Posted: 17 Nov 2021 Contributor: Ghia Marnewick
How Privacy-focused Search Engines May Disrupt Google's Future
As a society, many individuals around the world are concerned by the safety and security of our data. Not only that, but privacy is a growing issue whereby new laws and policies are being brought in so that consumers can take back control.
Privacy-focused search engines have become increasingly popular in recent years and the market for these search engines has grown to cater to those that want to protect their privacy on the internet.
So why are these search engines so popular and what does that mean for other major corporations like Google, whose search engine has been a leader for many online users for decades now.
Why do privacy-focused search engines exist?
Consumers have a growing need to protect their privacy and to have more control over who handles their data. 90% believe the ways their data is treated reflects how they’re treated as customers, according to a survey conducted by Cisco.
For businesses, it’s an on-going concern that data is protected and kept private for the sake of their customer relationships.
Privacy-focused search engines have likely come about because of the concern over privacy but also in relation to cybersecurity. There are lots more attacks on business and consumer data than ever before.
With technology around us advancing at a fast rate, more of our devices are invading our privacy too, whether we’re aware of it or not. An example of which, is voice-enabled devices, which uses what we ask for as data for advertising and sharing to other organizations.
Between January 1, 2005 to May 31, 2020 there have been 11,752 recorded breaches to date. Whilst Google is a very prominent search engine, it doesn’t put privacy at the forefront for it’s users and that’s why more of these privacy-focused search engines are popping up on the market.
What privacy-focused search engines are available?
There are many privacy-focused search engines now available in 2021. With so much choice, it can be difficult to know which ones you should be exploring, especially if you’ve been used to Google’s search engine for so long.
Here are a handful of Google search alternatives, privacy-focused options that are worth checking out.DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo is by far one of the most successful when it comes to privacy-focused search engines.
The ads are privacy-friendly and they’re often relevant to your searches. The algorithm of DuckDuckGo has also improved as the years have gone by. You can select your country to get the most relevant searches and despite it being private search engine, it’s surprisingly good for pulling up what you need as a user.StartPage
StartPage were responsible for the first-ever private search engine and the company helps raise awareness and protecting people’s right to privacy. Like other privacy-focused search engines, StartPage places the power back into the user’s hands rather than having very little control over where their data is stored and sold on to.Peekier
Why are privacy-focused search engines a threat to Google?
Despite the rise in privacy-focused search engines, in June 2021, Google had a market share of 87.76%, followed by Bing with 5.56% of the global market and Yahoo with 2.71%. However, it’s not necessarily something that Google should dismiss, especially as there’s more regulations being brought in to protect and encourage users to dictate who has their data and how they use it.
One of the alternative privacy-focused search engines mentioned on here, DuckDuckGo has geared up to become more prominent on the makret. It’s already surpassed the 100-million mark in daily mobile searches in January 2021 and has passed Bing’s share in the global market too.
These alternative search engines are a threat to the future of Google search, because they’re catering to a growing audience of users who want more privacy. They’re also filling in the gaps that Google lacks when it comes to what they offer as a service.What steps are being taken by Google?
In 2020, it was announced that Google would phase out the support in Chrome for ‘third-party’ cookies. These cookies are being less favored by users nowadays and Google was one of the last to play catch-up with Safari and Firefox having already blocked this technology out.
It’s certainly apparent that Google is taking the competition seriously and has recently joined the FLoC. The Federated Learning of Cohorts allows advertisers to track internet users without having to reveal their identity. Instead, it tracks their interests, which may require Google to focus more on your browser history.
How privacy-focused search engines will impact future SEO
There may be a different picture emerging when it comes to the future of search engines, SEO and how it will be impacted by the use of privacy-focused search engines. As such, you might see a few changes made that could include the following:Authentication for consent
Instead of cookies being used, there may be consent signals delivered based on what the user’s privacy preferences are. This may enable advertisers to improve their user experience for it’s consumers.Ad targeting
Ads may end up being targeted to what’s on the page, rather than what the user has been looking at elsewhere. However, it might be that the ads also relate to what the content entails. For example, if the reader is reading a blog post on travel, then holiday package providers might be advertised.
Privacy-foucsed search engines might not have much of an impact now but we could definitely see a significant change to the market and how we use SEO going forward.