Startpage Privacy Search Engine

What is Startpage? Why would I want to use it? There are a couple reasons to use a search engine like Startpage.


You know that wonderful seemingly all-knowing digital god called Google that magically helps you find almost anything in the world? That fantastic search tool that provides information on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you’re looking for? Guess what. It also records and saves your ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Although the company claims this solely for marketing and r&d purposes, you might not always want a major global communications company always knowing and recording what’s interesting you at that very second. But fear not because now there’s a private alternative: Startpage.com.

“StartPage is based in the Netherlands and says that they are not subject to government snooping. According to their privacy statement, no records of user data are kept. They do not know who you are. Your IP and geographical location are not recorded. No tracking cookies are used. So they have no information to give to anybody, even if they are asked. StartPage actually uses Google for its searches but acts as an intermediary to protect your privacy. When you search with StartPage, all identifying information from your query is removed and it is submitted anonymously to Google. StartPage then gets the results back and relays them to you. Because there are extra steps and information has to go back and forth through an intermediary, searching will be slower. I suspect StartPage is getting a lot more traffic because of recent revelations about NSA. Page loading may be slow but, if privacy is a concern for you, this is a search engine that is worth looking at.”

More Details here and here.

Escape the Filter Bubble

You should know you are in a bubble online, a bubble of information tailored to you. Lifting from Wikipedia shamelessly:

A filter bubble is a result state in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behaviour and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles. Prime examples are Google's personalised search results and Facebook's personalised news stream. The term was coined by internet activist Eli Pariser in his book by the same name; according to Pariser, users get less exposure to conflicting viewpoints and are isolated intellectually in their own informational bubble. Pariser related an example in which one user searched Google for "BP" and got investment news about British Petroleum while another searcher got information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and that the two search results pages were "strikingly different."

Full article.

Many web services use algorithms to determine what you may like to see, for many reasons. For instance, Netflix and Amazon want to suggest movies or products that you might like, and not provide information overload of thousands of products you aren't interested in. In this case, when you're aware of the filtering, and likely want the filtering, it's a good thing.

However, web searches are inherently different. You probably do not want to be limited in what results are returned based on what an algorithm thinks you should see. You will want to find results from outside your "comfort zone" - specifically for information that is relevant, but not on your well traveled path of the net. Information that is similar to what you already know is often a waste of a result when looking for technical details - you want results you don't already know. Here is where a generic lens is more useful than a customized lens. And here is where search engines like Startpage help.

-- JamesPulver - 10 Jan 2014
Topic revision: r1 - 10 Jan 2014, JamesPulver
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