Private web search made easy
When we search online, links are included and ranked using our personal profile. While we can expect the search results to be localized, e.g. for services like weather and restaurants, the algorithms decide in fact what we see regardless of the topic and context, based on data we often don’t even suspect to have shared.
We look at a service useful to regain a bit of freedom from internet giants: privacy oriented search engines.
The “filter bubble”
The filter bubble is the concept of search results manipulation based on our personal data, interests, online behavior, location and more. What we get is not what our friend close to us gets at the same time and for the same query.
The major internet players know almost everything about what we do online.
Looking at the activity dashboard they provide, we can sense the amount of data they have and how accurate their records are.
They give us the possibility to control at least part of what they collect and to opt out in an easy way. But do we really want? We value this customized experience. What we probably didn’t intend to do was to trade it with our knowledge; the unsuspected outcome is that we only see a very restricted portion of the cyberspace (and I’m not counting the dark web).
By enclosing us in the bubble they control and limit our view hiding information that we’d potentially wish to know.
Popping the bubble
There are several possible solutions to this problem, but without going into setup technicalities and software installations, there are a few services that provide anonymous or non-personalized searches - the two we suggest you to look at are DuckDuckGo and Startpage.com.
Both services are privacy-focused alternative to normal search engines. While the first one uses several sources to deliver the search results, the second one uses Google, removing ads and tracking.
DuckDuckGo has recently published a study on the filter bubble implemented by Google.
Despite common understanding, it shows that the bubble is active even when we browse in incognito mode.
Startpage.com has recently launched a new functionality: the Anonymous View.
Getting unbiased search results is already a good thing. The new functionality adds the possibility to visit websites privately by using Startpage.com as a proxy.
From the search results we can either click on the normal link, effectively leaving the protection provided by Startpage.com, or click on the “Anonymous View” link. With it we can visit search results and keep browsing in privacy.
A blue border is framing pages to show us that the Anonymous View is active, and we can switch to the normal view by clicking the “Visit original website” link if wished.
If you need help on your internet journey, contact us.