Concerned that Google's got a bit too much of your data? Startpage promises a search experience that doesn't record your IP address or any individual data, letting you search and browse in relative anonymity.
The Australian version of Startpage has launched this week, based on technology from Ixquick. You can choose to connect to the site via SSL and to view picture thumbnails via a proxy — both options will slow you down but will maximise privacy. Most of the standard search engine operators are there, and you can restrict searches to pictures, phone numbers or video results.
But is it good enough? We've touched on the idea of switching search providers to maximise your privacy before, when Gina switched to Yahoo! to avoid Google having too much data. One big problem with that is that Yahoo! in Australia simply doesn't offer the same range of options as its US counterpart, or (more pertinently) as Google. Neither does Bing, and neither, as far as I can see, does Startpage, despite integrating results from nine existing engines for its results.
Even leaving aside personalisation (a necessary sacrifice if you want privacy), you don't get the ability to search news or maps. You don't generally get more than a few pages of results, and those often seem to feature duplicates. For mine, private browsing mode is still a better alternative when privacy concerns rear their head.