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Category: Web, HTML, Tech

Confuse the search engines

I like to confuse the search engines. They don't need to know everything about me, or about you either. There are plenty of tactics you can use to make it harder for search engines to build up a profile on you.

One is to use more than one browser, and a different search engine on each. For example, I'll use the Google search engine on the Chrome browser, which I only rarely use anyway. But the main search engine I use is the privacy-oriented DuckDuckGo with the FireFox browser (also privacy-oriented). That way, Google doesn't know what I'm searching for when I use DuckDuckGo, and vice versa.

Blocking third-party cookies can indirectly limit the information browsers have on you, so this is definitely something that can help. It won't stop a search engine from knowing what you searched for, but it does limit the types of cookies that can be placed on your browser. So it's a way to decrease some of the information on you that is out there.

Another tactic is to occasionally do random searches on things you don't actually need information for, just so the search engines can't easily pigeonhole you into a particular profile. For this, you may like to use a random search term generator.

Yet another idea is to clear your browser history, cookies, and cache regularly. Obviously, it's not always convenient to do so, so if you do that you should first bookmark sites you visit often so you can find them again easily. But clearing your data is a great way to improve your privacy.

In particular, if you're doing shopping searches online, you might like to split them between different search engines, and also Pinterest. Between those, you should be able to find the various things you're looking for, without any one of those being able to build up a full profile on you.

Splitting your searches on different devices is another helpful tactic, although most likely that's something you're probably doing organically anyway. For example, if you're out and about you're probably doing your searches on your phone, whereas if you're already doing something on your laptop or computer then you'll probably anyway do your searches on that device.

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