One of the important things when you do an internet search is how do you see results of the search and how private is your search. For many years Google was the ‘one and only’ search engine which had everything a person should want or need: ease of use, beautifully presented and the best search results on the internet. Well, this is not the case anymore. Let’s take a look at the whole picture (it’s simplified version):
Google is too popular and too important not to care about ‘everyone’. In order to satisfy ‘everyone’s’ needs, whether is it government or corporate or even private, it has to track everything you do on the internet.
- Google trackers are lurking on 75% of websites.
this means it tracks what do you search for and where do you go
- Google uses your data for ads that follow you around.
This can be useful if you like ads, but in most cases it isn’t, because advertisers can follow you across two million different websites and apps.
- Your personal data remains in Google indefinitely.
It can be subpoenaed by lawyers, including civil cases like divorce. Google answered over 100,000 requests last year!
Using alternative search engines, such as DuckDuckGo, you can take back your privacy!
Which is, of course, recommended by all means.
Google says: “It is our policy to respond to clear and specific notices of alleged copyright infringement. The form of notice we specify in our web form is consistent with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and provides a simple and efficient mechanism for copyright owners from countries around the world. To initiate the process to remove content from Search results, a copyright owner who believes a URL points to infringing content sends us a takedown notice for that allegedly infringing material. When we receive a valid takedown notice, our teams carefully review it for completeness and check for other problems. If the notice is complete and we find no other issues, we remove the URL from Search results.”
The above is not true, and here is the evidence:
A week back, onlyonekenobi.com received a Removals notice from Google. A post was removed from Google’s search result pages. The reason was a DMCA complaint that onlyonekenobi.com is, allegedly, offering illegal free downloads of the tagDiv WordPress theme which I stole from them.
You can check the accusation on a public website: DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google
Why is it not true:
- If Google team really checked my post they would notice that there are no links to any downloads in my post.
- They would notice that the only thing shared in a post is my own code modification of a php file.
- WordPress is and Open Source project, and if you check its license, you can notice that it is a GPL. This means that anyone making themes or plugins for WordPress has to license it’s code as an GPL.
- Newspaper theme ships with GPL license, where they also state they will happily share the theme for free with anyone. (They will happily share their product for free, which is free anyway – funny)
- The Envato, an online marketplace where you can obtain original Newspaper theme files for a price, states in their License agreement that “any product which is shipped with a GPL license, completely bypasses their license agreement.” This means Envato license is not valid for anyone who bought the Newspaper theme. Only the GPL license is valid.
- tagDiv team states that only the CSS files are not under GPL, but under Envato licence. Not like they can choose, but Envato clearly states that if the product has anything to do with the GPL, then they don’t want anything to do with it anymore for the licensing part.
Conclusion here is that, if nothing else, php files are 100% GPL and you can do anything you want with the php files: sell, modify, share.
All this information is public, and as I see it, Google team is very sloppy. Turns out anyone can submit a DMCA removal for anyone, and Google will remove the content even if the content is 100% legit.
(UPDATE: Pursuant to the counter notification you sent us, we have reinstated the following URLs: … ) – meaning after my ‘counter notification’ Google had no choice but to reinstate the post back to search results.
Privacy invasive Google is. Ad words, Ad Sense, Analytics, Webmaster tools, Scholar, Classroom, Gmail, Translator, Gdrive and many many other free and really excellent tools keep people using Google and its products. Me too. (they give us all that for free so they can keep spying)
But, when it comes to pure search engine and privacy, I am using DuckDuckGo more often than Google. There is no DMCA restricted content in the results, no trackers and the best part is your searches and results are only yours to see… and then you move away to a web location known only to you and nobody else. So why to use DDG? – Privacy. Plain and simple, results are about the same.
There are other popular search engines like StartPage (not very good results) or Searx that almost completely rely on Google to get good results. In that respect, DuckDuckGo is the only real alternative there is.
A person, Dylan, once said: “Google’s monopoly on information is so large and influential that to ‘google something’ has taken on a meaning of its own and is now a generic term for to look something up.“, which is true, sadly.
The way it collects data, Google can know what you’re thinking or doing. Google keeps track of every search you’ve ever made, where you made it, and which of their service you were using while you made it. Said that, it’s very easy to know or guess what you were doing and thinking at any point in time that you had an internet connection. “With that much information about any given person comes a lot of power over that person, and I’m not willing to hand that kind of power over to a ruthless money hungry mega corporation for that sake of convenience.”, said Dylan.
So, say hello to DuckDuckGo.
- The search engine that doesn’t track you.
- They don’t store your personal information. Ever.
- They don’t follow you around with ads.
- They don’t track you in or out of private browsing mode.
The whole point is not to STOP using Google completely. The point is not to use it as a search engine. I will continue using Google’s services, such as Gmail and Gdrive, Webmaster tools, even the search engine, but with greater caution. At this time DDG provides uncensored results, which are better than Google’s, and I do find it much more useful compared to what Google has to offer.