Posted by: kurtsh | August 7, 2011

HOWTO: Search Google anonymously

imageI’m an avid Bing user.  On rare occasion, I find myself wanting to check another search engine other than Bing for search results. 

The problem is:  If I check Google, I don’t want my identity, PC, or search details or search activity tracked back to me, and I certainly don’t want Google collecting information about what I do from my PC.  (Something they do actively monitor because your unique behavior is valuable to advertisers for targeting)  Between the details they attempt to collect from all the people using AdSense & sites leveraging Google Analytics, it’s hard enough trying to stay away from their tracking.

I’ve written about this before, but just to reiterate, to configure your machine to alternatively search Google without:

  • getting your search stored on the Internet in logs for longer than 24 hours
  • having your Internet search terms & usage behavior tied to your identity
  • revealing what you click on in the search results and having it captured

WHAT TO DO
Follow the following steps in Internet Explorer (7/8/9):

  1. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/en-en/default.mspx
  2. Enter https://ssl.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbw.cgi?Gw=TEST in the field labeled:  “Paste the URL of the Search results page”
  3. Enter “Scroogle SSL” in the field labeled: “Specify a name for the search provider”
  4. Press ENTER button.  A dialog box called “Add Search Provider” will appear.
  5. Press “Add” button.

From this point on, anytime you want to alternatively search Google, simply type your search query into the URL field in Internet Explorer and select the Scroogle SSL search icon – which should look like a G with a circle & slash through it:

image

WHAT THIS DOES
imageThis leverages Scroogle, a 3rd party entity that exists to help protect your identity from Google and prevent your preferences, choices, and Internet behavior from being tracked by Google.  This will accomplish the following:

  • Act as a go-between between you and Google to prevent them from tying your search query to your personal computer, browser, identity, and of course tracking tags like cookies – Scroogle replaces all your identifying information with that of Scroogle.
  • Clear your search from the face of the earth in 48 hours by wiping their logs nightly – as opposed to being archived for months if not permanently
  • Securely transmit & receive your search query & results to & from Scroogle over SSL to prevent traffic scanners like WebSense and other tools from inspecting & recording your activities
  • Filter out Google advertising except for paid-placement in Google’s search results

WHO IS SCROOGLE?
Good question.  A good deal about Scroogle and what they do and why they do it is written up in the following two links:


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