Anonymous Web Searching

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Anonymous Web Searching is obviously about searching without leaving tracks. This is a privacy topic that has gained lots of interest after all the fun with AOL user's search records happily released by AOL. We have seen, that what you are into can be easily linked back to you, even if your searches are pseudonymized, as AOL's were.

There has been a lot of paranoia about Google recently. This is mainly because of their omnipresense. They say they want to organize all the data in the universe, a nice way to put the concept of data mining. They have gigabytes of your mail, all your searches (linked together by cookies and IP-s). They know where you're surfing thanks to Google Analytics and Google Adsense. They can have your files by Docs & Spreedsheats. Maybe you'll even pay by Google Checkout, surely they'll find you on their own Google Maps... This differs from other companies, that do not have all of these sources. Like, say, eBay know who you are paying by Paypal, and what you're shopping on their site. But that's about it. Google have much much more.

Precausions can be taken, you'll want to block cookies from their domains. Surfing through a proxy helps. Obviously, don't do searches for your name. EFF have some more ideas.

Google logs for 18 months, then they change the IP and cookie data slightly. Microsoft does the same, but junks IP and cookie data after this time. Yahoo! does like Google, but after 13 months. Most small search engines log forever.

Privacy friendly search engines include: