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We use a search engine for almost everything. Whether it’s about a fun location, new clothes, a new restaurant, a medical issue, or any multitude of things we are interested in. We share our most intimate secrets with our search engine without even thinking. All of that personal information should be private, but on Google it’s not.
On Google, your searches are tracked, mined, and packaged up into a data profile for advertisers to follow you around the Internet through those intrusive and annoying ever-present banner ads, using Google’s massive ad networks, embedded across millions of sites and apps.
So-called incognito mode won’t protect you either. That’s a myth. “Incognito” mode isn’t really incognito at all. All it does is delete your local browsing history after your session on your device, but does nothing from stopping any website you visit, including Google, from tracking you via your IP address and other tracking mechanisms like browser fingerprinting.
Each time you search on DuckDuckGo, it’s as if you’ve never been there before. Nothing is stored that can tie your searches to you personally, or even tie them together into a search history that could later be tied back to you.
Google tracks you on more than just their search engine. You may realize they also track you on YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android, Gmaps, and all the other services they run. We recommend using alternatives like DuckDuckGo for search. I never use Google for search unless I absolutely have to.
What many people don’t realize, is Google trackers are actually lurking behind the scenes on 75% of the top million websites. To give you a sense of how large that is, Facebook is the next closest with 25%. It’s a good bet that any random site you land on the Internet will have a Google tracker hiding on it. Between the two of them, they are dominating online advertising, by some measures literally making up 74%+ of all digital ad growth. A key component of how they have managed to do that is through hidden trackers.
Google Analytics tracks you behind the scenes, feeding that information back to Google. Same for the ads themselves, with Google running three of the largest non-search ad networks installed on millions of sites and apps: Adsense, Admob, and DoubleClick.
You know those ads that creepily follow you around everywhere? Most of those are actually run through these Google ad networks, where they let advertisers target you against your search history, browsing history, location history and other personal information they collect. Even less well known is they also enable advertisers like airlines to charge you different prices based upon your personal information.
These ads are not only annoying — they are literally designed to manipulate you through targeting to make you buy more things, and just showing them to you is an act of Google profiting off of your personal information.
DuckDuckGo has expanded beyond its roots in search, to protect you no matter where you go on the Internet. Our DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app is available for all major browsers and devices, and blocks those pesky Google trackers, along with the ones from Facebook and countless other data brokers. It does even more to protect you as well like providing smarter encryption.
When you search, you expect unbiased results, but that’s not what you get on Google. On Google, you get results tailored to what they think you’re likely to click on, based on the data profile they’ve built on you over time from all that tracking I described above.
That may appear at first blush to be a good thing, but when most people say they want personalization in a search context they actually want localization. They want local weather and restaurants, which can actually be provided without tracking. That’s because approximate location info is automatically embedded by your computer in the search request via your IP address.
It used to be that you search on Google and then you click the top result. Over time, Google bought more and more companies and launched more and more of their own competing services, favoring them over others in their search results. This results in you being pushed to Google Places instead of Yelp or TripAdvisor, or Google Products instead of Amazon, Target, etc.
Using DuckDuckGo will take you directly to any site or topic you choose, without diverting you to a Google site without your knowledge.
On DuckDuckGo ads are kept to a minimum, and they’re non-tracking ads, based only on search keywords and not on a personal profile or search history. In fact, it’s a myth that you need to track people to make money in web search. When you search ‘car’, DDG can show you a car ad without knowing anything about you. Google could do this too but they won’t. All that tracking is to power their ad networks so that ads can follow you around the Internet.
When people know they are being watched, they change their behavior. It’s a well-documented behavior called the chilling effect, and it happens on Google. For example, an MIT study showed that people started doing fewer health searches on Google after the Edward Snowden revelations, fearing that their personal ailments might get out.
Your searches are your business, and you should feel free to search whatever you want, whenever you want. You can easily escape this chilling effect on DuckDuckGo where you are anonymous.
By now I’m sure you are thinking, why the hype? Does TechViews News have an interest in promoting DuckDuckGo? Not at all. We just believe in the principle of privacy and Internet Security, and we believe that DDG is the best search engine to use.
Recently, however, we’ve heard reports that some areas served by Comcast Xfinity have blocked users from accessing DDG because of a marketing agreement with Google. In that case we recommend StartPage Search Engine. You’ll find that StartPage has many of the same privacy and security features that DDG has. Some say they like the home page for StartPage better than DDG. But it’s a matter of personal choice for you.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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