Each and every time you enter a search expression into a textual content box in a world-wide-web browser, you go away a path of electronic breadcrumbs, and many companies — most of them American — make a minimal cash. Each and every research is tracked, analyzed, classified, and squeezed for ad earnings.

In just Europe, Google has a 93.6% marketplace share of web queries, according to Netmarketshare.com. Bing has 2.7%. Russia’s Yandex has just 1.6% — though it has 64% of Russian market place share.

Search businesses accumulate knowledge on users’ lookups, so they can personalize search final results and deliver much more person-suitable on the internet ads. The ensuing individual profiles consist of an astonishing quantity of data about you, which includes information and facts that could easily be used to infer your political preferences, between a great deal else.

Globally, net look for industry share is divided among Google (70.6%) and Microsoft’s Bing (13.%), China’s Baidu (11.8%), Yahoo (2.3%), Russia’s Yandex (1.2%), and DuckDuckGo with .43%. The only European lookup firm in the top 10 is Berlin-primarily based Ecosia, in ninth spot globally, with a .12% current market share — but it relies on Bing look for final results.

Masks present privacy

Andreas Wiebe, founder of Switzerland-primarily based net lookup enterprise SwissCows, discussed to DW that some research organizations assist consumers defend their privacy by creating a cutout or mask which lets people look for Google or Bing with out receiving tracked: “These search services strip a user’s research query of pinpointing details, send out the look for term to Google or Bing, wait around for final results, and then return success to the consumer.”

For example, the Netherlands-primarily based search firm StartPage, which received a 2019 customer selection award from German client organization Stiftung Warentest, is a privateness-focused mask about Google research success. The well-known US-primarily based look for organization DuckDuckGo is a mask in excess of Bing lookup success, as is France’s Qwant.

Ecosia also utilizes Bing, but it won’t prioritize person privacy. Its distinctive advertising place is that 80% of Ecosia’s gains assist tree-planting assignments: as of July 2020, additional than 100 million seedlings have been planted working with Ecosia’s share of research-generated advertising revenues.

Indexing the world wide web is high priced

A couple of smaller search organizations go outside of merely becoming a mask around Google or Bing, and operate their very own “world wide web crawler” software program to index and store website web pages independently.

SwissCows has its have internet crawler, but “our look for benefits are a hybrid,” Wiebe reported. “When you place a look for term into SwissCows.com, about 20% to 25% of results are created from our have index the relaxation are from Bing.”

Search engine DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is lesser-acknowledged online search engine that puts an emphasis on preserving searchers’ privacy and averting the filter bubble of individualized look for results. The look for company went into operation again in 2008

SwissCows’ promoting point is “semantic search,” which makes it simple to accomplish a sequence of conceptually connected queries a solid emphasis on privacy and a family-welcoming filtering-out of violence and pornography.

Exalead, a device of France’s Dassault Systemes, has its very own search engine, but also mostly depends on Bing. MetaGer, a spinoff from the University of Hanover, combines benefits from its have partial index of the net with success from other search engines.

Wiebe needs Europe to establish the info centers necessary to aid fully European search engines, but his tiny company cannot find the money for to do it alone: Indexing the billions of website web pages is “a gargantuan work out that would consider a pretty huge knowledge center six or 7 many years to finish, necessitating tremendous amounts of pc energy, electricity, and funds,” he explained.

“Google and Bing have the potential so do China’s Baidu and Russia’s Yandex. No one else has. This is why most research organizations just offer a mask about the search benefits from Google or Bing.”


Startpage, founded in the Netherlands in 2006, claims to be the world’s to start with private search engine. The firm claims it does not monitor, log, create user profiles, or share user knowledge. So how does it make dollars?

“We make revenue by contextual promotion relevant to a website’s content. Meaning if you lookup for bicycles, you can be served with bicycle-relevant adverts alongside with your look for effects,” Startpage co-founder and CEO Robert Beens advised DW. “This is distinct from behavioral promotion” — the sort utilised by Google and Facebook, amongst others — “which taps into personalized data these as pages frequented, lookups carried out, hyperlinks clicked, solutions obtained, and site.”

Although Startpage can be made use of from any net browser, in May the corporation inked a deal with Norway-dependent Vivaldi Technologies, the firm behind the feature-abundant new Vivaldi browser. Vivaldi features added privacy-boosting equipment to shield people from trackers and undesired adverts, together with complex, extremely user-customizable tab administration, user interface, and navigation device choices. 

Why trouble?

Specified that users’ lookup privateness can be retained just by making use of a assistance like Startpage, DuckDuckGo, or SwissCows as a cutout to avoid Google or Bing from figuring out or monitoring end users, why ought to Europe trouble going to the excellent expenditure of environment up a rival to Google or Bing?

Andreas Wiebe claims Europe’s dependency on American facts facilities weakens its negotiating placement in the bilateral trade romance, compromises Europe’s capacity to properly employ its very own data privacy laws, and tends to make it much easier for the US government to implement monetary sanctions versus foreign targets even when Europe does not assistance the sanctions.

Europe’s electronic landscape is dominated by American companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and “setting up a entirely European data infrastructure would help a much better European electronic companies market to emerge,” Wiebe explained.

“We need to have some European electronic champions.”