Hackernoon logoHow I Switched Completely from Google to Search Encrypt by@stewofkc

How I Switched Completely from Google to Search Encrypt

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@stewofkcChristian Stewart

Christian Stewart is a privacy researcher and reporter. Follow his latest coverage on YouTube.

So I wanted to basically block Google out of my life for a week and see how it went. I thought, I only use Google a couple times a day, so this shouldn’t be hard.

I was wrong…

I use Google a lot. And I would guess that you are probably in the same boat. First of all, Google sneaks into my internet use without me noticing. What I mean is that while I may not type in “www.google.com” regularly, I still end up using Google services.

  • If I’m watching a video online, odds are it’s hosted on YouTube. Even if I’m not actually on YouTube watching it, Google still knows…
  • If I’m using a service that requires logging in, like Medium or Quora, there’s a good chance I logged in with my Google account (or my Facebook, which isn’t much better).
  • On my work computer I use Google Chrome about 75% of the time. The rest of the time I use Mozilla Firefox. Switching to Firefox all the time shouldn’t be an issue.
  • If I’m curious about something, I’ll often open Safari on my iPhone and search from the Omnibar (a Google search). Kicking this habit may be more difficult, just because I don’t even think about it. A quick Google search from my phone is almost instinctive when I have a question. I’ll just have to switch my default search engine from Google.

Privacy & Customization

Privacy and customization are generally competing forces. For a website to remember my custom settings, it needs to be able to identify when it’s me visiting the site and not someone else on my network.

Search Encrypt doesn’t offer any customization from its homepage. This is fine though, as even with Google I never changed my “Search Settings”. Other private search engines, like StartPage and DuckDuckGo offer “privacy-friendly” custom options.

I really don’t find these settings that useful, and to use them on both DuckDuckGo and StartPage I have to use a custom URL. I rarely use bookmarks, so these aren’t really convenient for me.

If having your cat as the background on your search engine is your biggest concern, private search engines probably aren’t important to you anyway…

Search Encrypt Home Page

Search Encrypt has a clean interface that honestly reminds me a little bit of Google. StartPage and DuckDuckGo by comparison have a different look and feels on their homepages, and on their results page.

Conclusion: Switching To Search Encrypt Is Easy, Unless You Need Alternative Google Products

I would say I’m in the majority when I say that I use Google products (Gmail, Google Docs, etc.), but I’m not reliant on them at all. For work, we use a different email provider. I mainly used Google Docs and Google Drive for working on projects in college — so I don’t use them anyway. Search Encrypt fulfills my search engine needs, but obviously doesn’t offer a full suite of internet tools like Google.

Learn More About Search Encrypt

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