Features of private search engines

In today’s digital world, everyone is searching for information, all the time. But when many of the more popular search engines work so closely with advertisers to perfectly target you with advertising, your online privacy is getting harder to protect. 

You can easily protect yourself against being tracked when you search on the web and browse results simply by using a private metasearch or search engine.

The features that you should look for in a private search provider include:

  • Web search – All search engines let you search the web and list the resulting pages. However, they may use different sources, some are independent and build their own list of websites and results, and some show results from Bing or Google for example, but the private search engines make sure your search is still done in private.
  • Instant answers – These are services designed for specific searches to give you quick and useful results in addition to the web page results, for example, a calculator when you type in a sum, or the weather forecast when you type in a location.
  • Easily search additional sources – No private search engine has the scale of Google and covers as many corners of the internet. To compensate for that, some search engines have introduced a way to easily repeat your seasearch onher websites. If you add an exclamation mark “!” to the search query it searches directly on the website you specify. It is the solution to a real need and is a very usable feature, although your searches are no longer private when you exit the private search engine.  

Searching for the weather forecast in private

You can check the weather forecast directly in the search engine using, DuckDuckGo and Qwant.

  • Image  – Searching for images in private means you don’t have to worry about the images you look at and private search engines have various filter settings to prevent adult image searches – making it safer for your kids. 
  • Map search – Some private search engines let you look for places to visit, and plan how to get from A to B in private, it’s not a super useful feature, since the mobile OS vendors (Google and Apple) has built a more feature reach in turn by turn navigation, that said the privacy for a location lookup should be valued.
  • Video search – No private search engine has its own video service like Google’s own YouTube. You can use private search engines to search YouTube and other sources and get rid of the advertisements, and block Google from getting a detailed history of the videos you watch. 

Features of private search engines and metasearch engines

Web search resultsMetasearchMetasearchMetasearchCombinedMetasearch
Easy search on other resources !bangs !bangs- !qwick-
Image search-+++-
Map search and route planningOpenStreetMap/
device dependent
OpenStreetMap linksNoEmbedded in a snippetNo
Video search-++++
Search AdvertisementsMicrosoftYahoo/BingNoneMicrosoftGoogle Adwords
Note: The data in this comparison table is based on public information published by the included search engines, with additional information from independent reviews, including as published on the respective Wikipedia pages for the search engines . The data was last checked in March 2018.

Using a map service on a private search engine 

DuckDuckGo have implemented map services based on the OpenStreetMap service.

Alternative search engines with privacy 

More and more frequently, people are asking for solutions to protect and control who has access to their personal information when they are online. The rising popularity of private search engines shows that concern about digital privacy is increasing.

By searching in private, you avoid consuming information only within a filter bubble, you ensure your search history isn’t collected, and you aren’t chased by advertisements as you browse the internet. 

There is a great need for alternatives to the monopoly that Google has over the information of our digital lives, and if you want to learn more about you can see the chart and read a comparison of search engines and meta search engines.

How do private search engines make money?

If you want to use a private search engine, one of the question that often is askes is “How do they make money?”. There various ways a search engine can keep you privacy and make money. See the comparison chart and learn more about private search engines.

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