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Which search engine do you trust? [Poll]

You've told us which browser you trust the most...but what's the safest search engine? Have your say in our poll...

For the past three years, we’ve done an annual poll to find out which web browser you trust the most.

We didn’t ask which browser you think is most secure, or which one you use the most in real life. We asked, simply, “Which browser do you trust the most?”

The results were, in a word, interesting. So, here comes a related question…

Which search engine do you trust the most?

In some ways, what you’re trusting in a search engine is different from what you’re trusting in a browser.

For the most part, your browser goes where you tell it.

So, what you want is a browser that won’t crumble if cybercrooks throw dodgy content at it in the hope of taking over your computer.

Also, your browser sees the content of every web form you fill in and every web page you read, so you want a browser vendor that won’t abuse that privileged position.

In contrast, you go where your search engine tells you.

Strictly speaking, search engines only advise you, and then it’s up to you to decide, but that decision is as good as controlled by what your search engine chooses to include and exclude, and the order in which it presents its answers. So you want a search engine that won’t abuse that privileged position.

After all, a link on the first page of results might be a website that has earned a high ranking through quality and trustworthiness. Or it might be little more than a secret ad, its position paid for behind the scenes.

Also, search engines typically learn an awful lot about you over time, based on what you’ve searched for and the results that you subsequently chose.

That means trusting your search engine provider not to sell that information to unreliable third parties, and also to stick up for your privacy if a surveillance agency asks it to hand over that information without due process.

Ironically, of course, the more a search engine knows about you, and the more aggressively it acts on that data, the more useful and likeable you’ll probably find the results. Nevertheless, those may not be the best results if objectivity is important.

In short, as with browsers, the handiest, or fastest, or most usable search engine may not the one you actually trust the most, for a wide range of reasons.


….which search engine do you trust the most, and why?

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May I just take this opportunity to say Thank you!
I have been following Naked Security from Sophos for quite some time now and I have learned so much! As an older person, computer land, for lack of a better word, can be quite intimidating. Sophos has become a trusted book of knowledge for me. I always look forward to reading your posts on Facebook. It truly is my most favorite stumbled upon find on the internet.
Thank you once again for your hard work and dedication to this informational site which has become a great source of comfort to me.
Warm regards,
Carol Simeone


I use DDG as my default, partially because of — With DDG I have a default of privacy, and then using bangs, I can choose how much data I want to leak, and to whom.

Plus, it just feels like the return of HotBot….

Reply and are the best for search results AND for privacy!

Reply is a “front end” for, that passes its IP, rather than yours, to, thus preventing from collecting information about you.

In short, is not a search engine, and what it returns is the results from


Interesting that almost 50% of he readers trust DDG, and when you mention DDG to non techs, they have never heard of it. I guess readers of NS know something that the general population does not know, like your administrator is not really asking you to verify your username and password (go phish).


I cant trust any of them. They all offer fake results at the top for many things.

I work as remote support. Its hard to guide a customer on the phone to install teamviewer with fake results, for example. That’s usually all i ask them to do because once I am in I know what legit.


I would prefer to avoid North American search engines altogether. They all track you, some just keep less detailed information.


Thank you so much Paul for this excellent article.

Like the first person to comment I too am very grateful to Naked Security……….your team has been of amazing benefit and help to me…….I’m also a senior citizen, in fact next February I will be entering an new entirely decade and every one asks me how I wish to celebrate……..but I don’t, but when I think of all my friends who are no longer around!, then, maybe I should.

Getting back to a trusted browser I’m currently on an iPad only, therefore using Safari. At different times I switched from Google to Duck Duck Go……………..I loved DDG, BUT, here in Australia when I try to access Naked Security on DDG it tells me that I am unable to access Naked Security in a safe manner in this country, so each time I’ve reverted to google.

I like DDG as I’ve got into the habit of editing my data at the end of each browsing session and there’s very little to have to deal with on DDG, compared to google even though I have everything set to minimise tracking etc.

Thanking you for all your amazingly helpful work, Rosie


My vote went to I like the open source-ness of it over DuckDuckGo.

On DuckDuckGo, I can never use it as a default for more than a week because it’s results are just awful. Quality wise I would rather use literally any other search engine (Ask even). is not bad either but I hate that their searches expire but I still use it occasionally when I need to copy a link from the results. I have to confess that in the end I always end up using Google again. Privacy be damned, convenience carries the day when it comes to me and search engines.


I prefer and recommend the usage of Google, and especially while signed into your Google Account. I say this, because when you search for something while logged in, then you can retrieve that search query from another computer via your google account activity dashboard. Meaning if on the road you are working on homework, and you wanted to share something with your coworkers you could log in and retrieve that search query and share the results.


First of all, never trust any service for privacy. One should always assume the data is captured somewhere. Second, never trust any search engine. One should always be aware of where you are going, when you click on a link. The vast majority of internet users have a very poor understanding of domain names. Thus, I feel Google does a good job of flagging questionable websites.


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