Christian Stewart is a privacy researcher and reporter. Follow his latest coverage on YouTube.
If you’re a long time user of the internet, you probably remember the “old days” of search engines, when finding a relevant answer to your query often took some searching and researching. Luckily, search engines have improved drastically over the last 20 years. Thanks to artificial intelligence and improved indexing finding the answer to your questions is easier than ever.
People use search engines so often that their daily lives that we take their amazingly fast and relevant search results for granted.
So how did search engines across the board improve so much?
The Answer: Tracking You
Not only were search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing improving their web indexes and working with faster computing speeds, but also they were collecting tons of data about what people searched for and how they did so.
So search engines know you really well, but why do they need to? For anyone concerned with privacy, or keeping their identities hidden on the internet, the big search engines spark concerns.
Fortunately there are private search engines that don’t track you at all. These search engines don’t need to know how many times you’ve searched for a given term, where you’re located, or what you’re interested in.
So, what private search engine should you use?
Search Encrypt is a private search engine that uses AES-256 encryption on your search terms. Along with encryption, it expires your search terms so that when you’re done searching your searches essentially disappear forever. It’s these features that let Search Encrypt offer perfect forward secrecy.
Search Encrypt was founded in early 2016 by a pair of developers who noticed the issues with big search engines creating data profiles about their users.
Since its initial launch, Search Encrypt has consistently grown its popularity and user-base. In 2018 alone, Search Encrypt has added video and map search features. It plans to keep adding new features and expanding its product line in the coming year.
Search Encrypt has been growing steadily over the past two years. According to SimilarWeb, it gets around 30 million visitors per month.
Shortly after launching its search engine, Search Encrypt added a Chrome extension to its product line. It’s extension lets users quickly switch their default search engine to Search Encrypt, and avoid search engines that track their information. If the extension detects that someone is searching on a search engine with tracking, it may redirect to Search Encrypt’s private results.
Big search engines collect every bit of information they can about you, so that they can serve you targeted ads. The more specific data they collect about you, the more money they can make from ads.
Search Encrypt doesn’t collect or store any of your personal, identifiable data. Your search terms are never linked to your name, or a “data profile”. Even after years of using Search Encrypt, we won’t know anything about you.
Google, for example, not only has access to your searches, but it also links your searches to your Gmail account, chat transcripts, location data, and other information it gathers through Google Analytics.
Search Encrypt is referred to as a metasearch engine. Rather than using its own web crawler to index all the pages on the internet, it sources its search results from its search partners. It strips your private data from your search term and encrypts it. Then, Search Encrypt delivers your search term to its servers in encrypted form and sends back the relevant search results.
Like other privacy focused search engines, even if law enforcement requested your searches from Search Encrypt, there would be no information to give them. Your searches are always encrypted, and when you’re done searching not even you can access your searches.
Search Encrypt is supported by ad revenue, but these ads are not targeted in any way. The ads that show up in search results are based solely on the search term you type in.
Using Search Encrypt is a simple and easy process. Just go to searchencrypt.com and type in your search term. If you want to take another step, you can add Search Encrypt’s Chrome extension to further protect your searches.
Privacy is a big issue. It’s obvious with the number of products that exist for staying private, or anonymous, on the internet. There are quite a few ways that people are trying to prevent trackers from following them around the web, and protecting their data.
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