Can you name the most popular search engines off of the top of your head? You probably can — or at least the top one: Google.
Google may be a household name and the most-used search engine, but there have been some privacy issues related to it over the years. One of the main issues is that it tracks and retains some or all of your search history, even when you aren’t logged in. What you search for, the videos you watch, the images that you view, and the ads you purposely (or accidentally) click on are all retained by Google. Tap or click here to erase everything Google knows about you.
This is an issue for those focused on privacy, and it should be. Your search engine shouldn’t track all of your movements online, even if you aren’t up to anything nefarious. So, if you’re concerned about the way Google handles data, you may want to switch over to a privacy-focused search engine instead. We have one that may be a good fit.
The privacy issues with Google
While Google is one of the better search engines in terms of search results, it tracks almost every move you make while online. Not only does Google retain tons of data from your search history, but it also keeps tabs on what you’re up to when using Google devices, apps, and, services, too.
That tracking reach extends to where you go via location, what you buy, and even what Google Assistant commands you use. And you know how those ads you’re seeing seem more and more tailored to you? Well, it isn’t a coincidence. Google also tracks your ad interactions and builds an ad profile on you.
Not even incognito browsing with Google is truly private. The browser won’t save cookies in incognito mode, but your browsing history isn’t hidden from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit. Tap or click here for practical reasons to use Incognito Mode.
You may have also noticed some targeted ads popping up in your Gmail, too. That’s because Google pulls data from your private emails to spam you with ads. According to Google, this is an automatic process, but it’s still one more method of data gathering that you may want to eliminate.
If you’re online — even if you’re signed out of your account — Google can track:
- Your geographic location
- Your IP address
- Information about the Google services you use and how you use them
- What ads you click and where those ads are located
- The devices you’re using use to access Google, the internet, and other applications
- Your server information
- Information from using Google’s partner services
These data-gathering methods are all concerning, but you know what you should concern you more? Data breaches. If Google is tracking all of this data, it leaves you vulnerable to potential data breaches.
You want your data to remain as private as possible — and Google leaves you open to potential hacking problems and data breaches.
How DuckDuckGo can help
The name DuckDuckGo may not ring a bell, but it should — especially if you’re concerned about privacy on the web. This privacy-focused search engine extension isn’t the only of its kind, but it is one of the most popular. It’s used by many Komando readers and listeners, and for good reason: your data won’t be tracked while using it.
RELATED: How to give your devices and accounts privacy checkups
DuckDuckGo is basically the anti-Google. It offers tracker blocking, site encryption, and it won’t target your IP address or search history like Google does.
You’ll be completely anonymous while surfing the internet. None of your data from online searches is collected or stored by DuckDuckGo, which eliminates the annoying targeted search results and ads you get with other search engines.
You won’t have to worry about data being gathered for targeted ads or being trapped in a search filter bubble either. In turn, you’ll get more search results — and they’ll be the same search results anyone would have gotten. There are no targeted search results based on your prior searches because DuckDuckGo doesn’t retain that information.
Using DuckDuckGo can also make your browsing experience work faster because it disables the tracking code that comes with other browsers. So, if you’re regularly dealing with slow browsers and search engine load times, using this search engine could help speed things up.
It also offers a slew of other features, including:
- Privacy grades: The Privacy Grade shows you how much a site can be trusted, before and after Privacy Protection is applied.
- Smarter encryption: DuckDuckGo forces sites to use encrypted connections when available, protecting your data from prying eyes.
- Privacy tips: DuckDuckGo also offers privacy tips for keeping your data and information protected and out of the hands of large tech companies.
Related: Google will auto-delete your records after 18 months – here’s how to remove the data now
How to use DuckDuckGo
You can add the DuckDuckGo extension to the browser on your device or download the app instead.
The upside to that equation is that you can still keep using your favorite web browser with DuckDuckGo if you opt to. Either way, both the mobile app and Privacy Essentials desktop extension both come with DuckDuckGo’s tracker blocker, encryption enforcer, and private search engine. This gives you privacy protection tools to search and browse privately.
If you want to incorporate DuckDuckGo into your web browsing, it’s pretty easy to add the browser extension or app to your device. You can add the extension to all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and several others.
To add DuckDuckGo to your device or browser, tap or click the links below and follow the download instructions.
- The DuckDuckGo browser extensions: If you want to use browser extensions, you should make sure that the DuckDuckGo search engine is used everywhere in your browser by default to protect your data.
- The DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser (Android app): This app works just like a private browser for Android devices.
- The DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser (Apple app): This app works just like a private browser for Apple devices.
For more information on how DuckDuckGo can help protect your privacy, click here.