Mojeek is a UK-based search engine with the vaguely Google-mk1-esque motto ‘doing what's right', which, according to the company's blog, includes not tracking its users, serving unbiased results and running on the UK's greenest data centre, Custodian.
Mojeek grew out of a personal project by founder Marc Smith. It's funded by private investors but the company is considering opening up its APIs or taking advertising to bring in further income.
Unlike the metasearch engines listed here which aggregate the results of other engines, Mojeek runs its own crawler and search algorithms which were devised and maintained in house. Thus far, the Mojeek crawler has indexed around 2.5 billion pages.
The site is nice and clean with a single search box and web, image (from Pixabay and Bing, at least temporarily) and news tabs. Searches can be filtered by region - UK, France, Germany and the European Union. Searching is fast with results page split into general links plus news and Wikipedia where there's a match.
Boolean filtering using ‘+', or putting quotes around phrases doesn't seem to do much, although a search for ‘escape from -google' does eliminate the term ‘google'. For more obscure searches results can be a little sparse compared with the big guys, but the company recently took delivery some more servers to house a larger index so this should improve. There's a basic app for Android.
Overall Mojeek is worth a look, particularly for UK or Europe-centric searches or, because it ranks pages in a different way, if other search engines don't dig up what you're looking for.
Pros: Uses own search algorithm so can sometimes dig up fresh results
Cons: Small search index means results can be sparse
New kid on the privacy block is Infinity Search. This is a metasearch engine that wears its sources on its sleeve, or more accurately on the right-hand bar of its results screen. Its code is open source.
Currently, Infinity Search combines results from the DuckDuckGo
Instant Answers and Bing APIs, and the company is in the process of integrating results from Mojeek with a custom ranking algorithm as well as developing its own search algorithm and crawler.
Infinity Search runs on the AWS Lambda serverless platform for scalability and has plans for new features including a news search engine (imminent), video and image search. Longer term, there are also plans for a decentralised search engine for use with peer-to-peer networks. Founder Andrew Wyatt says he created Infinity Search with customisability and respecting users' privacy in mind "especially since many of the main search engines do the exact opposite". There are Spanish and German language options, a browser extension for Firefox, but no mobile apps to speak of as yet.
As far as the business plan goes, it's about non-tracking ads, a planned ad-free Infinity Search Pro desktop application and selling affiliate links such as TradingView widgets for stock searches. The company deploys the user-anonymising Fathom Analytics to monitor site traffic.
It's early days, but Infinity Search has got off to a promising start. The interface is clean and quick and the sources bar includes results from Internet Archive, GitHub, Twitter and Wolfram Alpha as well as all the usual suspects, although unhelpfully clicking on a source sometimes brings back an empty list. It's basic for now but we look forward to seeing how this one develops. To infinity and beyond!
Pros: Quick, clean and open source, nice simple UI
Cons: Very new so a few rough edges and no apps, source buttons should be hidden if no results found
What have we missed?
There are lots of privacy-respecting search projects out there in various stages of development. Some are still very basic, some seem to have hit the pause button while a few have apparently gone under. Are there any we've missed? Let us know below.
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