[This article has been updated. The newest version is: How To Dump Google Search: 2022 Update.]
Google is the king of search. We automatically know what someone means when they tell us to “Google it”. But the company that once used the slogan “Don’t Be Evil” has become an international tech giant guilty of many evil deeds, including censorship on political grounds, tracking user’s search results, election interference, and selling our data to the highest bidders. Some security experts have said Google was founded with money from the CIA. And Senator Ted Cruz recently called Google the “most dangerous company on the face of the planet”. Google has become the first, and often only, search engine for almost everyone, but there are many other great options available, and with risks associated with using Google, there’s really no reason to use them any longer.
If your privacy is important to you switch to one of these alternatives. They all give good search results and they have solid privacy policies to protect their users.
MetaGer is a German search site developed and run by the nonprofit organization, SUMA-EV–Association for Free Access to Knowledge. MetaGer protects against censorship by combining the results of multiple search engines. They use an anonymizing proxy to protect your privacy and they don’t track you or retain your search history. They’re my default search engine.
Mojeek is a UK based search company that describes itself as “the alternative search engine that puts the people who use it first.” Mojeek was the first privacy respecting search engine and the only one that provides completely independent search results instead of simply harvesting results from other search engines.
Qwant is based in France and says their keywords are “privacy and neutrality”. Qwant encrypts your search requests, they don’t retain any personal data and they don’t track you. I’ve found their search results to be a little strange at times but if the other search engines aren’t giving you the results you’re looking for, give Qwant a try.
Gibiru is a California based search company that offers 256-bit HTTPS encryption, no logging of any kind, no cookies, no data selling, an option to add proxy/VPN, no ad tracking, and a strong commitment to privacy. While most of their search results are pulled from Google, they also serve up uncensored results but it’s unclear where those results come from.
DuckDuckGo is a popular choice but I don’t use it. While most review sites give them a thumbs up, over the years there have been many questions raised about just how honest the company is. They also have business agreements with Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. The website Techrights.org has an entire page on why no one should be using DuckDuckGo. Read it and then decide for yourself.
Times have changed and your choices have grown. Stop feeding the abusive tech giants that don’t respect you or your privacy. Make your next search a safer one.