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Startpage is a Dutch search engine company that highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature.[1][2][3] The website advertises that it allows users to obtain Google Search results while protecting users' privacy by not storing personal information or search data and removing all trackers. also includes an Anonymous View browsing feature that allows users the option to open search results via proxy for increased anonymity.[4]

Type of site
Search engine
Proxy server
Available inMultilingual
HeadquartersWilhelmina van Pruisenweg 104, The Hague, the Netherlands
OwnerStartpage BV
ParentSurfboard Holding BV
  • 1998; 25 years ago (1998) (as Ixquick)
  • 2002; 21 years ago (2002) (as Startpage) began as a sister company of Ixquick, a metasearch engine founded in 1998. The two websites were merged in 2016. In October 2019, Startpage received a significant investment from Privacy One Group,[5] a subsidiary of System1.

History Edit

Early history Edit

Ixquick was created in 1998 by David Bodnick in New York City.[6] Initially, it provided metasearch for 14 different web and directory search engines as well as images, news, and MP3 engines.[7] Results were sorted after evaluating how relevant each of the search tools found the query.[8] Surfboard Holding BV, a company based in Zeist, Netherlands, and led by CEO Robert E. G. Beens, acquired Ixquick in 2000.[9] Ixquick was re-launched on 23 March 2005 with new features including a redesigned metasearch algorithm.[6][10] began as a web directory in 2002[11] and started mirroring Ixquick the following year.[12] On 7 July 2009, the company re-launched to fetch results only from the Google search engine.[13] Prior to the release of Tor Browser version 4.5 in April 2015, was its default search engine.[14]

Merger and recent history Edit

On 29 March 2016, was merged into the search engine.[15] As of 2017, Startpage fields an estimated 2 billion searches. The company was one of 200 European companies that opposed the F.C.C. implementation of policies ending net neutrality.[16]

In October 2019, Privacy One Group, owned by adtech company System1, acquired a majority stake in Startpage. An initial lack of transparency surrounding the deal caused some concern among privacy researchers, leading to its removal from the PrivacyTools review website.[17][18] After responding to questions from PrivacyTools team members, Startpage was able to clarify that the acquisition would not impact their privacy-focused mission, and its recommendation was ultimately restored.[19][20] According to the company, its "founders may unilaterally reject any potential technical change that could negatively affect user privacy".[21][22] By maintaining its headquarters and operations in the Netherlands, Startpage continues to be protected by Dutch and European Union (EU) privacy laws.[23]

In May 2020, Vivaldi announced that its browser had added Startpage as an optional or default search engine.[24][25]

Products Edit

On 27 June 2006, following criticism of Google Shopping, the website began to delete private details of its users.[26] Ixquick stated that it does not share the personal information of users with other search engines or with the provider of its sponsored results.[27][28] According to The New York Times' Wirecutter, Startpage does not store user's personal information or search data.[29] A May 2020 review of the website on ZDNet also states that Startpage "does not track, log, or share data or searching history".[30]

In 2011, Startpage received the European Privacy Seal, a European Union–sponsored initiative that indicates compliance with EU laws and regulations on data security and privacy through a series of design and technical audits. It was re-certified in 2013 and 2015.[31] The company has also completely ended the recording of user IP addresses since January 2009.[32] Because Startpage is based in the Netherlands, it is also "not subject to US laws like the Patriot Act, and cannot be forced to comply with US dragnet surveillance programs, like PRISM."[33] Startpage has also contributed €20,000 to NOYB, the non-profit organization founded by Max Schrems, which is committed to launching strategic court cases and media initiatives in support of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.[30]

The company also provides a stand-alone proxy service, Proxy, which is incorporated into the Startpage search engine.[34] This feature, known as Anonymous View since 2018, allows users the option to open all search results (except advertisements) via the proxy.[35][36]

StartMail, founded in 2014 by Startpage CEO Beens, was developed to offer a privacy protecting email service.[37][38] StartMail also allows the creation of disposable and permanent email aliases for each account.[37] Phil Zimmermann, the inventor of the PGP encryption system who Startpage hired in 2018 to advise the company on privacy technology, has also helped develop StartMail's PGP-encrypted email service.[39]

Since does not collect user data, it does not serve targeted advertising based on user data history. The company generates revenue from its search engine by providing contextual advertising based on the keyword used to perform a search.[30]

Features Edit

Startpage uses results from Google, for which it pays.[40] As of July 2020, Startpage allows searches in 82 languages,[41] including Bengali, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.[42]

The website has tabs for web searches as well as tabs for image and video searches. In November 2019, Startpage added a tab for news.[43] According to the company, news searches are "not curated or personalized" and "every user who looks up the same term at the same time gets the same news".[44]

In June 2022, the company added "Instant Answers", a feature that displays information directly on the search engine for topics such as weather, maps and Wikipedia. Unlike Google, Startpage doesn't offer "featured snippets", which are answers extracted directly from relevant websites. In contrast, Startpage's "Instant Answers" only get information from a dozen websites.[45]

References Edit

  1. ^ "First European Privacy Seal Awarded". 13 July 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  2. ^ "EU Awards First Privacy Seal to Online Search Engine". Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  3. ^, "Free Search Engines: What You're Looking For?", 19 January 2015, retrieved 5 April 2016.
  4. ^ "How does Anonymous View work? - Support". Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  5. ^ Startpage (19 September 2019). "Building a more private internet experience with Privacy One Group". Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b Dowdell, Jason (23 March 2005). " Q & A With David Bodnick & Alex van Eesteren". Marketing Shift. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  7. ^ Bradley, Phil (22 January 2019). "Search Engines: 'Ixquick', a Multi-Search Engine With a Difference". Ariadne (23). Retrieved 22 January 2019 – via
  8. ^ "Computer Shopper (November 2000)". 1 November 2000. Retrieved 22 January 2019 – via Internet Archive.
  9. ^ "Alternative zu Google: Ixquick bzw. Startpage". 11 June 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  10. ^ "New Ixquick International Search Engine Unveiled" 23 March 2005.
  11. ^ " Homepage". Startpage. Archived from the original on 1 April 2002. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  12. ^ " Homepage". Startpage. Archived from the original on 9 February 2003. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  13. ^ "What is the difference between StartPage and Ixquick?". Startpage Support Center. 26 July 2015. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Tor Browser 4.5 is released". Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  15. ^ "We've streamlined the fight against Big Brother!". 30 March 2016. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  16. ^ Alderman, Liz; Tsang, Amie (10 December 2017). "Net Neutrality's Holes in Europe May Offer Peek at Future in U.S." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  17. ^ Leonard, John (13 January 2020). "Escape from Google: 12 privacy-promoting search engines reviewed". Computing. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  18. ^ "PrivacyTools beveelt Startpage niet meer aan na onduidelijkheid over investering". Tweakers (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  19. ^ "Privacy-focused search engine Startpage gives more details of the System1 investment". 3 July 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  20. ^ "Startpage relisted on PrivacyTools as a recommended private search engine". Blog. 4 May 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  21. ^ Brinkmann, Martin (18 November 2019). "Startpage replies to questions about ownership change". Ghacks. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  22. ^ Brinkmann, Martin (16 November 2019). "Startpage Search owner changes raise serious questions". Ghacks. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  23. ^ Sullivan, Laurie (15 January 2020). "Ties Binding Verizon To System1's Startpage Privacy Search Engine". InsidePerformance. MediaPost Communications. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  24. ^ Brown, Eileen. "Startpage private search engine now an option for Vivaldi browser". ZDNet. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  25. ^ Neowin, Paul Hill. "Vivaldi adds Startpage as search option under new agreement". Neowin. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  26. ^ " Eliminates 'Big Brother'". 27 June 2006.
  27. ^ Greenberg, Andy (15 February 2008). "The Privacy Paradox". Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  28. ^ "Ixquick: Privacy Policy"
  29. ^ Klosowski, Thorin (13 July 2020). "Our Favorite Ad Blockers and Browser Extensions to Protect Privacy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  30. ^ a b c Brown, Eileen (21 May 2020). "Startpage private search engine now an option for Vivaldi browser". ZDNet. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  31. ^ press release, "EuroPriSe: Privacy-friendly Internet search with Ixquick and Startpage reaffirmed" Archived 16 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine, 20 July 2015, Surfboard Holding B.V., Bonn, Germany, on website, retrieved 5 April 2016.
  32. ^ Duncan, Geoff (28 January 2010). "StartPage Search Engine Offers Anonymous Web Browsing". Digital Trends. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  33. ^ "StartPage to drop Yahoo from search results". belfasttelegraph. 17 October 2016. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  34. ^ Bradley, Phil (2017). Expert Internet Searching: Fifth edition. Facet Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-78330-247-5.
  35. ^ Brinkmann, Martin (25 October 2018). "Preview of the new". Ghacks. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  36. ^ Spadafora, Anthony (29 November 2018). "Privacy search engine Startpage launches anonymous browsing feature". TechRadar. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  37. ^ a b Aitken, Alastair (21 April 2014). "Getting started on StartMail - part one". Tech Wire News. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  38. ^ Benson, Thor. "Russia just blocked its citizens from using ProtonMail". Inverse. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  39. ^ "PGP Encryption Inventor To Advise StartPage Search Engine". MediaPost. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  40. ^ Startpage B.V. "StartPage". Archived from the original on 31 January 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2019. You can't beat Google when it comes to online search. So we're paying them to use their brilliant search results in order to remove all trackers and logs. The result: The world's best and most private search engine. Only now you can search without ads following you around, recommending products you've already bought. And no more data mining by companies with dubious intentions. We want you to dance like nobody's watching and search like nobody's watching.
  41. ^ "Feature Request: Can you add my interface language?". 21 July 2020. Archived from the original on 14 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  42. ^ "Settings". Archived from the original on 2 January 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  43. ^ Sullivan, Laurie (21 November 2019). "Bing Feeds News Through Privacy Search Engine, Ensures User Anonymity". Search & Performance Marketing Daily. MediaPost Communications. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  44. ^ Brinkmann, Martin (21 November 2019). "Startpage launches News tab to help users escape filter bubbles". Ghacks. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  45. ^ "Instant Answers". Startpage (owned by System 1). 3 June 2022. Archived from the original on 4 June 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2022.

External links Edit