By Samir Shukla
Start the New Year off right.
I'm not here to suggest resolutions that will be quickly forgotten. I'm here to give you a bit of your privacy back, if you choose to take action. It is simple. You're likely not going to do it, but I'll give a shout out anyway.
What am I talking about? Search engines. It's a plural word, but let's face it, there's one beast that has overtaken and dominates online searching and data gathering. Let's call that beast G***le. You know what I'm talking about. Here I'll also refer to it simply as G.
Most people use G out of formed habit, herd mentality and general laziness. Most searches are for routine, easy and obvious stuff - nearby restaurant, recipe for samosas, movies playing. These things don't require a monstrous data gathering overlord like G***le. Any of the other search engines will give you similar results.
Sure, if you're looking for the mating habits of dung beetles during the second week of monsoon in Botswana during a leap year, well, then maybe G will give better results. Most people are not that detailed searchers. Even for general school or college assignments, most searches are pretty rudimentary.
So what, you say. What else would you use?
How about a little quack?
I've been using the searcher Duck Duck Go for several years now. As an editor and writer, I do deeper online searching than most folks. Of course, I also do lots of quick cursory searches of convenience and general info like everyone else, and Duck Duck Go or, D, essentially gives the same results as G for both types, without doing bodily cavity searches and brain scans that G is set up to do.
Duck Duck Go is known for protecting privacy. They don't gather mass data or store IP addresses or user information. The search portal is an option if you are becoming averse to always using G.
Of course there's no such thing as complete privacy in our digital world, but that doesn't mean you can't take some precautions.
Most of the things we search for online are generally common and easy to find on any search engine. You don't need G***le to find it for you and then make you their data slave.
Yeah, many people use G docs or G suite. It's hard to get away from it, but possible with some effort. Here's a place you can really dump G***le. Your phones. Most searching done on phones is for quick, cursory information. This is where Duck Duck Go can help build a little wall against G, which is also beneficial on laptops or tablets, as well.
This year when you are looking for something, don't say G***le it, say “Duck it" and give Duck Duck Go a shot. I'm not a stake holder and I have no incentive to promote the company. I'm convinced after years of use that it is a much less sinister option then G, where the ever-pervasive tentacles of G have me waking up in a cold sweat some nights.
In the New Year kick out G***le and try Duck Duck Go. You'll help spread the wealth of information. There are of course many other search portals, but for simplicity the old cliché here can apply, D can slay G, David can slay Goliath. Ok, maybe not slay it, but you'll get a bit of your privacy back and G***le will acquire fewer bits of your soul.