To Google’s credit, you can opt out — if you know where to look. Head over to the Shared Endorsements page, sign in with your Google account and make sure the option at the bottom is not checked. Still, it’s a reminder where Google’s focus is. It’s keeping track of what you do so it can use that information in advertising. And don’t forget that your information is one subpoena away from ending up in a government database.
But it’s not like there’s a better alternative for search, right? Bing and Yahoo do the same thing. That’s true, but those aren’t the only alternative search sites around. Here are some that do the job and take your privacy seriously. Take a look at DuckDuckGo. Though it’s similar to Google, it doesn’t collect any information about you when you search. It matches Google Search in features and performance with a similar simple layout. Its “Goodies” features offer geographic search, calculators and more. You could literally spend hours checking out DuckDuckGo’s cool features.
Maybe there’s just one feature about Google’s search you really can’t live without, though. In most cases, you can find search sites tailored to that feature. Wolfram Alpha, for example, runs circles around Google when it comes to research and calculations. Just type in a question and it can usually figure out what you mean. You can even upload images to get more information about them.