Go! Duck! Go! By Chris Knight
We have been covering Big Tech doing all sorts of bad things re free speech. Google, well you know the story. But, there is an answer, at least if we believe what they are saying, and I can’t swear on a stack of Bibles that the following is true. But, just maybe it is true, and we should do the switch, big time, to the good guys:
“Gabriel Weinberg, CEO & Founder at DuckDuckGo (2008-present)
Updated Jun 29
#1 — Google tracks you. We don’t.
You share your most intimate secrets with your search engine without even thinking: medical, financial and personal issues, along with all the day to day things that make you, well, you. All of that personal information should be private, but on Google it’s not. On Google, your searches are tracked, mined, and packaged up into a data profile for advertisers to follow you around the Internet through those intrusive and annoying ever-present banner ads, using Google’s massive ad networks, embedded across millions of sites and apps. In fact, it’s a myth that you need to track people to make money in web search. When you search ‘car’ we can show you a car ad without knowing anything about you. That’s how we make money and it doesn't involve tracking because it is based on the keyword and not the person. Google could do this too; they just chose not to— all that tracking is to power their ad networks so that ads can follow you around the Internet using your search history and other information they have on you.
So-called incognito mode won’t protect you either. That’s another myth. “Incognito” mode isn’t really incognito at all. It’s an extremely misleading name and in my opinion should be changed. All it does is delete your local browsing history after your session on your device, but does nothing from stopping any website you visit, including Google, from tracking you via your IP address and other tracking mechanisms like browser fingerprinting. Here’s the fine print:
To keep your searches private and out of data profiles, the government, and other legal requests, you need to use DuckDuckGo. We don’t track you at all, regardless what browsing mode you are in.
#2 — Block Google trackers lurking everywhere.
Google tracks you on more than just their search engine. You may realize they also track you on YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android, Gmaps, and all the other services they run. For those, we recommend using private alternatives like DuckDuckGo for search. Yes, you can live Google-free. I’ve been doing it for many years. What you may not realize, though, is Google trackers are actually lurking behind the scenes on 75% of the top million websites. To give you a sense of how large that is, Facebook is the next closest with 25%. It’s a good bet that any random site you land on the Internet will have a Google tracker hiding on it. Between the two of them, they are truly dominating online advertising, by some measures literally making up 74%+ of all its growth. A key component of how they have managed to do that is through all these hidden trackers.
Google Analytics is installed on most sites, tracking you behind the scenes, letting website owners know who is visiting their sites, but also feeding that information back to Google. Same for the ads themselves, with Google running three of the largest non-search ad networks installed on millions of sites and apps: Adsense, Admob, and DoubleClick. You know those ads that creepily follow you around everywhere? Most of those are actually run through these Google ad networks, where they let advertisers target you against your search history, browsing history, location history and other personal information they collect. Even less well known is they also enable advertisers like airlines to charge you different prices based upon your personal information. These ads are not only annoying — they are literally designed to manipulate you through targeting to make you buy more things, and just showing them to you is an act of Google profiting off of your personal information.’
This piqued my interest and I went to the Duck people to have a Captain Cook:
Then I searched for … guess it … the Australian League of Rights, and other cherished publications. All came up like gold. Better yet, the site has a more “white” appearance than the luminous sort of blue which Google uses, which could be impacting on my sleep, or giving me indigestion. Overall, I am going to make the switch and see how I go. Readers can be the judge.