Everything from search engines to the NSA seem to have a need to track you. What if you could get a little more control over what prying Internet eyes see, at least while searching? Disconnect Search does just that. It’s not private browsing, but private searching. For a free tool, it’s surprisingly powerful and easy to use.
Disconnect Search debuted in a beta version in October 2013. Users could only use via a Firefox or Chrome plug-in. In just five months, 50,000 users were already enjoying the benefits of private search. However, with the tool coming out of beta, that number is expected to rise drastically.
No More Beta
The tool is now out of beta as of March 24, 2014. During the beta period, the developers were hard at work ensuring the tool would be widely available to all types of users.
You can now use it directly from via the web if you don’t want to install yet another plug-in for your browser. Visit Disconnect Search, enter your search term and use the drop down box to choose your preferred search engine. Remember, any search engine will be privatized by Disconnect.
If you’d prefer to download the plug-in, simply open your browser, visit Disconnect Search’s main site and click Get Disconnect. The plug-in is now available for Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
You also have one more option – Android. You can now search privately on your Android device with the free Disconnect Search app. It supports searching via Google, Yahoo, Bing, blekko and DuckDuckGo.
How It Works
All searches you perform are re-routed through Disconnect’s servers. When search engines and your ISP try to track you, they can’t see any search terms. This prevents third parties from collecting data about you based solely on your searches.
Website owners may not like this next part, but when you click a result, the site won’t be able to tell what search term you used to get there. In some ways, this is a good thing because it forces site owners to write site content for the user, not based on incoming search terms.
Why Use It
If you love having personalized search results, search suggestions based on previous searches, custom ads and searches being limited based on search patterns, this tool isn’t for you. If you’d rather keep your searches private and your results unbiased, try out Disconnect. I recommend using the web version first to see if you really like it before downloading the plug-in or if you just want to use the tool occasionally.