How do you search the interwebs on your Mac? Most of us use Safari and that means most of us use Google’s search engine. Don’t let that colorful, playful Google fool you. The company is a massive search engine and advertising giant.
That means Google gives you free software in exchange for permission to follow your every move online. Alternatives? Yesterday I wrote about the basic search engine options beyond Google, including Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, AOL, Wikipedia, and others. My favorite is DuckDuckGo because it does not track user behavior. There’s just one problem.
Search For Results
As I noted in my article Almost A Better Way To Search, there needs to be a balance between privacy and security, and search results. Maybe it’s all in my head but is there a way to get results better than Google’s results?
No. I described DuckDuckGo’s clever new iPhone app, but it has a caveat.
This is really, really cool, all totally free, and it arrives with just a single caveat. It’s been my experience that DuckDuckGo’s search results are not as useful as Google’s. But that’s OK. Remember, the iOS app is really just a browser with DuckDuckGo’s useful privacy tools built into the preferences. Tap the D icon in the menubar to see details. Tap the … in the menubar for settings. Tap the Fire icon at the bottom of the screen and the browser’s history disappeared. It even grades websites.
The caveat? I don’t like the search results compared to Google.
One of our readers had a similar issue but a better solution. It’s called StartPage. What you get are Google search results when you search for keywords but anonymized so Google doesn’t know who you are. StartPage works as a website similar to Google’s home page, or as an extension in Safari so you can use the browser’s built-in search bar (my preference).
StartPage also has a privacy position:
- You have a right to privacy.
- Your search data should never fall into the wrong hands.
- The only real solution is quickly deleting your data or not storing them to begin with.
- Since January 2009 we do not record our users’ IP addresses anymore.
- We were the first and only search engine to do so.
- Our initiative is receiving an overwhelmingly positive response
StartPage uses a single cookie and no tracking, but you still get search engine results that are from Google, including advertisements. When it comes to clicking on search engine results, choose wisely said the knight guarding the Holy Grail in the Indiana Jones movie.
StartPage also has an extensive list of Settings to cover search options, results appearance, privacy and safety. If you’re concerned about privacy and security, and you’re convinced Google already has too much information about what you do online (and they have much more than that), the GoodPage becomes an excellent alternative search option that still gives Google-like results, but strips out much of what Google would use to follow you online.
Mac360 reader GV:
Fortunately, there is a way to use Google without trading our privacy as the cost of admission. It is Startpage.com. It strips away our identifying information before it submits our search requests to Google. There are additional privacy protections that are detailed at the Startpage.com website.
I’m impressed with StartPage and use the Safari extension (easy; download, double-click the extension file). The Settings also have an Advanced Search option which lets you filter through the search with more keyword options, parameters, and even domain selection.
All in all, this is a better way to search and it’s free.