What’s the best private search engine? We compare the two most notable privacy-focused services, Startpage and DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo vs. Startpage
Country of Jurisdiction
While they do not collect any search data that can be traced back to you, the country where they operate may give them some added benefits when considering privacy laws.
DuckDuckGo is US-based. Startpage is based in the Netherlands, which comes under the scrutiny of EU laws.
DuckDuckGo does not collect your IP address but logs the search queries without personally identifying you. No information is tied to you for the search query terms that you look for with them. The search terms are mostly used to improve their search results or track trends while keeping you anonymous.
For Startpage, they do not collect anything, not even the search queries, unlike DuckDuckGo. Technically, Startpage gets an edge here.
Startpage relies on Google’s Ad network to display any advertisements related to what you search for. And DuckDuckGo utilizes Microsoft’s Ad network to show up advertisements on the search results page. None of the ads are based on your personal search activity.
Fortunately, both let you disable the ads if you want to.
Search Result Quality
Startpage utilizes Google’s search index by making anonymous requests. So the search results are better right off the bat.
DuckDuckGo relies on Microsoft’s Bing and some indexing partners to provide you with search results. While it is comparable to Google’s, it can be different for a few specific queries.
If you want the usefulness of Google search results while still keeping search private, Startpage is a no-brainer.
If you want more customization options, integrated services, and additional offerings, DuckDuckGo looks to be an easy pick to go with.