Google is among the big tech giants seemingly living in a false universe where we have no other choice but to use their products.
The big tech giant permeates into as many areas of our digital lives in order to harvest more and more personal data to make you more valuable to advertisers.
Google collects data about your every click, search, tap, and location from its broad big tech dominant position. You may be surprised by what Google knows about you — and that you can stop feeding the big tech beast.
Google is not the only game in town. Check out these very useful search alternatives.
Best Google Search Alternatives
- Dutch-based search engine that lets you get Google search results while protecting your privacy under more strict EU privacy standards.
- Does not store personal data.
- Does not track user searches.
- Removes all trackers and logs by paying Google to use its search engine.
- Does not serve ads based on your search history.
- Cannot be forced to comply with US govt surveillance programs like PRISM since it is based in the Netherlands.
- Less about privacy and more about gathering a lot of search results from many sources. The metasearch engine fetches results from Google, Yahoo, Bing and others
- Puts links into categories to help you search grouped results.
- Search engine based in Germany that donates 80% of its profits to nonprofit organizations that help with planting trees.
- Searches are private and encrypted.
- It is available on Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge browsers as a default search engine.
- It’s B Lab-certified which means it operates with a higher level of transparency and accountability
At one point this popular site did not track you, however, new evidence has recently come to light.
How to change your default search engine on an iPhone
Launch Settings > tap Safari > Search Engine. > select from list of search engines
How to change your default search engine on Android devices
(They don’t make this easy should come as no surprise. )
- Open the Chrome app
- To the right of the address bar, tap More with the 3 dots in a column.
- Go to Settings.
- Under “Basics,” tap Search engine.
- Select the search engine you want to use.
One of the best ways to determine what search results work best is to open each of these alternative search sites and put them to the test looking up the same thing on Google and the alternative search engine. It may be a small dent in big tech’s grip, but frankly you may be surprised how well these alternatives perform compared to Google.
Bonus: 5 important settings to change on your Chrome browser
1/ Unlink browser from your Google account
- Click Preferences from the Chrome menu > Settings > Privacy and security > Sync and Google services > from Allow Chrome sign-in > switch toggle to Off so that it does not automatically log in your browser to your Google account
2/ Turn off sending usage data to Google
- From same section turn off toggle from Help improve Chrome’s features and performance
3/ Turn off URLs you visit being sent to Google
- From same section turn off from Make searching and browsing better
4/ Turn off Sites can ask to send notifications
- Click Preferences from the Chrome menu > Settings > Privacy and security > Site Settings > click Notifications in the Permissions section > turn off Sites can ask to send notifications
5/ Set new default search engine from your computer’s web browser
- Click Preferences from the Chrome menu > Settings > Privacy and security > scroll down to Search engine section and make selections to alternative search engine instead of Google
More ways to take back your privacy on Google:
More Privacy tips:
- 4 Easy Ways to Block Robocalls Fast
- How Your Security Camera Can Be Hacked
- How to Stop Amazon from Sharing Your Internet with Neighbors
- Map buried inside your phone reveals where you have been and photos you snapped there
- How to Give Ring a Quick Privacy Checkup
- Don’t make this one mistake when getting rid of your old phone
- Working from Home? How Your Boss May Be Watching You
- Real-life Spy Catcher Sweeps My House and Finds Everything
Originally published April 6, 2021 and Updated February 22, 2022