Private Search Engine Startpage Expects Influx of Bing Users
In the last year, Startpage searches have jumped 140 percent, to well over 2 million searches per day. Albrecht correlates the company’s impressive growth with the decline of privacy standards at other major search engines.
Microsoft is claiming unprecedented new powers over user data. Under the old terms, contents of emails sent through its Hotmail service might be used “solely to the extent necessary to provide the service.” (See link to old terms of service below.) But starting September 27, Microsoft can pry into Hotmail messages and its other cloud services, such as Skydrive, to profile users and deliver them targeted advertising — even change the search results they receive.
Startpage spokesperson Dr. Katherine Albrecht denounced Microsoft’s new policies.
“Hotmail users will be stunned to learn that their emails are now fair game,” she says. “People don’t like being spied on and served censored search results. If I send an email to somebody, I don’t expect my comments to be reflected in my search results the next day. Email messages should be private and so should search results, and the twain should never meet.”
Startpage plans to launch a snoop-free competitor to Hotmail called Startmail early next year. “We want to give our users the security of knowing their email is never read and their search results are not biased or tampered with in any way. We don’t collect or store any personal information. Nada, zilch, zero,” said Albrecht.
- Transfer to startpage for all searches (you’ll get Google results, without handing them your data).
- Transfer to startmail in 2013.