4 Google alternatives that protect your privacy

There's no need to lose your privacy when you do a search. So use these search engines and services.

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Worried that Google has become too much of a Big Brother, and you're looking for a search engine that will protect your privacy? You're in luck, because I've got four great alternatives -- engines that do great searches and don't track what you do.

Duck Duck Go

This search engine protects your privacy, but use it for a while and you'll find out it's not the only reason to use it. It does flat-out great searches, and out-Googles Google in some ways. Its new redesign is simpler and less cluttered, and it can do a slew of specialized searches. There's image and video search, and others as well, including for businesses and restaurants, definitions, recipes, and weather. And its Smarter Answers feature is particularly compelling, looking through a variety of specialized information sites to help you find what you want.

Google Sharing

Here's a way to keep using Google, but still protect your privacy. It's a Firefox add-in that uses a proxy that hides your identify, and every time you do a search, it gets routed to that proxy. All identifying information is stripped, the search is done, and you get the results. And Google doesn't know it was you doing the searching.

Ixquick

This search engine, based on the Netherlands, collects no data about the users doing searches on it. It also encrypts your search to cut down on possible snooping. The site worries so much about privacy, it doesn't even log your IP address.

WolframAlpha

This isn't really an all-purpose search engine, but rather targeted more towards the geek set, with information about numbers, calculations, data analytics, science, and related topics. It does protect your privacy, though. I use it sometimes for sheer entertainment because of its sometimes wacky results. Because it's pointed at uncovering data, if you type in a term that has nothing to do with data or science, it'll give its best guess at what you're looking for, and show you the results. So I typed in my last name, "Gralla," and it figured I was really looking for nutritional information about Granola. It turns out that a half cup of Back to Nature Classic Granola has six grams of protein, and 10% of the minimum daily requirement of zinc. Who knew?

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