More than two-thirds of websites out there contain hidden Google trackers, and one quarter have hidden Facebook trackers. Almost everything we do online (and offline for that matter) is being tracked, stored and processed by algorithms.
Good news! With increased surveillance, security breaches, and poor privacy practices, companies that don’t track you are making waves. And more and more people review privacy policies and expect answers from the companies they choose.
Search engines that don’t track you
When it comes to search engines, users are especially sensitive to tracking. In a recent survey, 84% of Vivaldi users told us that the privacy reputation of a search engine is important to them. After all, search engines have access to a lot of revealing private information – your search history. A search engine that doesn’t track you will not collect any user data. Alternatively, it will anonymize your searches shortly after they are completed.
Users are also alarmed by search engines bringing up biased search results. In the same survey, 82% of Vivaldi users said that they look for neutrality of search results when they pick a search engine. When you are tracked and your data is fed to algorithms to create a profile to sell to advertisers, eventually algorithms become biased and show you search results that aren’t objective. They show you what they think you are most likely to click on. Eventually, they put you in a bubble by showing you only things you agree with. This can even be used to gain political influence.
The good news is that search engines that don’t track you are gaining popularity. Here are three of them.
DuckDuckGo – focus on privacy
DuckDuckGo doesn’t track or store any personal information on its users. They don’t follow you around with ads either.
Because DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect user data, it doesn’t base the results it returns on what they believe each user would like to see. If two people search with DuckDuckGo for the same term, they will get the same non-biased result. This is what neutrality of search results is about.
In 2018, Vivaldi became the first browser to enable a default Private Search and to allow users to set a default search engine – DuckDuckGo – exclusively for Private Window browsing. When you search using our Private Window, your search history is not tracked, and for any websites you visit, cookies and temporary files will not be stored by Vivaldi.
StartPage – anonymized tracking of user behavior
StartPage is focused on users’ privacy but in a slightly different way. StartPage utilize Google’s search engine but anonymize tracking of user behavior. This means that users get the search results, without the search engine sending any personal information to Google’s servers.
StartPage also doesn’t filter results based on past searches and online services used, so you’re bound to get neutral search results. StartPage has a third-party privacy certification by EuroPriSe.
Ecosia – the search engine that protects your privacy and forests
“Forests need protecting and so does your privacy. We make sure to do both.” reads the slogan on Ecosia’s page. Ecosia doesn’t create personal profiles based on search history, and all searches get anonymized within one week. They don’t sell user data or searches to advertising companies and don’t use third-party trackers such as Google Analytics.
On top of that, the eco-conscious users can search and plant trees in the world’s most environmentally threatened areas. Ecosia donates 80% of its profits from search ad revenue to support tree planting programs around the world.
Vivaldi has been partnering with Ecosia since 2017. Since then, our users have planted an astonishing 150K trees! And the tree count is rising every day.
Your choice of search engine matters
Choosing your search engine should not be taken lightly. You can protect your private data such as search history by using search engines that don’t track you.
Over to you now. Which search engines do you use? Are you concerned about privacy online or getting siloed? Let us know in the comments!