Verizon Media, the media and digital offshoot of telecommunications large Verizon, has launched a “privacy-focused” search engine known as OneSearch.

The launch comes at a time when public trust in massive know-how firms has hit all-time low following numerous reviews of breaches, lapses, and information harvesting escapades. Consequently, “privacy” is just about the buzzword of selection emanating from most of the large tech firms, and with its new search engine, it’s clear that Verizon is adopting a related tack. With OneSearch, Verizon guarantees there will likely be no cookie monitoring, no advert personalization, no profiling, no data-storing, and no data-sharing with advertisers.

How it seems to be

With its default darkish mode, OneSearch lets you realize that Advanced Privacy Mode is activated.

Verizon Media launches OneSearch, a privacy-focused search engine

Above: OneSearch search engine by Verizon Media

You can manually toggle this mode to the “off” positionn which returns a brighter interface, however with this setting deactivated you gained’t have entry to privateness options equivalent to search-term encryption. With Advanced Privacy Mode on, hyperlinks to search outcomes will solely be shareable for an hour, after which era they are going to “self-destruct” and return an error to anybody who clicks on it.

Verizon Media launches OneSearch, a privacy-focused search engine

Above: OneSearch: Advanced Privacy Mode toggled to “off”

More broadly, the OneSearch interface is clear and pretty acquainted to anybody who has used a search engine earlier than. But at its core, it guarantees to indicate the identical search outcomes to everybody provided that it’s not tailor-made to the person. “OneSearch doesn’t use your search habits or profile data to filter or optimize search results,” it mentioned. “OneSearch gives you a wider, deeper range of results without bias.”

Verizon Media launches OneSearch, a privacy-focused search engine

Above: OneSearch: Flower outlets close to me

How non-public is ‘private’?

Verizon isn’t any stranger to controversy for its use of overly pervasive monitoring know-how. Back in 2016, Verizon paid a $1.4 million fine to the FCC for so-called “supercookies” that observe which web sites customers on its cellular community visited. Verizon, clearly, would like to have the sort of advert community that Google operates, however with OneSearch Verizon is just about pitching itself because the antithesis of Google, with out name-checking its adversary particularly.

“We deeply believe in consumer trust and choice, both for our user community and our partners,” famous Verizon Media’s head of shopper product Michael Albers in a press launch. “In support of our commitment to trust and transparency, we are excited to launch OneSearch, an innovative new online search experience built for privacy-minded searchers.”

In the OneSearch privacy policy, Verizon lays out the way it will and gained’t use private information. For instance, as a part of its “search optimization process,” Verizon mentioned that it’ll retailer a consumer’s IP tackle, search question, and consumer agent (information in regards to the consumer’s {hardware} and software program configuration) on totally different servers in order that it may’t draw correlations between a consumer’s particular location and the question that they’ve made.

Verizon mentioned that it’ll monetize its new search engine by promoting; nonetheless, the promoting gained’t be based mostly on shopping historical past or information that personally identifies the person — it is going to solely serve contextual ads based mostly on every particular person search. This implies that a search for “pizza delivery” might present paid search outcomes for on-line pizza supply shops. For such queries to be related, nonetheless, there does have to be a diploma of localization concerned, which might partly clarify why Verizon mentioned that it could present the consumer’s “general location” to its promoting companions — studying between the strains right here, this probably means at a metropolis or neighborhood stage, provided that Verizon maintains that it gained’t go the consumer’s IP tackle to its promoting companions.

There aren’t any scarcity of privacy-focused search engines on the market, with the likes of DuckDuckGo already proving standard with hundreds of thousands of individuals world wide. But Verizon Media has a massive attain by its varied associates and deep pockets, so we will maybe anticipate to see OneSearch crop up inside varied on-line entities sooner or later. Indeed, Verizon did in actual fact trace at one other potential monetization mechanism for OneSearch involving licensing — it mentioned that it’s in search of companies with an curiosity in privateness to combine OneSearch into their very own merchandise.

As a aspect level right here, it’s value noting that the OneSearch title was previously used by Yahoo (which is now part of Verizon Media) as a part of a cellular search product greater than a decade in the past. And that, it appears, was probably the genesis of Verizon Media’s OneSearch — in spite of everything, it already owned the area title, so why not use it?

OneSearch is obtainable from right this moment on desktop and cellular net, with plans afoot to launch native cellular apps later in January. For now, OneSearch is tailor-made to the North American market, however Verizon mentioned that it’ll localize it for different nations “quickly. “