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Google Goes HTTPS!

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

In a move that has most people saying "huh?", Google launches SSL search capability! By adding HTTPS to the front of your bookmark or homepage like so: https://www.google.com, you will be using Google's new service.

This is the same as Google's normal search engine with a few important differences:

  1. Searches are encrypted from your browser to Google. While Google still knows who you are and everything you search for, anyone between you and them no longer will (thus the magic of HTTPS). So now when you're on the road (cafe, hotel, airport etc), the people who run or are listening to that network traffic won't be able to see what you search for or what results Google sends back.
  2. Any results you click will not forward a "Referrer" value. Normally, when you click a link, the page you visit gets to see where you just came from (called the referrer value). Since the page you came from was a Google search and the search terms are part of the URL, every page you visit gets to see the terms you used to find them. Google SSL removes that keeping your search terms private from websites you visit.

Combine this with the "private" browsing functions of all major Internet browsers and you'll leave little to no record of anything you search on your computer or the networks in-between. It still doesn't solve the problem of Google recording your search history against your will, but it's a great start!

Note that only web search and not others (like image search) are secured at this time, but Google may be looking to add those in the future.

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DuckDuckGo – New Search Engine Choice or Dud?

DuckDuckGo.com
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Every now and then, there's a new search engine released that tries to play with the big boys, but they often fail. Usually its because of speed, maybe financial backing, sometimes user interface, but most often because they don't do the job well.

So here's one that may be worth some attention. Like Google, they focus on keeping very minimal and having a nice interface. But unlike Google, they make an effort to help you find what you are actually looking for:

They also include some summary information right in the search making it possible to skip visiting the site at all if you don't need to or at least getting a better feel for what the site is about before going. And according to their About page, they store NO personal information (which has long been a complaint of mine about Google).

So far, they're doing a lot right, but with Google having just released HTTPS for searches, the competition is even stiffer. I wish them luck.

Check them out yourself here.

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Compare Bing to Google

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The first search engine to ever challenge Google has finally arrived and it's from Microsoft. Once you quit laughing, you should really give it a try. Microsoft's Bing has a lot of potential and several features that are actually better than Google (here and there).

If you want to just compare the two side by side, try http://www.bingandgoogle.com/. Enter a search term and the site will submit it to both search engines for you and show you the first page of results side by side. Happy hunting!!

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Safe Search Engine For Kids

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If you've been caught by surprise doing web searches with your kids and found something you really didn't want to explain, maybe Ask.com's new kid-safe search is worth checking out.

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Cuil (Cool) New Search Engine

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As with most new search engines, it's not that impressive out of the box. It doesn't seem to return much in the way of more relevant results than any other page, but the makers of Cuil (pronounced COOL) are saying that they index more pages than any other search engine. Because their algorithms analyze the content of the pages and categorize that way, in theory, they should return better results.

Their advantages are a clean, simple interface (like Google), but unlike Google, they don't keep logs and records of your searches to track you. As this is my only real complaint against Google, if they could just do as well as Google with the search results, but have better privacy, then perhaps Google's time is done.

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Visual Dictionary Helps Find “Whats-it-called” With Pictures

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It's a little light on content at the moment, but I think this has potential. If you can't remember what something is called, you can hunt it down visually via connections to other pictures that are related or part of it.

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Google is Most Popular – From the “Well Duh!” Department

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Recent polls show that Google is the most popular search engine by far. Depending on the rater, Google served between 50 and 70 percent of all web searches with Yahoo running from 15 to 30 and MSN at around 6 percent. The Microsoft number is the one that interests me.

Overall, the rankings have to be cause for concern for Google's competitors. Microsoft, in particular, has to be shaking its head. The company has been aggressively pursuing the web search market, completely revamping what is now known simply as Live Search. No matter what Microsoft does when it comes to search, it seems that Google has an answer and the bigger Google gets, the harder it will be for the competition to close the gap.

If they're shaking their heads, then something is wrong. It's no secret why Google is on top. They're simple, they're clean (very few ads of any kind and all are text based instead of flash), and they WORK! I barely have a bookmarks folder anymore because I only need to enter a few search terms to get right to any page I want (most of the time).

Even if another company can replicate the results, I will avoid them and recommend others do to when there's an option like Google where you don't have to be harassed by ads.

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Using HTTPS For Secure Login and Payment Online

Making online accounts is useful and fun, but doesn't mean much if someone can capture your login information and use it against you. Make sure to use this simple trick to prevent that from happening.

[Click for full description]

Using HTTPS For Secure Login and Payment Online

Making online accounts is useful and fun, but doesn't mean much if someone can capture your login information and use it against you. Make sure to use this simple trick to prevent that from happening.

[Click for full description]