Verizon Launches OneSearch Which They Claim Is Privacy Focused….. Yeah Right!

Privacy is a “thing” at the moment and I guess that Verizon sees that and wants to cash in on this trend by creating a privacy focused search engine via their Verizon Media division:

Verizon Media, the media and digital offshoot of telecommunications giant Verizon, has launched a “privacy-focused” search engine called OneSearch. With OneSearch, Verizon promises there will be no cookie tracking, no ad personalization, no profiling, no data-storing, and no data-sharing with advertisers.

With its default dark mode, OneSearch lets you know that Advanced Privacy Mode is activated. You can manually toggle this mode to the “off” position which returns a brighter interface, but with this setting deactivated you won’t have access to privacy features such as search-term encryption. With Advanced Privacy Mode on, links to search results will only be shareable for an hour, after which time they will “self-destruct” and return an error to anyone who clicks on it. More broadly, the OneSearch interface is clean and fairly familiar to anyone who has used a search engine before. But at its core, it promises to show the same search results to everyone given that it’s not tailored to the individual.

I had a look at the OneSearch privacy policy and it says that Verizon will store a user’s IP address, search query, and user agent on different servers so that it can’t draw correlations between a user’s specific location and the query that they’ve made. Another point is that it also says that it will monetize its new search engine through advertising. But  the advertising won’t be based on browsing history or data that personally identifies the individual it will only serve contextual advertisements based on each individual search,

Call me cynical, but I can’t see how OneSearch can call itself privacy focused. DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or store any of your information. That’s true privacy as far as I am concerned which is why I use it and not Google, Bing, or anything else. And it’s not what Verizon is doing with OneSearch as they are collecting your information, but simply storing it in different places which nobody on the planet can consider to be privacy focused. That alone makes me gunshy about ever using this search engine. But if you want to give it a try, OneSearch is currently available on desktop and mobile web, with mobile apps coming later this month.

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