Search engines

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pbleak

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May 15, 2014
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I've decided to start doing some small write-ups on privacy tools (many derived from prism-break, but also covering some programs they exclude).

I'll begin with search engines. Prism-Break (hereafter PB) recommend eight search-engines. Many of these, e.g. YaCy or unbubble, remain relatively weak in terms of google-style results which I consider the gold-standard. The best alternatives are, I believe, DuckDuckGo (https://duckduckgo.com/) and Startpage (https://startpage.com/). The former shows immense promise, but the search results may feel a little 'off' to users accustomed to Google. It can take a little while to get used to this alteration. You will notice a distinct 'outside the bubble' feeling to it. It also exists on Tor which is a clear bonus: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

Startpage is the closest we have to a Google-clone. Results are anonymous and you can use a proxy during your searches (on top, of course, of your own VPN/Tor). If you wish to customise the page you will need to maintain a 'bubble' that identifies you such that you can change settings. If you do not want this it will simply not happen once you are using a VPN. I recommend Startpage *despite* it being hosted in the US/Netherlands since it is the closest we have to have a solid anonymous Google-clone out there. Results from Startpage will feel natural to a Google user albeit it sometimes tends to limit one to a single page of results which can be frustrating.

Make sure to add both to your list of search engines in the browser bar. Ask Firefox not to update your search engines and *remove* all of the previous ones (e.g. Google).

I am open to suggestions to be added here.
 

jpr

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May 11, 2014
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Results from Startpage will feel natural to a Google user albeit it sometimes tends to limit one to a single page of results which can be frustrating.
I can't remember going to the 2nd page of search results, ever :D
 
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pbleak

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Ha yes, it only becomes an issue in research. 99% of people will never worry about this ;)
 

fernando

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Ha yes, it only becomes an issue in research. 99% of people will never worry about this ;)
But if the search engine is worse you'll find yourself going to the second page more often. I've tried to use duckduckgo.com regularly several times because they don't keep any log, but I just don't get used... Unfortunately, I think that all that log keeping and data accumulation allows google to be much better than all the alternatives. I'll give a go to startpage.com though. Thanks for the recommendation.
 

pbleak

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Startpage is just google with a privacy wrapper on top. Duckduckgo is frustrating as hell. I agree on that.
 

strix

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DDG can be annoying, but I try to use them 1st, just as a show of support, to give them volume. Startpage is the default in tails, which speaks well of it, but one page is intolerable. When doing research I try and start my searches low enough down the list so that relevance falls to about 50%. Few humans waste time there so thats where the gold is.
 

michaeltim

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Nov 14, 2017
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Yandex and duckduckgo are good alternatives to google but the problem I have found in them is that they serve limited results, sometimes all useless.
 

Brokens

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As I use Tor browser my search is done using DucDuckGo. And it's much more better than Google, etc. It doesn't collect my history and as a result there's no tons of ads according to my search history. A very good replacement for Google search.
 
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Robinst

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Yandex and duckduckgo are good alternatives to google but the problem I have found in them is that they serve limited results, sometimes all useless.
Really? Didn't check that point. Don't like Yandex and as for duckduckgo I never experienced any problems with search.
 

riverbill

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If you are using Blockada, you can notice that every time you start DDG they place an "improve.duckduckgo.com" on your device. I'm using a VPN with SOCKS5 on Mozilla and search with Startpage. Try that.
 
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