The 5 Best Private Search Engines to Maintain Data Privacy
The 5 Best Private Search Engines to Maintain Data Privacy
It's hard to find a search engine that is effective and doesn't sell your information. Luckily, they exist, and there are plenty of them for us to choose from. Here are some of the best Private Search Engines available that will not use you as a product.
DuckDuckGo Private Search Engines
What better way to start this list than the default search engine for the Tor browser? US-based DuckDuckGo is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to keep their privacy intact when searching the internet. DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that doesn't sell any personal information, because it never stored it in the first place. If DuckDuckGo were asked to turn over data by the government, they would comply. However, given that they do not store any information, it would be a very sparse database.
Since DuckDuckGo does not sell your data, it requires alternative ways to generate revenue. It shows you ads, but they are related to what you just searched for. They don't track your searches to create an ad-based profile for you. Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo uses Yahoo search results. This means that those who are used to efficient Google search results may find DuckDuckGo a little lackluster.
Startpage Private Search Engines
If you prefer a more Google-like search engine, try Dutch-based Startpage. It uses Google search results, which is great if you find DuckDuckGo results unsatisfactory. Startpage achieves this by paying Google for its search results, then using it for its own service that doesn't harvest your information.
The start page also requires a lot of attention with search recommendations. Usually, search engines will recommend search terms as you type based on what other people are searching for. However, this requires search engines to collect personal information, which is not supported by Startpage.
Instead, Startpage matches your search with terms in the dictionary, on Wikipedia, or common phrases that contain your search results. This allows Startpage to help you find what you are looking for without resorting to previous search harvesting.
Searching anonymously is one thing, but what if you could also visit pages without revealing your information? This is what Startpage does to help protect your privacy. If you click “Anonymous View” next to any search result, the Start Page will route your traffic through a proxy server, so you will never reveal your identity to websites. This makes Startpage one of the best anonymizing search engines.
MetaGer Private Search Engines
MetaGer is a search engine based in Germany and focused on privacy. Like Startpage, MetaGer also uses proxy-server technology to hide your location when you visit websites. When you search for the term on MetaGer, you will see an additional option under each result called “Open Anonymously.” When clicked, MetaGer will set up a proxy server and redirect your desired website through it. Since MetaGer is the source of your request, your visit remains anonymous.
Unfortunately, MetaGer is pretty simple for settings and options, and uses Scopia and Bing for its search results. However, unlike some search engines, MetaGer operates as a non-profit organization supported by donations. This is good news for anyone who will not trust a business that has a profit motive.
Qwant Private Search Engines
Qwant is a feature-packed French-based search engine. However, some of these features require your location or personal details. That means it's not an ideal choice for people who want maximum privacy. That said, if you want a search engine that has it all but doesn't save your search history, Qwant is the best free private search engine for you.
You can see various features when you load the homepage. Qwant has a music search engine, a “Junior” version for kids, a Maps feature, and news at the bottom of the page. From some experience, the news seems to be local news in the city you live in, which may indicate location tracking. However, it could also be a coincidence.
You can also activate "Qoz," a form of currency that accumulates as you search. Qoz accumulations convert into donations to charitable causes at the end of each month, a nice side effect of using Qwant.
All of these features beg the question: how can Qwant implement these features while also respecting your privacy? As for the Qoz feature, Qwant says they don't track what you search for, only the number of times you search. For some people, this amount of tracking is enough to make them use this feature. Fortunately, you can disable Qoz if you don't like the idea of your searches being counted.
However, if you don't mind a little extra tracking for more features, Qwant fills a niche without selling your details. This makes Qwant a great “halfway point” between a simple, privacy-respecting search engine and a luxurious, powerful, yet financially driven one.
Mojeek Private Search Engines
You may have noticed a pattern with search engines before, where they relied on other, more powerful search engines to get results. If this is a big deal for you, you might prefer a search engine that generates its own results.
This is what Mojeek, a UK-based search engine, does. Instead of using someone else's search engine, Mojeek uses their own to ensure that your privacy is respected. As a result, the search results you get will not be perfect. After all, Mojeek has to keep up with the competition that has been around for years!
Nonetheless, Mojeek is the best private web search engine for results not influenced by larger companies. Mojeek themselves call their search results “independent and impartial,” which should resonate with people who don't want big companies to sculpt their browsing experience.
So those are the 5 best Private Search Engines that you can use, if you prioritize privacy. You will be happy to know that there are many search engines that respect your personal data. Not only that, but they each bring something new to the table, which means there's a search engine out there for everyone's needs.