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.