Search Privacy

Google is not your friend. Google wants to know everything about you. Fortunately there are search options that respect your right to privacy.

startpage.com

startpage.com cites itselfas the world's most private search engine. It provides Google search but protects your privacy. it's the default search engine in the Tor browser.

When you search with Startpage, we remove all identifying information from your query and submit it anonymously to Google ourselves. We get the results and return them to you in total privacy.

Your IP address is never recorded, your visit is not logged, and no tracking cookies are placed on your browser. When it comes to protecting your privacy, Startpage runs the tightest ship on the Internet. Our outstanding privacy policy and thoughtful engineering give you great search results in total anonymity. Here are some of our key features:

  • No IP address recorded.
  • No record is made of your searches.
  • No identifying or tracking cookies used.
  • Connection using powerful SSL encryption.
  • Free proxy surfing available.
  • Praised by privacy experts worldwide.
  • Fourteen-year company track record.
  • Third-party certified.

Read more here and here.

To use with Pentadactyl, install and then do:

:set defsearch=startpage-https-uk

ixquick.com

Similar to, and from the same place as, startpage but uses many popular search engines, not just Google. Install and then

:set defsearch=ixquick-https-uk

DuckDuckGo

Prior experience gave unimpressive search results but it might have improved since then.

Alternative ways to access Google

The following discussion offers alternative ways to directly access Google search. They still don't respect your privacy, however. source

Google provides some alternative interfaces to its search that use the same search index and parameters that the default Google search engine offers with the difference that all four of them are faster, more accessible and less obtrusive when displaying search results. One of the major points of criticism lately has been the additional elements that the standard Google search engine displays on the search results pages. This includes advertisement, sponsored listings, Google Maps, Google News or Youtube results thrown into the mix, something that many search engine users feel completely unnecessary.

Google Sandbox Search comes close to the standard Google search engine. It makes use of a similar user interface with the main difference that the search result pages do not display advertisements or other elements that Google likes to add to those pages.

Google XHTML is a search interface for mobile devices. It can be accessed by desktop computers and normal web browsers. The benefit is a faster interface that displays the search results without additional noise. The search result listings are aligned to the left and contain titles and short descriptions of the contents.

Google IE is another interface for mobile devices. The IE suggests that it might be related to Microsoft's Internet Explorer in some way. This one the most barebone of them all which especially becomes apparent on the search results pages. The results only consist of the page titles with no description or other information thrown into the mix. This can be confusing if many of the websites listed in the results use the same or a similar title.