Scroogle Closes Doors - Where Next for Private Search?
As reported by BetaBeat and other sources, the public's desire for greater privacy when performing search engine queries took another blow yesterday when Daniel Brandt, owner of the non-profit search engine Scroogle, announced that his website would be taken down and "gone forever" due to a number of crippling DDOS attacks and relentless pressure from Google.
The news comes in the immediate wake of a survey showing that most search engine users dislike personalized search results, or are at least concerned with their privacy implications.
Daniel Brandt's announcement leaves website owners and internet users wondering the following question: what other private search engine options exist?
DuckDuckGo recently made headlines for surpassing one million queries per day after struggling to gain much attention for a couple of years. One thing that apparently hasn't changed about DuckDuckGo, however, is its attitude toward privacy.
According to the site's privacy page, DuckDuckGo never collects personal information, period. The privacy page goes on to explain "why you should care" in plain terms, citing examples of how "other search engines" mess with your privacy.
Yippy is another search engine that specifically focuses on privacy. According to its privacy statement, Yippy does not "track your activity on our platform, store your history in our browser, monitor or record your searches, store copies of your email, or collect any more personal information than you volunteer." Yippy also maintains that it won't "sell your personal information to advertisers," though it's unclear as to what personal information they'd have in the first place.
Unfortunately, Yippy notes that "minimal tracking" may be used on international users, but the specifics apparently vary by country. The site also bills itself as a "family-friendly platform" and hides "unseemly elements of the web," which could be a benefit or a limitation depending on your attitude toward censorship and your specific needs.
Some users want to get the exact same results they'd get with Google, without jumping through the search giant's privacy hoops and hoping they can keep up with changing privacy agreements. Startpage, a site that works in a similar fashion to Scroogle, is the answer.
Startpage takes a unique approach to privacy by acting as a filter. When you enter a search term, Startpage scrubs the query of any personal identifiers and sends it to Google anonymously. Startpage says that it never records IP addresses, logs visits or installs tracking cookies into your browser.