Mainstream search engines are the go-to for the vast majority of internet users. Most users are not making a conscious choice, but simply using them from habit and convenience.
Companies like Yahoo and Google have built empires off of consumer compliance regarding privacy issues.
Internet users are slowly becoming more and more aware of the options they have. They are exercising their free-market power by choosing private search engines.
The reasons to re-think the use of mainstream search engines:
- They store a massive amount of personal data.
- There is no oversight on how this data is sold or used.
- They are actively working to defeat privacy initiatives.
- They are quietly promoting censorship.
These are things most of us do not think about when we simply want to look-up a recipe or a news story. However, the overreach has been growing unchecked for too long.
If these things concern you, then you may want to consider alternatives to the mainstream search engines.
Private search engines with a safe search feature. Hotbot does not store user information. Without targeting advertising, the interface is clean and uncluttered. This makes it easier to search through content without the distraction of advertising.
A custom URL generator removes the need for cookies, meaning you leave almost no footprint while searching. No details, including your IP address, are stored. You also have the option of setting your own theme.
DuckDuckGo is quickly becoming one of the most well-known of private search engines. DuckDuckGo uses a wide variety of sources and returns search results on par with the larger search engines. They also strive to make sure users know that they store zero user data.
SearX focuses on unbiased results that are not artificially manipulated. It offers multiple options to improve search results and complete privacy in browsing. The company’s passion is making the internet decentralized and free. SearX is highly customizable and can even be used as a metasearch engine on your own server.
There are dozens of free private search engines. Many offer results that mirror those you get with the larger search engines. So, why do we continue to search the web using companies that are compiling our personal information and selling it for profit?
There are a few states that are taking these concerns over big data to the regulatory level. Until there is accountability for who is accessing your data, consider staying away from each of the mainstream search engines. They all store and sell your private information.
Using the most significant search engines, you are allowing these companies to profile a so-called “knowledge bank.” No one is transparent in what all types of information these “banks” contain. There is no regulation on how that information is protected or stored.
Take a step back and reclaim your right to keep or share your data at your own discretion. Choosing a better search engine is only a small step but it is an important one.