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 MailGmail is a hugely popular email service.
Google MapsMaps is a web mapping service offering satellite imagery, aerial photography, and more.
Google PhotosPhotos stores your images in the cloud for convenient access from anywhere.
Google TranslateTranslate is a multilingual neural machine translation service.
Google CalendarCalendar helps manage your busy life with a digital calendar.
Google ChromeChrome is application software for accessing the World Wide Web.
Google SearchSearch looks at privacy-focused alternatives to Google Search.
Google DriveDrive is a file storage and synchronization service.
Google Earth ProEarth Pro maps Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS.
Google DNSDNS resolves a particular domain name to its IP equivalent.
Google YouTubeYouTube is an online video sharing and social media platform.
Google DocsGoogle Docs is a web-based productivity office suite.

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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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