Between hackers stealing credit card info from major retailers like Target and the NSA spying on the digital activities, security breaches fill the news nearly every day. Such stories only remind you to do everything you can to protect your online life, including your searches.
For example, what if an investor discovers that you’re using Google Search to look up financing. Could he rightly or wrongly infer that you’re looking for a loan because your business is in trouble? He could then avoid giving you any money for your new venture. Or what if a competitor discovers that you’re researching wholesale suppliers and prices for product x? She might think you’re about to carry the item and get the jump on your plans by carrying it herself.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that turning on your browser’s privacy mode will help. This only prevents your activities from being recorded on your own system. It’s only useful if someone goes digging into your physical drives.
To protect your searches from external snooping, you need a product like Disconnect Search, which works with your favorite search engine. Whether you use Google, Bing, or Yahoo, Disconnect Search routes your searches through its servers, where any identifying information is stripped. It then passes your queries to the search engine and returns the results to you. The engine thinks that Disconnect servers sent the request, not you.
Disconnect Search is available for free as an add-on for several browsers. If you’re not sure, try it out on their website. You might notice a slight but negligible delay as the searches are rerouted. Some results may differ, such as those that depend on your geographic location, because your search engine doesn’t know where the request is coming from.