I will refer to Duck Duck Go as DDG for the remainder of the article.
I don’t use social media, yet I constantly hear how I should be using DDG instead of Google. I do not use Google, not because of privacy concerns (there are many), but because they modify results to be “more relevant”. Can they define “more relevant” results? Oh you mean to tell me they show me what the $current_thing to bitch about is, and then cut out any opposing view point except one which happens to just align with every spewing media head and every government opinion. But enough about Google for now.
Everybody searching for a Google replacement was (and still is) told DDG was the best. That they provide results with privacy, without search modification, or bias. However, I remember seeing many websites praising DDG, which made me begin to wonder how a no-name service became so popular so fast. We were seeing many advertisements all over the web, but it wasn’t out of the goodness of their heart. It was all because at the end of the day, it’s not about simply delivering search results, it’s about pushing their view (whether you agree or not) and profiting from it.
We know now that it was a lie. What I am waiting for now, is the proof that they were not so “privacy focused” after all as well. We know they are modifying results exactly like Google.
Fun stuff time…
Oh that’s fun. You get one view point. We have decided it. Enjoy.
So where are people going now? Here are some alternatives that most websites are suggesting.
- Brave (uses own index)
- Startpage (uses googles index)
- Mojeek (uses own index)
- Searx (queries multiple services and uses their indexes)
Brave Search is the world’s most complete, independent, private search engine. By integrating Brave Search into its browser, Brave offers the first all-in-one browser / search alternative to the big tech platforms. Brave Search is available as the default search engine in Brave or most other major browsers, or via search.brave.com.
I am not sure what to think of Brave (the browser) or Brave Search. I have never used either, but since I am writing this article I decided to do some lite research on Brave Search. I’ve read that Brave uses its’ own indexes, and therefor does not rely on Microsoft (Bing) or Google for any results. This should bypass any relevant/non-relevant results depending on how your corporate overlord feels about $current_thing.
Startpage is a privacy-focused search engine that aims to deliver search results that are as good as Google’s without any of the unwanted tracking, third-party cookies or targeted ads.
Again, I have never used Startpage but I have seen posts talking about it. I can say that I have heard about Startpage more-so after the company was acquired by Privacy One Group who in turn is owned by System1. System1 is a “data science” company that specializes in targeted advertising.
In September 2019, Startpage posted an announcement where they explained,
We most recently welcomed Privacy One Group Ltd, a privacy-focused division that is a separate operating unit of System1 LLC, as a significant new shareholder. Surfboard Holding’s founders and management continue to own an important stake in the company and lead its privacy focused-mission.
Hm, no I don’t think I’ll be using Startpage in the future either. It’s not so much the “Businesses and corporations are watching me.” but closer to my idea of “I don’t want to feed this bullshit of a system.”
Startpage pulls its indexes from Google.
I use Mojeek when I find Searx just can’t get enough results or shows me multiple duplicate results as Searx does use other search engines as its’ index. Mojeek maintains its’ own page indexes and crawler which makes it independent of Google, Bing and others.
I don’t see any big issues with Mojeek, maybe somebody can correct me in the comments.
Searx is a metasearch engine that aggregates results from multiple sources and eliminates the tracking. It can be used over the Tor network to also provide search anonymity. Anyone can install and deploy their own Searx instance, either for private use or for everyone to use as a contribution to the community.
Personally, I have been using random public Searx instances. I am aware that the results are being pulled from major search providers (Google, Bing, etc.) but having the ability to choose the engines to use so that I do get unfiltered, unbiased results plus as much privacy as you might expect from using random instances of the software. When I cannot find something, or the results are so fuzzy and duplicated from the indexes pulled, I swap over to Mojeek and try my queries there.
Here is a list of public Searx instances.
There are many other lists of Searx instances but I will let you search for them. You can also use the browser extension “LibRedirect” which you can use as your default search provider, allowing you to use a random Searx instance each time.