StartPage - Google without privacy issues (?!)

So I’ve heard people saying, that StartPage is pretty much Google without the privacy issues.

I’ve known StartPage for years, but I always thought it’s just another crap search engine like Bing or Yahoo!, but without all the tracking or whatever. Since I was made aware, that it actually uses Google results (sadly, Google results are the best search engine results you can get, even if you count in the filter bubble), I tried out this search engine for about a week, sporadically.

At first, it seemed to do its job, but the first very negative thing I noticed was, that I could only make a limited amount of requests. Sometimes, when you use StartPage, you get a warning instead of search results. It tells you, that if you are using a VPN, TOR or have created too many requests, they can’t offer you the service during that period. I could not get rid of this warning, until I closed another tab with StartPage in it in my browser. Then they let me continue.
This was already the first big annoyance; you have to limit your connections to StartPage.
Well, fine, if I mix StartPage with DuckDuckGo, I can live with that.

The second thing I noticed was the comparison of search results between those from StartPage and other services.
To accomplish good enough test results, I’ve started searching in DuckDuckGo, then used the Google bang (!g) and StartPage bang (!s) to get results for a single request from all those engines.
Unfortunately, the StartPage results weren’t nearly as helpful and precise as those from plain Google. So you also lose most of the Google benefits, when using the stripped down Google results.

Lastly, I was made aware of the StartPage Firefox extension during the latest search.
Out of curiousity, I checked it out and read through some of the reviews.
I think the one start reviews summarize all the issues I mentioned pretty well, plus it seems like StartPage does not seem to be as trustworthy (anymore)…

Rated 1 out of 5

by DailySurfer, a year ago

WARNING! An advertising company called System1 has now huge impact on data collection of each user using Startpage because System1 has become majority shareholder. Do not use this search machine anymore!
Information:
(English):
https://www.datingnews.com/industry-trends/startpage-new-tools-allow-daters-to-browse-anonymously/
Startpage Acquired by System1, Privacy One Group - Still Safe?

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/startpage-private-search/reviews/?score=1

So, I hope people still using StartPage are now aware of all the unsolved problems coming with the service.

It seems like people are doomed to privacy-less search engines. They are just too lucrative to stay free in this society.

2 Likes

I’m sticking with duckduckgo… It’s been 2 years now… No idea of changing it

I find this whole topic pretty problematic: I see a certain value in data collection, namely my search history and which links I actually clicked: My Google search results are usually spot on, unlike when I use DuckDuckGo or other search engines.
Also, say, my watch history in youtube: The recommendations I get (often from very small channels) are, on average, truly excellent.

On the other hand, it bothers me that my data might be shared by companies beyond the scope of the original site, intentionally for marketing purposes or unintentionally through data breaches.

For myself, I handle this problem by using multiple identities for different areas of interest. So far, I have noticed no crossover of data between the different personae.

That is the main problem, I think. If every company would just really do what they say in their Terms of Service, which is collecting data to improve the service only, then people wouldn’t have such difficulties accepting those terms. (Except maybe when letting Google or Facebook collect it, since they are pretty much monopolies.)
Since the data is usually shared among what seems like a million 3rd parties, through every single data collection consent given by the user, it is hard to justify collection for “improvement of the service” purposes. If your data is shared with so many 3rd parties, then just looking at this situation from a purely scientific/statistical perspective, then you can only conclude that at least one of all those 3rd parties has to be in some way malicious or not worthy to get your data, because that needs to happen simply due to the nature of statistics. The more often you flip a coin, the higher the chance is that your streak of throwing always onto the same side of the coin, decreases.

Indeed! And companies do not even care about that! In all these years so many e-mail addresses are used are in many breaches. The worst thing about it is, that it only takes one single online service to be sloppy and your data is out there. If you register with the same address on many sites, it becomes unavoidable for your e-mail to get breached at some point.

Such situation becomes much worse even, when not only your e-mail address is leaked but the most crucial information about your personal life, as well, like e.g. your real home address.

One of the biggest breaches of such type recently was the Ledger scandal:

This is an absolute disaster. Imagine not only your full personal information is leaked on the internet for everyone to see, like home address, phone number, etc., but also the fact that you are in some way related to possibly having huge amounts of money at home.

I feel very bad for the victims. If my data were part of this breach, I probably would’ve moved to a different location, by now. I cannot fathom how the victims must feel, especially if they are living in a possibly shady area or perhaps shady country.
Imagine your data is part of this breach and you are at the same time living in some back alley in Bulgaria.
This is absolutely terrible and I feel for every person that has been part of this as a victim.

Horrifying situations like these show how important our data is and that it sometimes can make a world of a difference…

Still loving the people who always sign up with their Google account everywhere and then start crying when Google goes down and they literally cannot log in to start working and have to wait until Google gets their shit together. No pity for mor(m)ons!

I can’t find the article I read back then, that explicitly showed comments from users, that were complaining that they literally could not log into their most important non-Google services, because they used their Google account to sign up there…

3 Likes

Yes, StartPage’s rep was affected after the acquisition by an ad tech company. However, PrivacyTools did re-list them (Startpage Relisted on PrivacyTools.IO - Startpage.com Blog) after their convincing clarification, but yes, there will always be a red flag for it.

I’m trying to rely on DuckDuckGo for the most part. However, some regional search/local listings still depend on Google, so there’s no way Google search is going anywhere for my use-case.

1 Like

@Pranav Yes I also only use duc duc go. There are some limitations with it but in the main it serves my humble needs.

I agree with you.

But sorry to say that I’ve switched to Brave Search lately and I’m satisfied with it

*Just read this threat after I read the “In-tel” offer tho the “Linux community” concerning “In-tel_MM_OS_Interface_Spec”.
To me -this whole offer- doesn’t feel right. Simply take notice of what’s rolling out in this world of totalitarian control. People who believe in “the good” , in particular by governments or Large company’s will be disappointed anyway. I read the book title “Google Leaks” written by Zach Vorhies. He describes in his book “the Goog-le culture”, and how it evolved over the years. The same is happening in other monopoly company’s as In-tel, Youfloep, monopoly Router company´s etc.etc. Don’t Trust to easy what bigger companyś want to believe you. Read in particular the second half of the mentioned book “Goog-le Leaks”. It will open your eyes, and…it will confirm what you deeply inside already knew. If the In-tel offer came after the decision of the German Regional decision to step over on Linux and Libre Office… be extra aware!!! haha. What is Intels intention… and Why would a clever person ever choose for such a nonsense offer! Let’s wake up . Enjoy your open Linux-system. However I see also more and more implementations…that arrise question marks within. (like MS integration… forcing to Share… information via the implemented FireFoX (666) brower and so on.

Am I overinterpreting this or are you really one of those crazy nuts who still think that 666 is the devil’s number, when it’s actually 616? :rofl:

Perhaps I wasn’t overinterpreting anything, was I?

That is a symptom of belief. Hardcore believers actually believe, that everyone believes the same as they do, but they just “hide” it.

That said, of course we cannot trust companies. Of course, we cannot trust politicians. Nothing new. However, what Zach Vorhies or you are saying is again the whole making a destruction of a universe out of a serious societal issue. Sure, it’s a serious issue, but what Zach and his fans are saying is the same old one-sided propagandistic crap. It’s not there to inform people, but to manipulate them.

1 Like

All interpretation , also the ones I believe ofcourse… are no Reality, but only the mind believe a. lot of ideas. I doubt if you have read the discription given in the book “Google Leaks”. To me it seems to be a discription of what can be seen every week…as result of these Company policy’s. I don’t go any further into “yes” or “no” discussions. SO feel free . :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: