Anonymous searching

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Came across some recent tech news items regarding Scroogle this week – http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm – don’t use .com, that’s a porn site! Apparently Google has switched off a search scraping service which allows you to use Google search results through your own interface. This was apparently due to Google dropping support for IE6 – how these two relate I don’t know.

This caused Scroogle to stop working but it piqued my interest enough to investigate further, especially when a a few days later Google re-instated the service and Scroogle was back up and running.

Scroogle is a means of obtaining Google search results anonymously – they use various techniques like IP obsfuscation and cookie manipulation to make sure Google cannot track your searches i.e. cannot link it with your Google account etc. Scroogle delete all the info they collate within 48hrs of your search and you don’t get Google advertisements on your search results page – it feels just like the early days of Google, no clutter, just basic results. Marvellous! So I started using it and have not looked back.

They provide a helpful set of instructions for adding Scroogle to the IE search provider list which enables you to change the default search engine and the search engine box, at top right of IE, to Scroogle:

1. Go to Microsoft’s add search provider page: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/en-en/default.mspx

2. Paste in the test search link to the URL box: http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbw.cgi?Gw=TEST

Microsoft Search Provider Web Page

3. Type in ‘Scroogle’ for the name.

4. Hit the Install button.

5. Tick to make default search provider and hit Add button.

 

Adding Scroogle Dialog

That’s it – your default search provider is now Scroogle – you should now see a red, green and black crossed through ‘G’ icon in your search box.

The only problem I have found is that you do not get the ‘Cache’ link appearing on the results for the Google cached content – this is sometimes useful when trying to access cloaked content i.e. Experts-Exchange.com, but otherwise I have found the service faultless.

At the time Scroogle went down they were advising people to use another alternative anonymous search engine which you may want to check out as well:

http://www.ixquick.com/

And they have a page for adding it to IE here: http://us2.ixquick.com/eng/download-ixquick-plugin.html

Author: James

IT Manager - Network, Web coding, MS SQL and Online Mapping expert

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