Sites such as Britain’s Mojeek, France’s Qwant, Unbubble in Germany and Swisscows don’t track user data, filter results or show “behavioral” ads.
These sites are growing amid the rollout of new European privacy regulations and numerous corporate data scandals, which have raised public awareness about the mountains of personal information companies stealthily gather and sell to advertisers.
Widespread suspicion in Europe about Google’s stranglehold on internet searches has also helped make the continent a spawning ground for secure searching. Europe is particularly sensitive to privacy issues because spying by the Nazi-era Gestapo and the secret services in the Soviet Union is still within living memory.
“For us, it’s all about citizens and citizens have the right to privacy,” said Eric Leandri, chairman of Paris-based Qwant. He said that view contrasts with the mind-set across the Atlantic, where internet users are seen as consumers whose rights are dictated by the terms of their agreements with tech companies.
I have good luck with DuckDuckGo, and use Bing as my fallback on the rare occasions that DDG doesn’t deliver.