The Best Search Engines That Don’t Track You
y Sidekick Team #CEO
The digital footprint of a modern Internet surfer looks like a carbon footprint of a National Geographic ambassador.
You leave traces around the global Net, while getting new experiences, shopping, planning, communicating, delivering work assignments. No wonder people become woke on the topic of digital emissions — after all, as in every journey, the engine makes all the difference!
Not everyone wishes to actively confront the marketing algorithms of the public Internet and many of us are using its powers to sell stuff. So, it’s pretty normal if you are cool with it.
With this guide, you’ll learn about non-tracking search engines and have more control over your online actions in everyday life.
What is a search engine?
It is a program that reads the user search requests and names of the websites, and connects the user to the relevant content on the World Wide Web. After making the search request, the data used alongside with technical records are kept or deleted, depending on the browser concept.
Is a search engine different from a browser?
Don’t get us wrong, Google is great at searching. That’s what makes it great at selling! The field is full of other searching options though. Some of the most popular are Bing!, Baidu, Google, etc.
Why do search engines track the users?
The overall reason is very open — they want to predict your expectations, serve you better and keep you as a committed user.
At the same time, the currency is your attention and it goes to whoever stakes are the highest. Browsers may sell your personal data to advertisers and you can never be sure of how they use it. If a search engine owns an advertising network, like Google owns Double Click, it will offer you ads that correspond to your search history. Meet targeted ads: once you buy an inflatable T-Rex costume, you’ll enjoy a plethora of dino-related special offers.
In the long run, both your old and new search histories, as well as your OK Google messages, will help to make a consumer profile, matched by ever-evolving algorithms.
How exactly is your search engine tracking you right now?
Every time you get active on the site, make an online purchase or log in, you receive a small piece of code from the site to your browser. This is a normal behavior as long as it is not a third-party cookie, usually left by an advertising service. Other websites, getting those micro-records will combine them and trace all the way you have gone so far.
If you’re customizing the software to your needs, be aware that the settings you apply are another type of valuable profiling info. Your plug-ins, browsers settings, time zone, fonts and many more become a digital package used to identify you until you change the device.
UTM-marks and other goal tracking elements
Some sites want to bring a user to a certain page — in order to sell or identify behavior. To analyze where the traffic came from, they use a long series of keywords, marks and parameters and add them to a regular URL. You can easily recognize them while shopping and following the ad link. This information from your IP address is later analyzed to optimize the ad campaign to better monetize.
How do you make sure a browser and search engine you use are secure and data-safe?
Browsers and search engines that do not track share some common qualities:
- They don’t keep your IP address
- Don’t track your data
- Don’t save your search history
- They share freely their funding sources
- Don’t sell your data to the agencies or marketing research groups
- Are speedier, as they are algorithm-free
- Run an open-source software and the code is available on GitHub
- Keep your search phrase anonymous
- Allow different search modes, e.g. browsing for underage users
- Offer advanced security and encryption assets, etc.
And it’s not the full list — look for more answers in this text.
So, how do you make sure, your browser stands for your interest and not on your way?
If you choose to travel online incognito, here are the chosen no-track search engines that are not too curious about your life.
The browser is made to bring the focus back and has been initially designed for ADHD users, who especially suffer from distraction in work and study. Hence, Sidekick is the best choice for enhanced concentration and effective team work.
Privacy pledge. Sidekick keeps only the trackers that enable you to get to your work faster and blocks everything else. Look how a clear privacy pledge should look like here.
Fingerprint defense. Sidekick randomizes data used by fingerprinting algorithms, so that every request looks like it’s coming from a different browser. It becomes very difficult to trace your visits to different sites and build your behavioral profile. As a result, third parties have a hard time building a device fingerprint on you.
VPN in Sidekick Teams. Virtual Private Network (VPN) conceals your IP address. And Sidekick change the network parameters often, so that tracking you is nearly impossible. This option is available on a subscription mode.
A famous US-based browser solution, DuckDuckGo has been long-valued for its consistent battle with tracking and building its own massive search engine. This search engine serves 10M+ searches a day. Is also available as an extension.
Affiliate ads made explicit. DuckDuckGo displays its affiliate ads in the sidebar, shows ads for Amazon and Ebay as an affiliate partner, and sustains its work with that.
IP-address used to provide local requests. Although the company picks your IP address, it is immediately deleted after they locate your region to actualize search results.
Shortcuts. DuckDuckGo provides you with easy ways to your favorite search areas and introduces an Instant Answers tool, an alternative to Knowledge Graph by Google.
Established in France in 2013, Quant originates from Bing! source engine but tackles it in an elegant way. Index is safe with you.
Quant offers an attractive move — it doesn’t give the indexing function to any search engine but does it itself. THis way it turns any engine into a non tracking search engine. Browser has its own development of OpenStreetMap project and a special Junior edition of its engine, aimed at kids from 6 to 12.
Filters off! Quant doesn’t track browsing or tailor your search results, so you get to see the unexpected amount of unfiltered ads. The drawback is the local results, that sometimes seem irrelevant of the topic. All the filtering power now goes to you: filter the results by various categories news, social, images, videos, music, or boards.
What a brilliant brand integrity — we don’t know much about Gibiru and its private search engine is famous for providing extra anonymity. Gibiru is around since 2008 and is probably the most discrete company of all. It retrieves results from an uncensored index over an encrypted connection.
Free internal VPN service. It is an option for those who cannot or don’t want to pay for VPN servers. Gibiru makes sure your search results are not saved internally and — if you choose to — promotes the suppressed and censored sites up in the list.
Based in Switzerland, this browser avoids all the data-storage legislative requirements from U.S. and E.U. Its configuration filters out the violent content from the search engine, which makes it a family-friendly option. Has its own indexing as well.
Swisscows offers their own semantic technology to choose the best results for the user.
Visual navigation help. They experiment with the visual look of the information and add visual aids to structure complex search results in a hierarchy.
Swisscows Crawler. An internal module helps to analyze the context of your information search to bring more precise results.
Why not just go Incognito?
While specialized browsers build their whole infrastructure around safety, the incognito mode, while used on a popular browser, only erases the browsing history, so that your cat wouldn’t see you plan a holiday away from him. We have a full article on this topic here. They still keep all the data about your websites visits. To totally erase your trace, you would need a solid VPN enabled in your private session.
Well then why not to use VPN alone?
A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your internet connection and can hide your IP address, making it more difficult for websites to track your activity. However, a VPN does not provide the same level of security as a secure browser. A secure browser is specifically designed to protect your privacy and security while browsing the internet. It may have features such as built-in ad-blocking, anti-tracking and anti-phishing, and often use encryption to protect your data.
Additionally, a VPN only encrypts your internet connection, while a secure browser encrypts your entire browsing session, including the data you enter into websites. While using a VPN in conjunction with a secure browser can provide added security, a secure browser alone can provide a high level of protection for your online privacy and security. As an example, check the Sidekick own VPN for regular users.
What happened to Do Not Track standard?
DNT (Do not track) It is a browser setting that can be enabled by users to signal to websites and web services, that they do not want certain information about their online services collected over time. In 2011, Microsoft released the first version of Internet Explorer with a Do Not Track feature. In 2012, the World Wide Web Consortium released the Do Not Track Protocol. In 2015, the Digital Advertising Alliance released the AdChoices program, which allows users to opt out of targeted advertising.
Being more than 10 years old, Do Not Track policy is still in effect in 2023. Technology has ben partly discredited after applied as a default setting to major browsing platforms such as Google and Mozilla. Marketing agencies have voiced their concern that enabling DNT should be a conscious move on the part of the user. Up to now there are no enforceable laws that require websites to set a DNT headline. Websites may not be aware of or ignore the DNT setting and still track users’ activity.
Estimates from 2019 suggest that Google made around $116 billion in global advertising revenue. With these figures on the table, DNT seems to work as both voluntary and performative move, that doesn’t effectively lead to more user security, but may pacify the uneducated users.
Why would they care?
The non-tracking search engine solutions are built by people that value privacy and are supported by the community of contributors. Creators of alternative search engines have seen the shadow part of search marketing. Just like the creator of Sidekick has left his top manager position at Amazon to advance a non-intrusive browser that protects you from digital distractions.
Other benefits of using a search engine that does not track you
There are other attractive features that commercial browsers do not offer as they are too busy tracking your customer behaviors.
Each private browser offers an attractive palette of special skills to help you surf with joy. Some browsers offer smart built-in solutions, like personal knowledge base, glossaries, shopping lists and more. Sidekick interconnects all your web apps and extensions in a single place – so you can deep-focus on your stuff. You should check out their sessions mode – it can solve the thousand-tab problem. Tor is famously private and decentralized and despite being rather slow, it can operate with a USB-drive.
Search engine that doesn’t track allows users to deeply modify their search experience. Productivity-centered browsers may have their own reader mode, which makes a text easy to absorb.
Is it really an issue?
So many devices already track our lives. Buzzing alarms from your furniture, literally your fridge and your car thermometer – everything around screams for your attention. Well, the tracked vs. untracked search engine looks like a minor concern. Now the agencies know my favorite ketchup, so what.
On an emotional note, let me say this:
a regular browser involves you into a deal that you didn’t sign up for – it allows an infinite access to information in return for your profile and attention.
A non-tracking browser offers a fair and respectful interaction, by cutting the information of both parties in a smart way. This saves your energy and money and puts your priorities upfront. This is a call for action if you haven’t yet considered using an untracked search engine: Sidekick has a distilled set of features to save your online activities from being an open book.
Search engines provoke a lasting impact from tracking people’s info.
When it comes to the online world, getting bombarded with ads can be really annoying! Plus, companies can end up collecting and storing a bunch of your personal information, which is a major security risk. It could even lead to identity theft and other cybercrimes. Even though people might feel comfortable with certain brands, they need to be careful that they’re not being taken advantage of by those companies.
Gradually user silent cooperation, provokes massive behavior changes. More optimization also leads to less diversity and more addictive behavior. I mean, your ketchup choice may change, and you won’t be a true master of that decision. This is exactly what Sidekick won’t do to you. The tracking strategies are not part of its ecosystem.
Check this new experience with Sidekick!