Google tracks searches and also sends search data to visited sites in the HTTP referrer headers. This information can be tied together to allow someone to look at what you have been searching over multiple queries (for example, see AOL search data leak).

Are there any decent alternatives to Google that place a higher emphasis on privacy? And what makes this alternative better, or what does it do differently?


Google now has SSL support, so use https://www.google.com. Referrer headers are not sent to the pages you go to from SSL search results, nor are search queries snoopable.

If you want to minimize tracking, block cookies from *.google.com, explicitly enabling cookies for at least mail.google.com, if you use GMail.

  • Cheers - added it in to my search providers as google.com/#hl=en&q=%s – tobeannounced Jul 16 '10 at 6:15
  • "Note that SSL search does not reduce the data that Google receives and logs when you search, or change the listing of these terms in your Web History ." from this page. – Senseful Sep 14 '10 at 21:49
  • I don't think this is a privacy-conscious solution at all... Better use StartPage or DuckDuckGo, for instance. – landroni Jan 29 '15 at 20:36

DuckDuckGo claims not to not track your searching.

I've only used it a little but find it's good if a little short on results sometimes, would allow this since it seems very new and it provides easy link to google if short changed.

I've noticed stackoverflow have added this to their search options which must give it some kudos. That said I cannot say it makes a better alternative but it is a decent alternative.

  • 1
    Thanks, I must say I have used it before and loved it - except I wish the page used a bit more real estate and maybe that the results were a bit better. I love the feature where you select what topic you are looking at if the search is ambiguous: duckduckgo.com/?q=apple – tobeannounced Jul 16 '10 at 13:27
  • Actually I'm getting quite very decent results with DDG, and sometimes better than Google. See also: webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/73312/… – landroni Jan 29 '15 at 20:35

Try https://ssl.scroogle.org/. It's basically a tunnel to Google that strips out your personal information. Has a Firefox search plugin, too.

  • Thanks for that - any chance you know the url search format so that I can add it to my Chrome search engines list? – tobeannounced Jul 16 '10 at 6:13
  • The Firefox search plugin uses this: <os:Url type="text/html" method="POST" template="ssl.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbwssl.cgi"> <os:Param name="Gw" value="{searchTerms}"/> </os:Url> – Peter Eisentraut Jul 18 '10 at 21:34

The Chrome Search Engine URL for https://ssl.scroogle.org is


StartPage allows to perform searches using Google but without the privacy downsides.

StartPage will send the search query to and fetch results from the Google search engine, crucially without saving the users' IP addresses or giving any personal user information to Google's servers. StartPage is the default search engine in the Tor Browser.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.