Don't Change Your Browser. Change Your Search Engine.

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DuckDuckGo browser search engineIf you want to change your internet browsing experience, it's easy to install a new browser on your PC. I've written about a couple of browsers over the past few days, which make a welcome change from the common trio of Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft's offerings.

But there's another way to freshen up your surfing experience, and that's to change your search engine rather than your entire browser. And again, you don't have to go with the most well-known ones like Google and Bing.

DuckDuckGo is the most stupidly named search engine around, but it's actually pretty good to use. It works just as you would expect - type something into the box and the results appear in a familiar format. But the most compelling reason to use it is that, unlike most other search systems, it doesn't track you, doesn't show you ads, and doesn't sell your data to other companies who might want to show you ads in the future for things you've been searching for.

DuckDuckGo is free to use. Just head to https://duckduckgo.com to use it. If you like it, set it as your home page in whatever browser you use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've been using DDG for years. I think they trawl ggl, because some links aren't up to date that I know ought to be there, since associated material has come to me by email. There are some senders whose email links I never click because I resent their analytics., so I search for mentioned articles by name, and this new content isn't always available via DDG search (when it IS available via ggl). But that's a tiny drawback. I'd never go back to ggl or any other intrusive search engine. I'm a loyal fan of DDG.
Another excellent feature of DDG is bangs. After any search term you can specify the result domain. So, 'Bowie Lazarus !yt' Will bring up only Youtube video results. There are dozens of other bangs, for wikipedia, dictionaries, reddit, etc etc, and you can set up your own.
Brilliant.

Another happy DDG response. Years now and major less spam was soon seen. Still get a piece here or there but nothing like when using the large ones. Haven't really used Edge that much nor much time to see if Chrome's new ad blocker helps. Just never know how the trolls get onto ones email addy (s). Just be careful and use a fake signup if don't know much about a site. Agree with the comments about startpage page tho an extra step.

As others have said, I've been using DDG for several years and like it, even making it my default search engine in the search window of the various browsers I use. However, I also like the privacy offered by Startpage.com and Ixquick.com, and their Advanced Search page is excellent for really refining my searches, so I've set the Startpage Advanced Search page as my Home Page in each of my browsers.

Although, as others have pointed out, there is no such thing as a guaranteed 100 percent solution to protecting our privacy on the Internet, I've found that the Epic Privacy Browser (www.epicbrowser.com/) comes closer than anything else I've found when I really want privacy (which is nearly always). Epic has its own search engine, or you can use DDG/Startpage/Ixquick from within the Epic browser.

Been using DDG for several years and like it...also have Ghostery and AdBlock Plus on my browsers so that means less tracking, but as others have said, nothing is 100%. I use FF Private Viewing window for any online banking, purchasing, etc that I do and that adds another layer to privacy. I don't have Chrome, but do use Yandex, a Google bowser, and Opera for day-to-day stuff like email and signing petitions. Another layer to be used is clearing your history without fail every day...for that I use CCleaner, but do not clear the Registry as I am not knowledgeable enough to deal with that.

I also like startpage (https://www.startpage.com) which offers the same features with more tweaking and Qwant (https://www.qwant.com) which User Interface is much more friendly

Thank you so much for this site!

I guess my only question would be, maybe DDG will not track you, yet, if you use it in a browser like Chrome, FF, or Edge browsers, wouldn't they still be tracking you? That's my only concern. Any input from others is appreciated. Thanks!

I don't know about DDG but Startpage searches are not tracked, and your IP address is not recorded - the searches are sent to a server in the Netherlands, I think, anonymized and sent to Google, and afterwards the results are sent to you.

This is where the mystery comes in for me, which I don't understand. I agree search engines might be set up so they do not track you. But what is to stop a browser such as Chrome or FF from tracking you? Google doesn't strike me as the type of company to stop tracking your internet browsing just because you're using a different search engine.

Well if you use Google's Chrome I suppose Google will trck you even if you use another browser
If you use Firefox or Opera I am not sure Google will be able to track you except from their ads/cookies

It is only the search that is anonymized by some of these search engines. - All the rest of what you do in the browser is another matter which has not been the subject here. - To stop or minimize tracking etc. you can go through the browser's settings, and use e.g. Ghostery to block trackers, and e.g. Adblock Plus to block ads. To add more anonymity, you can use a virtual private network (VPN). The Opera browser has an optional VPN built in, for example. The Tor browser is another option.

But in Rob's article he states "...unlike most other search systems, it doesn't track you...". So it is the point of using a different search engine. I just don't think you can stop any browser from tracking you, regardless of your defenses. You could eliminate much of what is traceable, but I don't think anything is 100% perfect. If you use Chrome browser and DDG as your search engine, Google will most likely pick up your traces, perhaps not 100% of them, but my guess would be enough for them to get some good data on you. Adding other defenses like an ad blocker, TOR browser, VPN, etc would indeed help. But nothing is 100% fool proof.

Thanks for the tip!

Another good search engine which preserves your privacy is "Startpage". It actually uses Google searching but anonymizes your search. As they put it,

"StartPage, and its sister search engine Ixquick, are the only third-party certified search engines in the world that do not record your IP address or track your searches."

I've been using DDG in combination with the browser Pale Moon for some time, and, other than the usual minor gripes, I have been content.
My belated thanks to the outstanding team at Gizmo!

Link to recent Gizmo piece on Pale Moon here: https://www.techsupportalert.com/content/pale-moon-new-web-browser-far-new.htm