Thursday, 1 March 2012

Start Page

To celebrate Google's new 'privacy' policy, I've added a new box on the right of this column, Start Page search, right under the Tango Blog List. Start Page (it used to be Starting Page) is ingenious: it uses Google search, but doesn't pass on the ID of your computer, doesn't, in fact, even note the ID of your computer. So you get to use Google without Google knowing where your search is coming from. This extra stage in a search means a delay which I've found imperceptible, but bearing in mind what a detailed picture of you your search engine is building up, it's probably worth it.

Anyone knows anything wrong with Start Page, do let me know.

PS. The button to click to search is to the right of the box: if you aren't using full page width you may not see it. However, if you click on 'Start Page' it will take you to the main search page.


Preen and Ogle said...

See message I received when using image search on this site. Is it really safe?

The security certificate presented by this website was issued for a different website's address.

Security certificate problems may indicate an attempt to fool you or intercept any data you send to the server.
We recommend that you close this webpage and do not continue to this website.
Click here to close this webpage.
Continue to this website (not recommended).
More information

Tangocommuter said...

Hi P&O, thanks for this. I've used Start Page for a couple of weeks now without any problems, certainly without any problem with the security certificate. I'm not sure if that warning comes from Windows itself or from security software; my security software is absolutely up-to-date! If the warning comes from Windows you'd expect any Windows PC to show it.

Start Page seems to come with good credentials: the parent company, Ixquick, has been doing this kind of thing for seven or eight years, and the product has been awarded the European Privacy Seal, and 'Ixquick is the first and only EU-approved search engine'. I checked the web (using Google!) for problems with Start Page, and none are mentioned.

I don't like the accumulation of personal data, but what really troubles me is the possibility that web searches can be tailored to what the software thinks you want to know, based on past searches. The info it throws at you is always based on an interpretation, on what it thinks you want to know, but at least that should be in a fairly straightforward way. In other words, I'd prefer to define the terms of a search as and when I make that search.

Anyone with any more specialised knowledge of this field, be really glad to hear from you!

Chris said...

It doesn't work for me, TC. I..e entering some text and clicking Search has no effect. Also, the text entry box sticks out of the side of your layout. This on Firefox and Chrome.

Tangocommuter said...

Thanks, Chris. Yes, I mentioned both these points in the PS. But I've been using StartPage instead of Google for weeks now, and have had no obvious problems with it. As I said, if you click on the StartPage logo (instead of using the box) you go to the main SP page, and can search from there.

As there's a problem with this bit of code, or with the reading of it by Blogger/Firefox, I might have to remove it. A pity. I think it is well worth drawing attention to. Another interesting security possibility is Abine, a Firefox extension, which closes down tracking cookies, but it doesn't prevent the accumulation of data by most search engines.

Chris said...

TC, this layout failure is additional to the one you mentioned in the PS - I am using full width.