Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News | Technology News


Why Traffic To These Google Alternatives Is Soaring

Feb 10 2014, 11:10am CST | by

1 Updates
Why Traffic To These Google Alternatives Is Soaring

YouTube Videos Comments

Full Story

Why Traffic To These Google Alternatives Is Soaring

What you look for on the Internet reveals a lot about you, which is why a growing number of people are turning to services that do not track their searches and offer greater privacy protections than Google.

“The consciousness is only slowly building on the dangers,” says Robert Beens , CEO of Dutch companies Startpage and Ixquick , which provide anonymous searches. “It is very easy to see how this treasure trove of data can be misused in the future.”

“For instance, you make searches for your medical condition…That is extremely interesting information for medical companies, for insurances companies.”

“It could increase your premium if you search for a couple of specific keywords. It is not being done today, to my knowledge, but it is very easy to see it leading to that in the future.”

Ixquick, which started the same year as Google in 1998, and its sister site Startpage had fewer than a million visitors a day in January 2012 when Google changed its privacy policy to combine user information from its various services. Within two months the alternative sites saw traffic double. By spring 2013, the number of visitors was up to about 2.5 million a day. Then Edward Snowden’s revelations about government snooping led to a new wave of interest in the sites. Traffic today is more than five million users a day .

Another privacy friendly search site, DuckDuckGo , saw similar spikes in traffic at those junctions and now has nearly 4.5 million visits a day .

To be sure, Google crushes the competition in search. For the U.S. market in December, Google has 67.3 percent of the market with 12.3 billion searches a month, followed by Microsoft sites (18.2 percent), Yahoo (10.8 percent) and Ask (2.5 percent), according to comScore .

The reason for Google’s dominance is clear: many users find the site more fulfilling than alternatives.

How do these privacy friendly sites work? Startpage uses Google results which it buys from the company (in a slightly less user friendly interface); its sister company Ixquick, as well as rival site DuckDuckGo, present results compiled from a series of different search engines. For example, DuckDuckGo says its sources are its own web crawler, Yahoo!, Yandex, WolframAlpha, Bing and crowd-sourced sites such as Wikipedia.

Another privacy option comes from Boston-based Abine, which offers a free Firefox browser plugin GoogleSharing that scrambles the records of Google searches among different users. With the browser, you use the same page, but it may not always work as smoothly as going directly to Google. About 50,000 people use the plugin daily.

“It looks like you are coming out of a big corporate network,” says Abine CEO Rob Shavell says about Gogole’s ability to track users of the plugin. “There are still some bugs are we rebuild the platform…It’s a little bit of a cat and mouse game.”

Are these search engine privacy companies making a big fuss over nothing? I contacted Google for their response. “Some privacy advocates say in the future Google could sell searches to insurance companies and others,” I wrote. “Has that ever happened and could that happen in the future? What can the company say to calm any possible user concerns on this issue?”

The official corporate response avoided any direct response to that or other questions I posed. The spokesman also asked that his name not be printed, despite a specific request that a named official speak for Google.

“Google goes above and beyond to make sure your information is safe, secure and always available to you,” the spokesman said. “Our commitment to the security of your data is absolute — we have more than 400 full-time security experts providing design reviews, consulting, training and education across the company, as well as building privacy and security technologies into our products.”

I wrote again seeking more precise answers and perhaps the opportunity to talk with one of those 400 security experts. They did not write back.

Google makes billions of dollars through its beloved search engine by running ads alongside the results.  The negative exploitation of an individual’s search data forecast by Robert Beens of Startpage has yet to happen, as far as anyone knows. But it does seem that Google could do more to allay fears that someday search histories could come back to haunt.

For millions of users, that uncertainty means they turn to the privacy friendly alternatives, especially when looking up topics such as medical ailments or sensitive personal issues.

Source: Forbes


iPad Air Giveaway. Win a free iPad Air.

You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update


More From the Web

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Irina Shayk has Sexy Marilyn Moment (Pics)
Irina Shayk has Sexy Marilyn Moment (Pics)
Model Irina Shayk almost showed too much at a photo call yesterday. See the hot photos below.
Zoe Saldana on being Happily Married Ever After
Zoe Saldana on being Happily Married Ever After
Zoe Saldana spoke recently on being happily married ever after and pictures of her dress at Guardians of the Galaxy premiere showed her baby bump.
The U.S. Postal Service Thinks 3D Printing Can Save It
The U.S. Postal Service Thinks 3D Printing Can Save It
…though many would predict just the opposite. It’s easy to imagine how 3D printing could obliterate the need for package deliveries – that’s one of the basic selling points of 3D printers. If you want something, you...
Naya Rivera weds Ryan Dorsey
Naya Rivera weds Ryan Dorsey on July 19
Naya Rivera married her new boyfriend and friend of 4-years Ryan Dorsey just three months after her split from fiance Big Sean. The couple got married on July 19 in Mexico.

About the Geek Mind

Read more about The Geek Mind.