Qwant. Online search without ad tracking

Besides Android, the web search is the largest data source for Google. Everything we search, what we are interested in, is used by Google for personalised advertising. Moreover, the algorithm shows us search hits, which it thinks will interest us because we have visited similar sites in the past – the so-called filter bubble.

The search engine Qwant (qwant.com) that was created in Germany in March intends to do all this better than Google. It doesn’t collect any data for advertising purposes; the French operating company finances itself by providing its technology to other companies and websites. Moreover, Qwant does not show personalised search results but the same results for all users when they look for a particular search term. By default, the search hits are arranged in five columns: general web hits (Web), latest news articles (News), a field called Qnowledge Graph with information (mostly from Wikipedia), shopping results (Shopping) and publicly visible content from Facebook and Twitter (Social). In the individual columns, one can also refine the search by typing additional terms.

The view can also be changed – the List View which is similar to Google or the Mosaic View (which looks quite messy). But it underlines Qwant’s approach of encouraging its users to dig around and discover things. That is why you can directly view videos on the site, a function that has been missing in Google for a long time. If you are not satisfied with the search results of Qwant, you should try Startpage by Ixquick (startpage.com). Startpage provides Google hits that have been anonymised via a proxy service. Here, the search queries are sent to Google, but without the transmission of personal data.

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