Chrome calls it Incognito Mode. In Firefox and Safari it’s Private Browsing, while IE labels it InPrivate. It’s easy to be fooled that your activity is fully hidden when such options are enabled in your browser, but in reality the security changes occur on your end (regarding cookies, history, etc.), while data is still collected by the sites you visit.
The most reliable way to stop search engines such as Google, Bing, Facebook and Yahoo from tracking your usage is to stop using their service altogether.
Undoubtedly private search engines that promise better security have other shortcomings. Say goodbye to a personalized experience based on past activity, plus the ability to login and customize settings for future visits. Of course Google will always be ten steps ahead in terms of their search algorithms. But if beefed-up privacy is what you need it’s a small price to pay, and by sticking with a major search engine for usage you don’t mind being public, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Likely many of these names will be new to you. Maybe it’s about time more users open their minds about search engines and give the small guys a chance.
Not tracking their customers’ usage in any way is DuckDuckGo’s calling card. The emerging search engine doesn’t collect your data, store it, or share it. As advertisers are notorious for using data collected from searches, this also means you won’t have to look at annoying ads for the electric lawnmower you just researched two minutes ago.
It’s a “computational knowledge engine,” and if that means nothing to you, it pulls from a massive database of knowledge and does its best to tailor that data based on your search. So rather than asking Web pages for the answers, WolframAlpha is a solution in itself. No, it won’t replace a traditional search engine for everything, but it sure beats Encyclopedia Britannica.
3. Startpage (by Ixquick)
Startpage trumpets itself as “the world’s most private search engine.” It takes advantage of Google search technology while tossing out the company’s privacy rulebook. There is also a proxy feature to increase anonymity even more; by enabling it none of the sites you visit can see your IP.
With Yippy you can filter out results that aren’t relevant to your interests by selecting categories, using tag clouds, and sources. This may be a breath of fresh air for users that are tired of sites attempting to guess what you want all the time rather than just asking.
Yippy doesn’t track searches and doesn’t display customized ads either.
Grossbay A. G., the Swiss-based software company behind Hulbee, utilizes a data cloud for a more intuitive connection to information and for quicker load times. It manages to provide intelligent, relevant results without probing its users.
By encrypting searches Hulbee protects you against third party attacks and data leaks. It doesn’t leave any tracks when you search on the site: topics, IP addresses and personal information are not stored. And for those put off by the gutter of the Web that can sometimes show its face at inappropriate times, it’s family friendly too.
6. Disconnect Search
With a little help from DuckDuckGo, plus the giants at Bing and Yahoo, Disconnect Search piggybacks on great existing search technology but doesn’t record your IP or your history.
For higher levels of security Pro (blocks trackers and malware) and Premium (masks location, IP with a VPN) services are also offered.
This one is simple: it’s Google, but with a proxy server added to the chain to hide your identity. Lukol keeps tabs on fraudsters and shady sites, safeguarding you from attacks you might not see coming.
Visual learners will appreciate that results have images pulled from corresponding Web pages next to links.
Privacy comes naturally to this German outfit; every search is completed with respect for your privacy. They don’t save your IP, and the fingerprint of your browser. Cookies aren’t used nor are tracking pixels. Data is encrypted though the HTTPS protocol so your ISP can’t see your searches either.
Options to browse with a proxy or through the anonymous TOR network are available to those willing to put in the effort.