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Tracking users becomes history with new search engine

Search engines tracking users

Startpage search engine serves ads without tracking users via cookies. The private search engine has become an option for the Vivaldi browser. The solution might be extremely useful for those users concerned about the way big companies use the data they collect using cookies.

How does it work without tracking users?

Privacy has become more important than ever. Users are concerned about the way huge companies collect and manage their data, using cookies.

The new search engine does not track, log, or share data, not even searching history. But for this, it has to pay to Google, to use its search results.

In their privacy policy, they mention that, although it uses Google’s results, the data is still protected. “When you search, your query is automatically stripped of unnecessary metadata, including your IP address and other identifying information. We send the anonymized search query to Google and return the search results to you.”

But this doesn’t mean users will not see ads at all. Each time a user performs a search, the engine might show up to three sponsored search results, at the top of the results page.

At this moment, the main way to serve relevant ads to users and ensure bigger incomes both for agencies and for the search engines is exactly by using cookies.

Google or Facebook, for instance, collect a huge amount of data each time a user goes online. For this reason, more and more users consider that the collected data is not necessary and the procedure is invasive.

So, Google could not remain deaf, as it started being uncomfortable with the entire situation. That’s why it announced it would kill the cookies. But the process would last about two years, while Startpage is already here.

Still, the new engine only shows three sponsored search results at the top of the results page. All these ads will be contextual. Contextual advertising is less profitable, as when the content of a web page changes, so do the ads. Instead, Google serves behavioral ads, which monitors the online behavior of the users, in order to generate ads accordingly.

An early and promising alternative

Startpage is already here, which means that the search engine has enough time to gain new users and even become favorite. But their move might also force Google to speed up the process and get read of cookies earlier than promised.

Robert Beens, Startpage co-founder and CEO explained that: “At Startpage, we have no idea who or where you are, so you’re never being profiled and receive the exact same non-biased search results as anyone else in the world. Furthermore, we protect you from the more widely publicized threats such as price trackers (that give some people higher prices on products), identity theft, and personal data blackmail.”

Based on its features, the company signed a partnership with the Vivaldi browser. The browser added Startpage as a search engine option. But Vivaldi is still a small browser, so there should be a lot of work before reaching an important share on the market.

Still, trackers will be still active on the websites that you access from the search engine. So, if you just want to choose which website should be allowed to show you ads and collect your data, you have the chance to use Ad Guardian Plus.

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