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This is startpage
Startpage calls itself "the most discreet search engine in the world". The service started in 1998 under the name Ixquick and was renamed Startpage in 2006. In 2019, Startpage was the test winner of Stiftung Warentest, and ten search engines were tested.
The provider is the Dutch company Surfboard Holding B.V. The US advertising and marketing company System1 has held a majority stake in the company through its subsidiary Privacy One Group since 2019. According to Startpage, the new majority shareholder should not change StartPage's privacy-friendly line.
How to use Startpage
You can set Startpage as the default search engine in your browser, for example in Firefox. The Chrome browser blocks Startpage as the default search engine. There you can at least set Startpage as the start page in the browser.
The company has been working with the privacy-friendly Vivaldi browser since May 2020. In addition to well-known search engines such as bing or DuckDuckGo, Startpage can now be selected as the standard search engine without having to be installed beforehand.
Startpage also offers an app for Android and iOS. However, this is not a full-fledged browser with all the important configuration options. According to the service, the app also delivers worse search results than the Startpage website.
We therefore recommend integrating Startpage as a search engine in the standard browser. Startpage has also been supporting the targeted search for news since 2019. Integrated trackers on news sites are blocked.
In addition to the search engine, the provider also has the paid e-mail service StartMail in its program.
Business model: advertising, but not personalized
Although Startpage has its own small search index, it mainly relies on the search results from Google. The advertisements that finance the offer are also provided by Google. However, there is one crucial difference to the Google search engine: Startpage switches between the user and Google for every search query.
Google's search engine only sees one search query from Startpage; Startpage then forwards the search results to the users. Thus, Google does not receive any information from the person searching.
As a result, the advertising on Startpage is not personalized either. So you won't find the weather in your city or an adapted cinema calendar and it doesn't matter in which restaurant you last made a reservation. The search engine treats users like strangers.
There is only a rough filter based on the country in which you are located. The displayed advertising is based on the search term, not on the search profile or the exact location of the user.
Startpage reduces tracking
The anonymity of the search can also be extended to the websites found. Via the link "Anonymous view", which the service displays next to a search hit, Startpage offers access via a concealment computer, a so-called proxy.
This hides its own IP address and other data from the websites accessed, so that their providers cannot draw any conclusions about the visiting person. The websites cannot save cookies in the user's browser either.
Startpage promises to completely dispense with so-called tracking cookies that track user activities. It is said that you use a "harmless cookie" that only remembers the settings of the user - and nothing else.
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