Google Search, the world’s most popular search engine, collects information about everything you search for. This data is then combined with the trove of other data Google collects about you via its other products and services and third-party apps and websites that contain Google tracking to build a detailed profile of your online activity.
Not only is this data used to build an advertising profile but in some instances, Google hands over users’ data to law enforcement based on the terms they searched for.
In addition to the privacy concerns, Google heavily editorializes its search results by shadowbanning and suppressing some stories, letting one perspective dominate the search results for some topics, and “fact-checking” its search results. It has also been accused of boosting certain outlets in its search results, maintaining search blacklists, and censoring some of its autosuggest results.
If you’re tired of Google’s mass data collection and editorialization of its search results, consider one of these private search engines. Some collect no personal data at all while others collect a minimal amount to return their search results.
Studies on some of these private search engines have also shown that their auto-complete suggestions and the domains that appear in their search results are far more diverse than those offered by Google.
Take a look at the private search engines below and tell your friends and family to start using them instead of Google Search.
The most popular Google Search alternative which has been growing consistently for years and is used to conduct billions of searches per day.
DuckDuckGo is based in the US and vows to never collect, store, or share any of your personal information. It does save searches but claims that these are saved in a non-personally identifiable way because it doesn’t store user Internet Protocol (IP) addresses or unique user agent strings. The company says this non-personal search data is used “to improve things like misspellings.”
One of the most unique aspects of DuckDuckGo is its “bangs” search shortcuts. These bangs let you quickly navigate to search results on tens of thousands of specific sites including Reddit, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Wolfram Alpha.
It also has plenty of search filters that let you filter your search results by format (image, video, news, etc), date, country, and more. There are also additional filters for images and videos that make it easy to filter these results by more specific parameters.
Other features include search result knowledge panels, a recent news shelf, a video shelf, quick links to related searches, and custom display options (such as dark mode and custom font sizes).
DuckDuckGo has a desktop browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Safari, mobile apps for Android and iOS, and has partnered directly with the Vivaldi browser.
An open-source, metasearch engine that aggregates results from multiple search engines while not storing information about its users.
Searx protects your privacy by mixing your queries with searches on other platforms without storing search data. It also doesn’t store user IP addresses.
A standout feature is the ability to pick the data sources you want to be included in your search results. More than 100 data sources are available in categories such as general, files, images, information technology (IT), maps, music, news, science, social media, and video.
You can customize the look and feel of Searx by selecting your preferred language, autocomplete source, theme, and more.
Since it’s open-source, you can host your own Searx instance. Alternatively, you can use one of the many public instances that are listed on the Searx website.
A UK based search engine that’s private, unbiased, and hosted from the UK’s greenest data center.
Mojeek was the first privacy-oriented search engine with a no tracking policy which it introduced in 2006. To maintain user privacy, it promises no tracking or profiling of your search history, IP address, or click data. It doesn’t place any cookies by default and if cookies are required to provide services, such as setting your personal preferences, Mojeek will ask for your consent. Additionally, it has a specific page that shows you any active cookies and makes it easy to delete them.
The only data Mojeek stores is aggregate non-personal search data and anonymous logs which contain time of visit, page requested, a two-letter code that indicates the country of origin, and possibly referral data.
It has a huge index of almost four billion pages which helps it provide independent, bias-free results. Mojeek says its algorithm doesn’t support any particular view and ranks pages based on their relevancy to the search term.
Search results can be filtered by organized into web, images, and news categories and filtered by region. Mojeek also has extensive search settings options that let you set the number of results per domain, set ranking preferences (that take into account when a page was last modified or crawled), and more.
Mobile apps that make it easy to search via Mojeek are available for both Android and iOS.
A private search engine that’s been active for more than a decade and has a US founder.
Gibiru’s mission is to provide its users with “access to information outside of Big Tech’s censorship bubble and do so privately.”
To provide access to information that’s usually censored by Big Tech, Gibiru has two sets of results – “All Results” and “Censored Content.”
All Results displays a set of results similar to those on other search engines while Censored Content displays an alternative set of results that don’t rank highly for the term in Google Search and is used
Gibiru results can be filtered by web, images, videos, and news. For video results, you can also rank the results by upload date and length and filter the results by specific video lengths.
A private search engine with no analytics, no cookies, no IP logging, and no user agent logging. Search queries are temporarily cached but not stored permanently.
Peekier’s name is derived from the way it lets you privately peek at the pages listed in search results before visiting the site. It does this by generating a preview on its servers and then sending it to your browser as an image. Since Peekier renders this preview, any tracking analytics or cookies are stripped out before you view it.
Additionally, Peekier automatically upgrades unencrypted (HTTP) links in its search results to an encrypted (HTTPS) connection where possible.
It has a unique visual grid layout that lets you display results and image previews with a density of two, three, or four results per line. Other features include the ability to toggle autosuggestions, image preview quality, and video link embeds (note: if you enable video link embeds, Peekier won’t be able to block any associated analytics, cookies, or tracking features from the video provider).
A private, decentralized, blockchain-powered search engine that’s based in Canada and has an integrated cryptocurrency.
Presearch’s search indexes are built and hosted by a decentralized network of node operators. Search queries are sent to a node gateway server that anonymizes the search query (by removing the user’s IP address, device information, and any tracking codes) and passed to a node which completes the search and passes the results back to the gateway which creates a result set for the user.
Node operators and users are rewarded with the integrated PRE cryptocurrency while advertisers can stake PRE tokens to display their ads against specific keywords.
While searches are anonymized, Presearch may collect your IP address and information about your device, browser, type, and operating system. Additionally, to receive cryptocurrency rewards, you’ll need to create a user account and search while signed in which may lead to the collection of information such as location and time of last search.
Presearch’s features include search result knowledge panels, a news shelf, a video shelf, quick links to related articles and related searches, and a quick link for sharing your search results.
Results can be filtered to display just images, videos, or news. Presearch also has quick links for conducting your search via other sites.
It has a mobile browser app for Android and desktop browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox that set Presearch as the default search engine and start page.
An open-source search engine that’s based in Germany, operated by the SUMA-EV–Association for Free Access to Knowledge, and 100% powered by renewable energy.
The search engine pulls results from the Scopia crawler and other search engines such as Bing. Every result tells you which search engine it was sourced from and gives you the option to open the result anonymously via a proxy server that doesn’t transfer your data to the destination page.
It has quick links that let you hide results from specific domains and search specific domains. You can also filter the results by date, language, and format. Image results have more specific filters that help you find images based on color, layout, size, and more.
MetaGer does store timestamped IP addresses of its users for up to 96 hours and search queries and search results for a few hours. It also stores anonymized data about search settings. Additionally, it shares truncated IP addresses and partial user agent data with advertisers.
If you want to maximize your privacy when accessing MetaGer, it does host a .onion site that can be accessed via the Tor network.