Blur lets you search privately on Google
Google Search is without doubt the most popular search engine globally. It is the major search engine, often with 75% or more market share, in most countries.
There are only a few countries, China or Russia for example, where Google Search is not the dominant search engine.
If you like to use Google Search but are concerned about privacy you have a couple of options to deal with that.
You can switch to a search engine that uses Google results but offers better privacy, Startpage comes to mind, or use proxy servers or virtual private networks instead.
The browser extension Blur, formerly known as Do Not Track, offers another option. It enables you to use Google Search like you would normally but prevents that searches, IP addresses or clicks on the site can be linked to each other and connected to you.
Note: Before you can use Blur you need to create an account at the company website (Abine). The latest download of the extension becomes available for Chrome or Firefox after you have signed up. (You can download the extensions directly on the Mozilla and Chrome web stores but at least on the Mozilla site, it is not the latest version that is offered)
You may need to enable private search in the Blur interface before you can use it on Google. To do so click on the extension icon in the browser and select settings from the menu that opens up. Click onÂ settings for all sites and make sure that protect my search is enabled there.
When you visit Google Blur highlights that it is enabled on the site. You see the Blur icon on top of the search field and verification that your searches are anonymized by the company.
The search results page highlights that as well, and you will notice that you remain on Google.
I asked Abine about their implementation to better understand how it works. According to the company, private servers are used as proxies when users search on the site so that the IP address of the user searching on Google is not revealed.
In addition, cookies and user agents get replaced as well so that they don't leak information as well.
Abine assured me that they don't keep records that can be associated with users. This includes the IP address and other data.
Blur has more to offer than that including secure password generation, email masking and tracker blocking. You can find out more about the extension on the company website.
I'll stick to Startpage as my number one search engine but if you prefer the real deal on Google, Blur may be an option for you if you are worried about your privacy.
The whole idea is ridiculous – I mean the need for account at 3rd party company that claims it will protect my privacy. How we can be sure if Abine won’t sell data harvested from its users somewhere else? Because they’re saying so? Meh.
I don’t think you need the account to use Blur to search. It is linked to an online dashboard with information though. I just tried and signed out, and private search seems to work fine (at least the indicator is still displayed).
I agree with insanelyapple. A privacy service should not require you to create an account on their servers.
Works for me
Im not up going to create account with a 3rd party to
makes no sense at all
This. Either use Startpage or DuckDuckGo. You can also redirect DuckDuckGo to Startpage with the !sp bang.
1- “Before you can use Blur you need to create an account at the company website (Abine)” : count me out.
2- Disconnect Search (https://search.disconnect.me/) with the choice of 4 search engines, Google included, and NO account required.
3- Searchonymous Firefox add-on, no proxie but Google cookie manipulation.
Abine, Abine, Abine … oh brother.
Thanks for mentioning Disconnect Search. Wasn’t aware they offered a web search.
Trying to block trackers is a total waste of time. Using DuckDuckgo won’t help you. It just stops Google. But what about the thousands of others? There are too many of them and they have hundreds of ways to track you.
No matter what you do you cannot block browser fingerprinting. But some browsers give out less info than others. Opera used to give out the least before they switched to Blink. I haven’t checked it lately so I don’t know what it’s like now.
Instead I just block cookies to sites where I don’t have accounts so I don’t have to keep wearing my hard drive out scanning for them with Superantispyware. If you don’t remove them they build up and slow your computer down. Superantispyware is the only malware scanner that can find them all and remove them.
I do that also, Firefox has good settings for that, block all third party cookies, and a setting to allow only specific cookies to set out of the box. However, it isn’t enough, every website has trackers from third parties that use things like http request to build a profile of you whether you allow cookies or not.
That where these addons comes in disconnect, ABP+easyprivacy, ghostery do those things. Even then, assuming you allow no cookies at all and have those privacy addons, they will still be able to track you and build a profile of you through something like canvas fingerprinting which some companies already use. It is a relative thing, like everything else, you do what you can and don’t stress over the things you can’t.
Block the Google Corporation from stalking you, allow the Abine Corporation to stalk you instead.
Out of the frying pan, in to the fire…
Completely agree with insanelyapple and Tom Hawack.
I am out, I am not going to be bothered with registration. Change the registration idea and I ‘may’ consider, as abine, you have already lost credibility.
Try https://search.f-secure.com/ It anonymizes any collected data + provides safety status for every link in the result. Powered by Google.
Do a search on Google and on the above, then compare with right on a link in the search result to see the difference in tracking. The F-Secure search takes you directly to the site you want while the Google search phones home reporting what link you clicked on.
In Firefox for example you can use right click on a link and select Inspect Element to see where it’ll take you.
Although F-Secure Search claims that it is powered by Google, the former’s result output seems to be sorely lacking.
For instance, when searching the exact same term, Google gives 93 results, but F-Secure Search gives 0 results.
Blur may not be a scam, but I see red flags anyway and will not try it.
One more NSA Company…
DuckDuck is doing good for me.
Abine bought the rights to GoogleSharing, a now-defunct addon that added a proxy to Google searches.
Perhaps Abine merged GoogleSharing’s code into Blur?
I have to say I really value many of the articles and features you highlight on this site. Blur is one I think you may have wrong. I’m in I.T. and was using it for many years not only on my own machine but on local workstations as well. During the time it was under Abine and called DoNotTrackMe (I’m guessing before Blur purchased Abine), it was wonderful! Easy to setup, four or five options to modify and that was that.
Now, since its become Blur, its become way more intrusive, requires a login and password, has other unwanted features like email masking and continues to have irritating pop-ups even after editing the settings. I registered with a throwaway account and continue to use it but will only do so until something better comes along.
They have many, many complaints on the Mozilla addon page I agree with quite a few of them. You’ll see a large spike in these complaints when Blur took the addon over. I think some from the company login in give the ratings a boost with one sentence praises and five star ratings periodically when too many complaints lurk near the the top of the list. Read the negatives, try Blur, see for yourself. Its nothing like how it was and I bet this is just a stepping stone before it becomes completely fee based. On this point I may be wrong but that seems to be the trend of good working utilities these days.
What about Tor browser (bundle)? Isn’t that enough?
Personally, I find it strange that a service claiming to promote user privacy would require users to register beforehand.
Like the Blur add-on, the free ZenMate Security & Privacy VPN add-on also requires users to submit & confirm a valid email address in order to activate the VPN.
Interestingly though, I don’t seem to encounter as many protests against registering with ZenMate …
Two venture capitalists are the sponsors of this company Blur …. so then you know it …. money, money, money.
I’d rather prefer to use Googles search engine for the best results.
agree creating an account with a third party to search privately is ludicrous
DuckDuckGo regurgitates Bing results which makes it quite inferior for results quality. I still try to use it every other search but it’s just not that good.
i dont trust abine and never
Why is everyone so adverse to paying for something? If you don’t pay, YOU become the product. At least when you pay, there is a reasonable expectation that you are the customer and they have to answer to you. I would like to hear what people think about their security, encryption, and so on, not whether they have a free or pay product.