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Why you should avoid using search engines that collect data

by on February 14, 2020 in Business, Digital Marketing, Latest News, Lead Article, Mobile/Tablet, News you can use, Nuggets, Search Marketing, Small Business, Startups

Why you should avoid using search engines that collect data

In today’s search engine-dominated landscape where you may make crucial life decisions based on nothing but a search, you should probably feel more protective of the sensitive data that you input into those searches.

Many search engines like Google collect and use everything that you type into them for use by data collection and ad agencies that send you personalized offers and ads and track your location. We all just hope that they don’t sell our information for a worse purpose.

Instead of hoping, finding an alternative search engine to Google is becoming more of a necessity. Here’s why you should avoid data collection and a few of the options to search online more safely.

StartPage

Like many of the search engines in this list, StartPage provides its users with a proxy server to ensure that searches remain completely anonymous. It also generates its web address in such a way that makes cookies unnecessary, so you don’t have to worry about being tracked by your history or settings.

Those looking to avoid tracking specifically may find that StartPage is a clean, serviceable Google alternative that doesn’t slow up your computer or collect your data.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo has been a lot of people’s go-to alternative to Google for a long time. It’s one of the most extensive private search engines you can use, featuring a compiled results page from other sites and a lot of promises that it will keep your data safe.

Though it doesn’t gather data from your IP address or track you, DuckDuckGo does make money from ads in its search results. These results are based on site-wide data, however, so you don’t have to worry about personalized ad campaigns or aggressive data mining.

Swisscows

Swisscows offers many of the same promises as other search engines on this list, including the promise that it won’t store your searches, personal data, or IP address. Being located in Switzerland is also a plus for those looking for a more privacy-focused experience since Switzerland has some of the most comprehensive privacy laws in the world.

One unique feature of Swisscows is that it automatically censors adult content from its searches, making this an ideal option for parents who want to limit their children’s exposure to certain content.

Hot.com

Hot.com gives people the content they’re looking for with no censorship while providing just as private an experience. Those who use Hot.com appreciate its promise to leave their data alone.

Searches stay private between you and the website, so you can search with a little peace of mind knowing that nothing will go further than the search bar.

searX

SearX makes privacy its number one concern and says so right on the homepage: “Search without being tracked.” It eliminates all the location-tracking cookies and personal data collection while giving you a versatile search engine experience with some unique features.

The big one is that since searX runs on open source code, you can download it and edit the engine yourself to optimize your privacy experience.

Conclusion

Your data is probably being collected without your knowledge. This may not seem important when it’s data on your new drapes, but for those who search for loans and jobs online, who calculate their taxes and income in Google search bars, this can be a much bigger deal.

Recently, I was given an ad for a job based on my search preferences that turned out to be an elaborate scam. Thankfully, I realized this before I gave them anything too private, but it’s still scary.

To avoid the data collection and location tracking practices of major search engines like Google, these and other alternatives may have what you’re searching for without the downsides. 

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