Search that doesn't follow you around


08 October 2018

3 min

someone descending stairs as their phone stays behind

Why we don't track you

personal information

At Mojeek, we don't want to know a single thing about you. That's because we believe it's your right to search the web without someone looking over your shoulder, just as it's your right to free speech. This is why we have a strict no tracking privacy policy, and in fact, were the first ever search engine to have such a policy. You could say, Mojeek was the original privacy focused search engine.

We do this because we think the large web search engines that most rely on every day are letting you down. They watch and analyse you, and record your every move. Many consider these search engines to be a free resource which you can trust, however, they are not free. These services are paid for with the integral part of what makes us all who we are, our identity. Your name, birthday, address, hobbies, emails, everything you've searched (and deleted), nothing is off limits in their pursuit of personal information. We think this is wrong, so we don't do it.

What affect does tracking have on results?

Many overlook the privacy flaws of other search engines saying "but personalised search gives me more relevant results". However, this is generally not true. Google has admitted that it uses very little search personalisation, with Pandu Nayak claiming "a query a user comes with usually has so much context that the opportunity for personalization is just very limited".[1] Therefore, the primary purpose of personalisation, brought about by tracking, is to increase advertising revenue.

Even if personalisation did sometimes help to provide more relevant results, this can still have a negative effect by creating 'filter bubbles'. This is when search engines that provide personalised results try to predict what information it thinks you would like to view, based on your location and browsing history. Being in a 'filter bubble' can leave you in a state of intellectual isolation, unknowingly kept in the dark of other viewpoints and sources of information. Recently, 'filter bubbles' have even led to an increase in user exposure to 'fake news' and 'echo chambers'.[2]

How we do it

We act on our own agenda and not that of others, this is why we focus our time on one thing and one thing only - "No tracking. Just Search." When you conduct a search on Mojeek, your results are based entirely on the keywords you typed in. Mojeek does not possess any previous identifying information on you, such as IP addresses, search history or click behaviour.[3] The results will be ranked according to what our algorithm considers the highest quality and most relevant. This was the traditional way search engines ranked pages and helped you to navigate around the web. We believe this is the right way.

Mojeek also has its very own searchable index of web pages, and therefore its very own ranking algorithm. This is unlike most "search engines", which retrieve their results from other engines and ultimately rely upon that providers ranking, which they have no control over. As Mojeek's is built from the ground up, and at every step the fact we don't track or have any personal information is taken into consideration, allows Mojeek's algorithm to be designed, and tailored, to better suit keyword based searching. Whereas, if your results are based on another engine that usually does rely on some personalisation, there's a chance you're simply removing a core part of their algorithm. Having our own algorithm is also what gives Mojeek the ability to provide genuine independent and bias free search results.

For more details on how we don't track you, check out our privacy policy.

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[3] At times Mojeek may decide to add some form of performance testing to help improve our algorithm, for example bounce and click through rates. If this was ever the case, it would be opt-in only and fully explained how and what information was collected. As per all other Mojeek preferences, it would have the most private settings activated by default.


08 October 2018

3 min

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