A new London-based search engine, Oscobo, just launched promising an anonymous searching experience on a platform that won’t sell or store user information.
Having spent 12 years working at Yahoo, co-founder Fred Cornell says he has seen for himself how the search engine industry harvests user data for financial gain.
Cornell was inspired to start Oscobo after growing uncomfortable with the lack user privacy offered by the leading search engines. He argues more data is being collected with what is needed, and people are starting to become more concerned about how that data is used.
The privacy search market is growing at a faster rate than the regular search market, Cornell says, likely referring to the successes of DuckDuckGo over the past year. Just recently it was reported that DuckDuckGo grew 70% over 2015, and this past summer it reached the milestone of 10 million searches per day.
Oscobo aims to be the UK’s answer to DuckDuckGo — a privacy-based search engine built for the UK market. While anyone can use Oscobo, at this time it is built to deliver results for a UK audience. Throughout 2016 the company will roll its search engine out to more countries, along with country-specific search settings for those countries.
At this time, Oscobo does not have any of its own search technology. Instead, it is licensing its search index from Bing/Yahoo. This is an indication that Oscobo does not intend to compete on tech, but rather on its ability to offer a more private searching experience.
The privately-funded company intends to make money through what it describes as simple paid search. Its paid search ads will rely on the most basic search data — what a person types into the query box.
Being London-based, Oscobo has a unique advantage in the privacy search market: it cannot be forced to provide user data at any point. US-based search engines can be forced to provide data on its users to law enforcement.
Oscobo is live and available to use today at Oscobo.co.uk.
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