CHOICE membership

Better web search

We offer some tips to improve your ability to find information online, some search engine alternatives to Google and some advice to help keep your privacy intact.

We’d love to hear your tips on better web searching, share them below.

4 Likes

I use Startpage/Ixquick (same company just different engines) for my search engines. It gives google results but does it by stripping all identifying data from the query and then submitting it by the POST method rather than the GET method if searched from https://startpage.com or https://eu.startpage.com/ which avoids using the Google US engine or if you prefer an Australian lean to results then https:/startpage.com/au/.

If you don’t want to use Google results at all then use their ixquick engine at https://ixquick.eu which is the same as startpage in it’s anonymity but is a meta-search engine like DuckDuckGo.

Some useful excepts from their information is below:

"What is the difference between StartPage, Ixquick, and related search engines?
Last modified on 25 April 2017 01:30 AM

Surfboard Holding B.V. maintains five search engine sites, all of which retrieve results for you anonymously:

StartPage.com and Ixquick.com - Both StartPage (startpage.com) and StartPage by Ixquick (ixquick.com) provide anonymous search results, enhanced by Google.

StartPage.info and Ixquick.info - Provide a “family friendly” search experience. The family-friendly results setting is permanently enabled, and the Proxy feature is not available. More information can be found here.

Ixquick.eu - Results are provided by a variety of search engines. Google and Yahoo results are not used. You can find more information in this Support Center article.

All of these sites share the same anonymity and privacy protections."

"Do you share my IP address with Google?
Last modified on 19 January 2017 05:15 PM

No. StartPage is an independent company, separate from Google. We do not share your IP address with Google or with any provider of sponsored search results or ads.

StartPage acts as an intermediary between you and Google. StartPage submits your query to Google anonymously, then returns Google results to you privately. Google does not know who made the search request; they only see StartPage.

Since Google never sees your IP address or interacts with your web browser, you do not receive tracking cookies from Google. What’s more, since Google can’t determine your interests based on your past search history, you receive standard search results rather than Google’s “personalized” results.

When you click on a result, organic or commercial, you leave the protection of StartPage and establish a direct connection with the the site you are visiting and/or with the sponsored result provider. We offer a “Proxy” feature to preview a site before doing so. Viewing a site through our proxy preserves your anonymity by preventing a direct connection from being established between you and the third-party site.

We display advertisements at the top of most results pages in order to keep our business viable and cover the substantial costs associated with providing our service. To enable the prevention of click fraud, we receive and proxy certain browser characteristics that could indicate bulk, non-human querying, but alter some and omit others before proxying to ad providers (like Google) in order to protect your privacy and prevent browser fingerprinting, while simultaneously interfering with ad scrapers. This privacy architecture is the result of extensive engineering focused on safeguarding our users’ privacy.

We never record your visits, your searches, or your IP address, and we do not use tracking cookies. Any ads that appear on StartPage are generated solely from the search term you entered. Ads are not customized for the person entering the search nor do they reflect your prior search or browsing history, since we never access or store that information."

For further reading on startpage/ixquicks policies please visit

https://www.startpage.com/eng/protect-privacy-qa.html#hmb

https://www.startpage.com/eng/privacy-policy.html#hmb

For more on how to search visit

https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/177/0/how-can-i-get-search-results-tailored-for-my-country

https://www.startpage.com/eng/power-search-techniques.html

https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/1/searching-tips

https://support.ixquick.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/288/0/which-search-engines-does-ixquickeu-use

6 Likes

I use Google Apps and log in, so some of what I do is already cross referenced. I also use pi-hole, which by it’s nature does a good job of stopping many advertising reference connections ever taking place, but not all of course. It adds a little more confidence when these privacy advocating service providers are in countries with less oversight (I see startpage is) but I still don’t really trust them, and the people who really want your personal details will always get them if they want them bad enough - but I know this kind of thing is just to limit commercial harvesting of same.

From the Choice article I had a chuckle at this one:

Bing: Microsoft’s answer to Google. The two search engines are on par in terms of features, but it’s always worth supporting the underdog. And what a fascinating world it is where Microsoft is now the underdog.

… and here was I thinking when you have waited years to see the slaying of the dragon why show mercy when you can finish him off?

Of course there are other dragons … Alphabet Inc (https://abc.xyz/) possibly one of them :wink:

3 Likes

I use Ecosia as my search engine. They use their profits to plant trees!

You can simply bookmark their page to use as a search engine, or fully integrate it into your browser by downloading the application. It is seemless and piggybacks off of Google’s search engine, so the results are still good.

2 Likes

I’ve noticed recently a repeated prompt at the screen bottom from Google by post code and asking about location settings. Got me wondering about Search engines more generally?

Firstly, this Location stuff. I didn’t and don’t like the big brother feel of Google telling my post code! I use Direction map feature so guess it has come from that!

I want to control my searching eg, on some occasions, Perth, WA, Australia, USA, UK, Europe, the globe. I’m concerned about tools taking on that decision making for me?

Is Google still the best option?

1 Like

Try DuckDuckGo for search, and use the Firefox browser. You can also set Firefox to encrypt DNS queries if you are prepared to go full nerd.

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What is the benefit of that?

Your standard Domain Name System (DNS) provider is your ISP. DNS is used to tell your browser where on the internet - and on what physical server - a particular website can be found. That means a DNS server knows every place you visit.

Your ISP already knows every place you visit because it has to send traffic between you and that server, but it is able to collect less information as long as:

  1. You use encrypted DNS; and
  2. The website you visit is encrypted.

So it knows you are visiting Wikipedia, but not which page.

If you want to entirely prevent your ISP from knowing which websites you are visiting, you also need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

This article tells you a little more about one version of encrypted DNS (the version that appears to be likely to become standard), and its benefits.

2 Likes

I love Duck Duck Go - it is the “ducks guts” for me when it comes to privacy! :wink:

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Duckduckgo for me too, and sometimes the DDG browser.

2 Likes