Which search engine do you trust? [Poll]

For the past three years, we’ve done an annual poll to find out which web browser you trust the most.

We didn’t ask which browser you think is most secure, or which one you use the most in real life. We asked, simply, “Which browser do you trust the most?”

The results were, in a word, interesting. So, here comes a related question…

Which search engine do you trust the most?

In some ways, what you’re trusting in a search engine is different from what you’re trusting in a browser.

For the most part, your browser goes where you tell it.

So, what you want is a browser that won’t crumble if cybercrooks throw dodgy content at it in the hope of taking over your computer.

Also, your browser sees the content of every web form you fill in and every web page you read, so you want a browser vendor that won’t abuse that privileged position.

In contrast, you go where your search engine tells you.

Strictly speaking, search engines only advise you, and then it’s up to you to decide, but that decision is as good as controlled by what your search engine chooses to include and exclude, and the order in which it presents its answers. So you want a search engine that won’t abuse that privileged position.

After all, a link on the first page of results might be a website that has earned a high ranking through quality and trustworthiness. Or it might be little more than a secret ad, its position paid for behind the scenes.

Also, search engines typically learn an awful lot about you over time, based on what you’ve searched for and the results that you subsequently chose.

That means trusting your search engine provider not to sell that information to unreliable third parties, and also to stick up for your privacy if a surveillance agency asks it to hand over that information without due process.

Ironically, of course, the more a search engine knows about you, and the more aggressively it acts on that data, the more useful and likeable you’ll probably find the results. Nevertheless, those may not be the best results if objectivity is important.

In short, as with browsers, the handiest, or fastest, or most usable search engine may not the one you actually trust the most, for a wide range of reasons.

So…

….which search engine do you trust the most, and why?

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