Google Search has been ingrained in my daily life, and I’ve been using it since before I was even a teenager using a Pentium 4 computer. Before Google, I had used AskJeeves and a mix of other search engines that really sucked, like Yahoo!. Fast forward to today, I often wonder why there are only a few alternatives to Google Search that we can seriously consider in order to improve privacy and personal data security.

In this article, I highlight the top two search engine alternatives to Google that I personally use, and you should seriously consider the winner. Are you interested in protecting your personal data and privacy more when you search? Keep reading.

Brave Search (Beta):

The Brave Browser, co-founded and launched by the world-renowned inventor of JavaScript and co-founder of the Mozilla Foundation, launched in 2017 and in 30 seconds was able to raise $35 million via its cryptocurrency initial coin offering for the Basic Attention Token. Since then, Brave has added a suite of products, including Brave Talk, as well as most recently, the Brave Search Engine.

Brave Search Engine for the keyword 'Big Tech'
Brave Search Engine returns results for the keyword ‘Big Tech’

Let’s dive right into this: how does the Brave Browser and its associated Brave Search make money, if not by monetizing personal data? And how useful and private are the search results?

Business Model

Brave is a privacy-focused internet browser built on the open-source Chromium project. It lets users navigate to websites, load web applications, and consume online content. Brave shares the money it makes through the Basic Attention Token, by sharing 70% through its Brave Rewards, directly with users. Brave Browser users (over 50 million active monthly users) can also tip creators, who can sign up their Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, or website account through their publishing program. Brave’s revenue comes from in-browser ads including banner ads, sponsored images on the Brave new tab image rotation, push notification ads, as well as by selling digital and physical products through its online store. They are also considering trialing a new subscription fee model, like the Brave Talk model (a Zoom and Google Meet alternative which is hands-down the best video conferencing software, built from the ground up).

Privacy & Personal Data Security

The Brave Search engine is purpose-built based on solely utilizing search intent, meaning it won’t use any data it knows about your affinity interests, location, or in-market customer data points that Google utilizes. This makes it ultra-safe, and it ranks a 10/10 for privacy. Read more about Brave’s privacy features here.

Relevancy & Usefulness of Search Results

The Brave Search Engine employs its own search algorithm and is still in beta. Some searches you may find no results for or inaccurate results for, but generally, it ranks 9/10 for relevancy and useful results. For searches that may not be the best, there is an option to include anonymized Google Search mixing directly within Brave Search, too! More here about it.

You can set Brave Search to be your default search engine in your browser here. You can also check out this discussion about Brave Search on the Joe Rogan show:

Startpage: “Take Back Control of Your Privacy!”

Startpage is a European-based search engine that features:

  • Personal data and search history are never recorded
  • IP address is removed by servers we manage
  • Block price trackers
  • Prevent retargeting ads
  • Anonymous View browsing masks user’s identity on other websites
  • Completely unprofiled search results, delivering the same information to any user
Startpage search engine
Startpage Search Engine results for the keyword ‘Big Tech’

Let’s go deeper into this: how does the Startpage search engine make money, if not by monetizing personal data? And how useful and private are the search results?

Business Model

To date, the search engine has had over 2 billion searches as of 2017, and its business model is simple. They mainly earn money by delivering contextual advertising. Users get ads based on search queries, not personal data. More on their business model here.

Privacy & Personal Data Security

They don’t save your search history as Google does, and they have an amazing feature called “Anonymous view” which, when you click into a search, uses their web proxy, not your phone or computer. So, if the website you visit wants to do a location check, they will see the IP address for our web proxy in the European Union, not the IP address that leads to your device. And for this, they get a 10/10 for privacy and personal data security. Read more about Startpage’s privacy here.

Relevancy & Usefulness of Search Results

The Startpage search engine employs its own search algorithm and its origins date back to 1998 when they were known as Overall, it ranks 10/10 for relevancy and useful results.

While I also considered Swisscows, a European search engine, it was quite terrible; we have also de-listed DuckDuckGo due to their confirmed censorship and targeted de-listing, and considered others but they didn’t make the cut.

I’ve done hundreds of searches on Brave Search and on Startpage. In light of Brave Search when compared to Startpage and all the associated privacy and personal data security benefits, Brave Search is a winner due to the fact that it ties-in with more privacy-first software and associated cryptocurrency called Basic Attention Tokens you get when you use the associated Brave Browser, or their free Zoom alternative Brave Talk.

I implore you to explore the Brave Search engine at and to visit our Safe Internet Day website for more information on protecting your personal data and your privacy.

Explore more at No More Google for privacy-friendly alternatives to all Google products if you’d like to dive deeper into more privacy-first tools and software.

Anything that is privacy-first, must always, always be censorship-resistant. At all costs.

March 2022 update: be sure to also stay far away from DuckDuckGo due to their recent algorithm alteration based on the CEO’s anti-privacy, opinionated de-ranking of “Russian” outlets by its CEO. Many formerly loyal users of DuckDuckGo have now called it “DuckDuckGONE” due to the recent censorship decision to make information inaccessible, highlighting the clearly anti-privacy, biased nature of it and its CEO.