The 3 Most Private Search Engines

I was going to write a big long introduction about why you would want your search results to be private, but I honestly don’t think I need to anymore. We’re all aware that the NSA and probably other government agencies are in the habit of collecting both private and public conversations. And we know that massive internet companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others are built on a foundation of advertising, where knowing as much about your potential customer as possible is the name of the game. These days it seems like everybody wants to know as much as everybody else as possible. The expression “Knowledge is Power” has never in human history been more true, and knowledge comes from information.

But as all of these organizations have built themselves around collecting as much information as possible about their customers, a new market segment has emerged that does just the opposite. Here are 3 search engines

Ixquick

First on our list is the strangely named “Ixquick”.

From the Ixquick About page: “Ixquick does not collect or share any personal information! … When you search with Ixquick search engine, you are searching many popular search engines simultaneously and anonymously. Combined, these engines cover more of the Internet than any one search engine alone.”

As it says about, Ixquick pulls search results from many different search engines, combs through the results and then delivers them to you. Since none of your data is ever sent to the search engines it pulls results from, and because Ixquick says it doesn’t collect any customer information, your searches are essentially anonymous. Ixquick also features a integrated phone search feature, image search and video search which is nice to have.

Also useful for privacy conscious web surfers is the built-in “proxy” feature on the search results page. Next to any search result you’ll see the word “Proxy”. Clicking this link will load that search result, but Ixquick will connect to that web server and load the page for you. That way your unique IP address is never sent to the server hosting that website, which is pretty neat.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a search engine focusing on anonymity and user friendliness. Much like Google, Bing, and other modern search engines, typing a question into DuckDuckGo will often give you the answer without having to visit a single search result. DuckDuckGo pulls the information from various sources it’s aware of and tries to compile it in a useful way at the top of the search results page.

So, for example, if I search for “google” on DuckDuckGo, I’m presented with a short introduction about Google, Inc. pulled from the google Wikipedia page, as well as Google’s trading symbol on the NASDAQ, where Google was founded, who founded it, it’s most recent revenue, and number of employees.

Startpage

You might notice that StartPage looks an awful lot like Ixquick. That’s because they’re owned by the same parent company. Both search engines have strong privacy guarantees and both have the proxied browsing feature I mentioned before.

Startpage’s search results are different than Ixquick’s. This is because Startpage pulls its search results directly from Google, and not a collection of search engines. Some people may like this, others may not. It’s really a matter of personal preference. Otherwise Startpage and Ixquick seem to be virtually identical, which isn’t a bad thing.

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