutch-based Google search alternative that stakes its reputation as a privacy search option. The service actually retrieves its search results from Google, paying them to get a feed of links for any search. Startpage submits your query to Google anonymously, then returns Google results to you privately. Google never sees you and does not know who made the request; they only see Startpage. Obviously using Startpage doesn’t break away from Google’s ecosystem.

DuckDuckGo is another privacy search option. Their service collates data from hundreds of sources including Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia and Bing, with their own proprietary web crawler, to surface the most relevant results. Google does exactly the same, albeit on a somewhat larger scale. The main difference is that DuckDuckGo does not store IP addresses or user information. There isn’t storing or tracking of a user’s search history. Therefore there is no profiling of users, and all users see the same search results for a specific search term. Some of DuckDuckGo’s source code is open source published under the Apache 2.0 License, but the core is proprietary.

Qwant is another search engine that sets its store by claiming it doesn’t employ user tracking or personalize search results. As Qwant is based in France, users gain some protection due to tighter European privacy laws.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Google's Products and Services
Google AnalyticsAnalytics is a platform for both website and mobile app analytics. This hosted web analytics software remains the mostly widely used analytics service.
Google CalendarCalendar helps manage your busy life with a digital calendar. It offers tons of features and makes it easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place.
Google ChatChat is communication software which provides direct messages and team chat rooms, together with a group messaging function.
Google ChromeChrome is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. It's the most popular web browser but has a chequered track record from a privacy perspective.
Google DNSDNS resolves a particular domain name to its IP equivalent. There are many free DNS providers. A few stand out from the crowd.
Google DocsDocs is a web-based productivity office suite. The suite includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites, and Google Keep.
Google DriveDrive is a file storage and synchronization service. Want a solution that also includes the online office components available in Google Docs?
Google Earth ProEarth Pro maps Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS. Fly anywhere to see satellite imagery, 3D buildings, 3D trees, terrain, Street View, planets and much more.
Google FirebaseFirebase is a platform for creating mobile and web applications. It's currently their flagship offering for app development providing an all-in-one cloud service.
Google FormsForms is a survey administration software included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.
Google MailGmail is a hugely popular email service. You might not like the automated scanning of email content.
Google KeepKeep is a note-taking service. The app offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.
Google MapsMaps is a web mapping service offering satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, and interactive panoramic views.
Google MeetMeet is a video-communication service. It offers enterprise-grade video conferencing built on Google’s global infrastructure.
Google PhotosPhotos stores your images in the cloud for convenient access from anywhere. Lots of useful tools, but it’s difficult to shake the sinking feeling that Google is analysing your pictures.
Google SearchSearch looks at privacy-focused alternatives to Google Search. If you believe that Google invades your privacy, what alternatives do we recommend?
Google TranslateTranslate is a multilingual neural machine translation service that translates text and websites from one language into another.
Google YouTubeYouTube is an online video sharing and social media platform. It's a hugely popular service but has encountered a number of privacy issues.
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2 comments

  1. It’s crazy the amount of information that companies are collating about us. Many countries even lack a basic legal framework to protect privacy.

    For example, the UK does not have a written constitution that enshrines a right to privacy for individuals and there is no common law that provides for a general right to privacy. Instead you get a wishy-washy national law based on the European Convention on Human Rights enacted through the Dara Protection Act.

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