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7 Search Engines That Don’t Track You

Most of the popular search engines track and gather your personal identifying information. The thing is, you don’t want others to know everything about you. Consider the following search engines that don't track you.

Using search engines has long been a staple of everyday use; it is difficult to imagine life without them. After all, they make life easier by giving you a speedy means to access a treasure of information. Google is a household name and has dominated the search engine market for ages. However, you do not get much privacy with Google

If you are uncomfortable with this lack of privacy you have with the popular search engines, you can consider the following seven search engines that don’t track you: 

1. DuckDuckGo

Duckduckgo

Hailing from the US, DuckDuckGo sports a clean and user-friendly interface similar to Google. As such, you will find using DuckDuckGo easy and familiar. It is a free and popular alternative to Google for those who want a private search engine. DuckDuckGo obtains its search results from more than 400 sources, including crowd-sourced sites, Bing, and others.

Why DuckDuckGo?

Aside from offering a clean and good user experience, DuckDuckGo does not track and build a user profile on you. Hence, no targeted and intrusive ads. Furthermore, their search results come from over 400 sources that do not include Google. You are pretty much covered.

Key Features

DuckDuckGo does not track your online searches or clicks. Also, it does not create and store user profiles, so whoever searches for the same thing on DuckDuckGo will always see the same search results. Any information shared with their partners comes from DuckDuckGo and never from the end-user; your anonymity is safe. 

As their privacy policy goes, DuckDuckGo never knows you since they do not store your personally identifiable data. They only collect a minimum of aggregate data that cannot tie back to the user.

DuckDuckGo earns via targeted ads and affiliate commissions (Amazon and eBay affiliate programs); the ads are based on your word searches and not as intrusive as Google.

Pros of DuckDuckGo

  • No tracking and monitoring
  • No user profiles
  • No personalized searches 
  • Ads based on your word searches

Cons of DuckDuckGo

  • Search results include Bing, which sometimes are unreliable

Visit DuckDuckGo

2. Qwant

Qwant

Originating from France, Qwant is a free privacy-centric search engine. Like DuckDuckGo, Qwant features a clean and aesthetically-pleasing user interface. You can filter your results by the most current. It also looks similar to that of Google. Qwant abides by the General Data Protection Regulation, which protects your user rights.    

Why Qwant?

Qwant strictly adheres to its no-tracking and no-collecting data policy. There are no behavioral-targeting ads because no user profiles are created and stored. Also, your data is pseudonymized to preserve anonymity. Qwant Junior makes the internet a safer place to surf for the younger generation.

Key Features

Qwant is available in 26 languages. You can select the search region to determine the interface language and location of the search results. Qwant does not track and collect your personal information; no user profiles are stored. Hence, each search is a brand new search and not impacted by previous searches (unfiltered view of your search results). 

Qwant does not use advertising cookies or ad tracking technologies. The ads link to your search keywords, and no personal information goes to third parties. Although Qwant receives your IP address and browser information, they remove any unique identifiers from your data and pseudonymize it to maintain user privacy. Additionally, they do not store your search history. 

There is also Qwant Junior, a safe and educational search engine for children from six to twelve years old. As parents, you can rest easy as your kids are safe on the internet. 

Pros of Qwant

  • No tracking and monitoring
  • No user profiles
  • No personalized searches
  • Ads based on your word searches
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Data pseudonymization
  • Qwant Junior

Cons of Qwant

  • Local search results may be inaccurate

Visit Qwant

3. Startpage

Startpage

From the Netherlands, Startpage is a free search engine that sports a user interface close to Google but with fewer options available. Startpage adheres to the Dutch and EU privacy laws, including the GDPR. As such, this safeguards your user rights.

Why Startpage?

If you are a fan of Google and yet are uncomfortable with being tracked, Startpage is a solid choice because Startpage delivers Google search results while maintaining anonymity. You are not tracked, and your information is not collected and stored. The Anonymous View function certainly is the icing on the cake. 

They abide by the Dutch and EU privacy regulations. Also, Startpage empowers you to customize your search results. 

Key Features

Although Startpage delivers your search results by tapping into Google’s search index database, each search on Startpage is via their proprietary personal data protection technology. Startpage merely functions as an intermediary between you as the user and Google. All your queries are submitted to Google anonymously, and any results are returned privately. 

There are no personalized search results on Startpage as Startpage does not gather and store your personal information. Startpage does not use cookies except to remember your search preferences, but this is anonymous and expires after 90 days of no activity.

Startpage does not log your search queries. Any data retained are for statistics use and purely anonymous. Although their ads come from Google AdSense, they are based on your search phrases. Anonymous View is Startpage’s proprietary feature that appears next to the search results; this privacy feature functions like a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows you to browse in complete privacy.

Pros of Startpage

  • No tracking and monitoring
  • No user profiles
  • No personalized searches 
  • Ads based on your search phrases
  • Anonymous View 
  • Customisable searches

Cons of Startpage

  • Based in the Netherlands, a Nine Eyes country

Visit Startpage

4. searX

searX

Free and open-source, searX is a metasearch engine to protect users’ privacy. Unlike the others in this list, searX compiles and aggregates the results of around 82 other search engines, including Bing, Google, Yahoo, and others. The user interface is a sleek black background and takes on a user-friendly approach. 

Why searX?

If you are an advanced user, searX could be your choice. It is an effective and speedy search engine that ensures you stay anonymous while browsing. You will not be tracked, and there are no personalized search results. Also, you get to crack your knuckles and heavily customize your searches.

Key Features

searX does not track and log any of your search queries. They also do not build a profile on you, so there are no personalized results. Additionally, they do not store and share your information with third parties.  

Some advanced settings allow you to customize your search by narrowing it down to when you want your search results. searX also features multi-lingual support. At the top, several tabs allow you to filter your searches further.  

For the more tech-savvy users, there is a ‘Preferences’ tab where you can further configure your settings. Overall, searX is fast, and since this is open-source, you will find no ads at the top of your search results page. 

Pros of searX

  • No tracking and monitoring
  • No user profiles
  • No personalized searches 
  • No ads
  • Metasearch engine
  • Customisable searches

Cons of searX

  • Not so suitable for beginners

Visit searX

5. Ecosia

Ecosia

Founded in 2009, Ecosia comes from Germany, and 80% of its profits go to nonprofit reforestation organizations. So, each time you click on their ads contributes to such a noble cause. Ecosia’s search results and ads come from Microsoft Bing. 

Why Ecosia?

Ecosia would appeal to environmental activists and is a decent search engine that safeguards your privacy while giving you the flexibility to personalize your searches should you wish to.

Key Features

Ecosia utilizes Bing’s search technology along with its algorithms. Some ads appear next to the search results, but these come from your search queries. No data is collected permanently, and your search results are not personalized. However, you have the choice to enable the ‘personalized search’ function to improve your search results.

Ecosia gathers data for statistical analysis purposes (user behavior, troubleshooting, and others) to improve its services. They claim to remove all personal information after seven days and create no user profiles. But if you are uncomfortable, you can turn on the “Do Not Track” function in your browser’s settings.

Ecosia does not send any personally identifiable information to its partners. Although Ecosia stores some cookies, these do not tie to any individual. Additionally, your searches are encrypted and safe from prying eyes.

Pros of Ecosia

  • No tracking and monitoring
  • No user profiles
  • Ads based on your search phrases
  • Supports environmental causes

Cons of Ecosia

  • Search results are based on Bing, which can be unreliable

Visit Ecosia

6. Swisscows (formerly Hulbee)

Swisscows

Swisscows, founded in 2014, is a free and Switzerland-based search engine that claims that it is in its DNA to protect the privacy of every user. The interface sports a red background with a clean search box.

The servers belong to them, and their data center is in the Swiss Alps, geographically outside the EU and the US. Swisscows is also not based in one of the Five, Nine, or even the 14 Eyes alliances. They partner with Bing for their search results. 

Why Swisscows?

Swisscows is an effective family-centric search engine safeguarding your privacy when online. The data center outside of the alliances, EU and US certainly entice. 

Key Features

Swisscows claims that you are 100% anonymous with them by anonymizing all search queries after seven days and creating no user profiles. Any data collected is purely to enhance their services. There is no tracking. Swisscows uses no cookies or other tracking tools. Also, they do not sell your data to others. 

Swisscows is also a family-friendly search engine that safeguards younger children by filtering out violent and adult content. They shine in their semantic search function for more precise and faster responses. The proprietary Crawler module helps finetune and analyze information more accurately. 

Although Swisscows works with Bing Ads, any data transferred to them is carefully anonymized. 

Pros of Swisscows

  • No tracking and monitoring
  • No user profiles
  • No personalised searches 
  • Outside alliances, the EU and the US
  • Proprietary Crawler
  • Family-friendly

Cons of Swisscows

  • Search results are based on Bing, which can be unreliable

Visit Swisscows

7. Mojeek

mojeek

Established in 2004, Mojeek hails from the UK. It is a free search engine whose technology belongs to them. However, their servers are partially owned and managed. The interface is clean, with results displayed clearly with easy readability. 

Why Mojeek?

If you are insistent on doing away totally with Google, Mojeek presents a good choice. Its standard private search engine is decent enough to allow you to enjoy an anonymous Internet browsing experience.

Key Features

No doubt one of their key features is that Mojeek does not rely on other mainstream search engines for search results. Instead, Mojeek uses its crawlers to create its index of web pages. Being a strict private search engine, they do not track or use any cookies (without your permission) and logs no personal information. 

Any data kept is for improvement purposes and not personally identifiable. All development is in-house. And as far as ads go, Mojeek offers an advertiser web service where you can set up and run your ads on Mojeek. Your search results are speedy too.

Pros of Mojeek

  • No tracking and monitoring
  • No user profiles
  • No personalized searches 
  • In-house development
  • Uses own index for search results, independent of Google and other search engines
  • Allow you to run ads

Cons of Mojeek

  • Search results may not be as refined as others

Visit Mojeek

Your Privacy with Search Engines

In the past, many used the internet without much thought; they used search engines every day, found what they wanted, and moved on. You can call it ignorance, but whatever it was, online privacy was not at the forefront of the minds of many.

However, times have changed, and many are more aware of privacy-violating tactics deployed by search engines. Google tracks all your online activities and creates a profile on you. While Google justifies doing so to deliver more accurate search results, this act infringes on your privacy. Also, Google reaps massive profit from the ads as they collect data on you. Simply put, you are Google’s actual product. 

Why Should You Use Search Engines that Don’t Track You?

We pour most of our lives into the internet every day. Most of the popular search engines track and gather your personal identifying information. The thing is, you don’t want others to know everything about you. Additionally, lacking privacy online can expose your information to the hands of unscrupulous parties. 

Although there are ways you can limit Google in its endeavor to collect your data, there’s only so much you can do. If you are particular about your privacy online, you should opt for a no-tracking search engine. Using search engines that don’t track you will give you the peace of mind you crave and mitigate data exposure risks. 

Conclusion

Search engines are typically a part of everyday lives. However, the popular ones track you and make money off you. Hence, consider the above private search engines as they do not track and log your personal information. Your browsing becomes confidential and private. 

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