Everyone knows what a web search engine lets you do – you can type in search terms, and it will give you links to webpages that match those search terms. Some search engines doesn’t value your privacy, and will show you “personalised” results that are customized to you based on your search history, leading to a ‘filter bubble’ effect. They guess what you want to see based on your behaviour and personal information.
Others may re-rank pages, giving preference to their own or their partners’ services and products.
These are some of the reasons why private search engines are rising in popularity.
Firstly, it doesn’t save your search history, and it doesn’t match the searches you make to your computer or phone. Private search engines don’t set cookies to track your footsteps across the web, so they can’t build a profile on you.
That means you won’t see ads or webpage results that are based on the searches you did a week ago. Of course, you may still see ads directly related to the search term you just entered, but the ads are not the problem. The behavourial tracking of you is, and this doesn’t happen on a true private search engine.
Ideally, every user will see exactly the same search results for the search term that they entered – there is no re-ranking, no bias and results are not based on a ‘filter bubble’ constructed from your online behaviour and personal information.
Some private search engines are metasearch engines – they anonymize your searches and take the results from the big search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. The metasearch engines take advantage of the huge indexes to provide the widest ‘net’ for your search, but may still show you biased results (when the bias is introduced upstream).
Other private search engines, like findx, are truly independent – they have their own crawler and build their own index. We can promise you that the results that you see are not biased because of your behaviour or previous searches. Read more about how search engines work.
If you are not concerned about your privacy, and don’t mind advertisers having a very personal and detailed profile about you, tracking everything you do on the web, that’s fine – you can keep using the big search engines. But not everyone realises, that your search terms are saved, and that search engines build detailed a profile about you, which they then use to show you highly targeted ads. The common business model is then to give (sell) that information to ad-networks, who build their own profile along with data from third-party trackers, covering which websites you visit, what ads you click on, what you buy, which services you use, and much more.
If you want control over your privacy, you want to know how your personal information is being used and by whom, then you should consider using a private search engine.
Findx has been released as a public beta, so now everyone can search in private at findx.com. We would love to know what you think about findx and private searching in our online community.
Findx is a true search engine alternative which respects your privacy, and has its own crawler and index.
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