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Which search engines collect data about you?

29.01.2023
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Many of today's search engines provide incredible results and give you the information you want, instantly. While you enjoy the benefits, you should never forget the risks. Read on to learn how to prevent data collection about you.

There are plenty of search engines to choose from. Along with routers and Internet service providers, they are a very important part of web surfing. They help us effortlessly, literally with a single phrase, find the information we need. Without search engines, the Internet would not be the same.

In addition to the function of quickly finding relevant information or sites, search engines provide many additional services. Chief among them is targeted advertising.

Targeted advertising always corresponds to the user's area of interest. On the one hand it’s convenient, but on the other hand, it becomes very uncomfortable when you realize that someone anticipates your questions and desires. This means that this someone has tracked the history of your previous requests.

Because the Internet is huge, with more than 6 billion websites, search engines are forced to take steps to help reduce the time it takes to search for a query. This is to provide the user with a page listing all the big sites with the right content as quickly as possible. One such step is indexing, a process in which special programs scan web pages to classify content and rank sites by quality of content. Websites with the most in-demand and highest quality content, with the longest lifespan, are given priority when providing information on a user's request. The search engine goes into the index and finds the websites that best match your query.

The search engine's evaluation of a site's content is very important because it determines which sites will be brought to the first page in response to a user's query. Only the sites with the highest ranking will be displayed in the priority area, on the screen at the top of the page, where they can be seen without scrolling down. According to a number of sources, the site that ranks first on Google gets more than 33% of all clicks, while the next highest gets barely half and the rest even less.

Another method of filtering search results, and one of the things Internet users are most concerned about, is data mining. Have you ever wondered how a website like Google or Bing, or even Facebook, immediately produces ads related to your hobbies, like mountain biking, and for exactly the right people for your age and near where you live? The answer is simple: the search engines have information about you, even though you didn't give it to them.

Which search engines collect data?

The data collection methods of different search engines are almost identical; the only difference is the privacy policy that search engines apply to the data they collect. Many Internet users do not even realize that there are other search engines besides Google that do similar work, but without invading privacy. Below is an analysis of today's biggest search engines in terms of privacy and security on the Internet.

GOOGLE

  • Google, the name is almost synonymous with the Internet and Web surfing. Almost everyone uses this search engine every day to search for information and get it right away. When it comes to evaluating Google's results and services, they are a monopoly. When it comes to SEO, here we have to admit that it is not a very good site. As far as data collection for data mining is concerned - they are first on the list. If you read about the terms of use and privacy policy, you will realize that they collect everything ... any information about you, anything they can find out from your device’s IP address, phone number, physical address (where you are: city, home, office, etc.), your interests and habits, the websites you visit, the things you buy in online stores, any other amount of data that is supplied over the Internet and available for analysis.

AOL

  • AOL is one of the first search engines, unfortunately, the company eventually lost its position to new, more powerful competitors. Nevertheless, the company is still afloat and maintains a search engine as well as a media portal similar to MSN and Yahoo! As for search and data collection, the privacy policy is, "We collect and receive information about you and your device if you give it to us yourself when you use our services, or also from some third-party sources."

BING

  • Bing - This search engine is like a relative you know but don't want to communicate with because you don't like it. It's a search engine, sure, it gets results and provides services, but not comparable to Google. The bad news is that Bing is not even inferior to Google in collecting data. A familiarity with the privacy policy suggests that the company can easily track you all the way to the point of entering the Internet. "When you search with Bing, the search process is triggered by typing in a command on your behalf, Microsoft searches using the data you provide: your IP address, location, unique identifiers, the time and date of your search, and your browser configuration."

YAHOO!

  • Of course, in terms of reach, number of users, or impact on the Internet, this search engine can't compare to Google. Yahoo! has long been one of the good search engines, but it has also long been one of the big data collectors. Along with this, Yahoo! is also well known for the fact that it has twice been subjected to powerful hacking attacks, which resulted in the loss of personal data of a huge number of users. What is also important to note that Yahoo!, which initially used unique and proprietary software, now works on the basis of Bing. The only difference in the display of results is really only the Ads Manager, which will help you control what is displayed.

How to prevent data collection

There are a number of ways to prevent your personal data from being collected. The first is to not put this kind of information online. Try to avoid entering personal information anywhere if you can do without it, it greatly reduces the risk of loss or theft. The next thing to do is to overcome the diktat of collecting data from major search engines. They own vast amounts of personal user data, which is not safe in the realities of modern life. When you turn to a search engine, you want the best results. You can use one of the "improved" search engines with Google, but still, it's certainly not the same. The only way to get Google without the hassle, while still remaining anonymous, is to take advantage of VPN capabilities. VPNs, virtual private networks, have long been guarantors of safe Internet connections and offer many other benefits, chief among them anonymity online, which is exactly what you need to protect your data from collection.