Most people think we are crazy when we tell them we've spent the last two years building a private search engine. But we are dedicated, and want to create a truly independent search engine and to let people have a choice when they search the internet. It’s important to us that people can keep searching in private This means we don’t sell data about you, track you or save your search history in any way.

  • What do you think?Try out findx now, and ask us whatever question comes into you mind.

We are a small team, but we are at your service. Brian Rasmusson (CEO) /u/rasmussondk, Brian Schildt (CRO) /u/Brianschildt, Ivan S. Jørgensen (Developer) /u/isj4 are participating and answering any question you might have.

Unbiased quality rating and open-source

Everybody’s opinion matters, and quality rating can be done by all people, therefore we build in features to rate and improve the search results.

To ensure transparency, findx is created as an open source project, this means you can ask any qualified software developer to look at the code that provides the search results and how they are found.

You can read our privacy promise here.

In addition we run a public beta test

We are just getting started, and have recently launched the public beta, to be honest it's not flawless, and there are still plenty of changes and improvements to be made.

If you decide to try findx, we’ll be very happy to have some feedback, you can post it in our subreddit

Proof:
Here we are on twitter

EDIT: It's over Friday 19th at 16:53 local time - and what a fantastic amount of feedback - A big thanks goes out to everyone of you.

Comments: 1484 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

Tox1c_1576 karma

What sets you guys apart from duck duck go or the likes which already claim to achieve anonymity when searching online?

Brianschildt1417 karma

A couple of things I believe, we are based In Europe for one thing, but the main difference is that we have created our own index, and not is a meta-search engine. This gives us independence and more control over ranking feed back options etc. a bit more about search engines here

Tox1c_249 karma

Thank you very much :)

honkytonkadumptruck150 karma

came to ask the same question, now just want to say thanks for this! you will be replacing duckduckgo on my phone.

Also, nice work on the fast, smooth transition animation from the first page

gorkish66 karma

That animation is cool maybe ONCE. Not all of us want to use movie-computers that beep every time you push a key.

Brianschildt90 karma

Uhh... not the first time we get that one... this is just more ammunition to go through the use of animations - thx.

evilfisher91 karma

why are all the pictures only shuttershock garbage watermarks

Brianschildt230 karma

We didn't focus on image search yet, but it is definitely something we will make happen in the future. How about the web search and map search, did you find that usable?

-WhistleWhileYouLurk562 karma

I'll take the hit and get these out of the way:

How does your engine compare to Bing for porn?

How would you recommend using your engine to find specific porn results?

How much pornography have you indexed so far? A lot, or just a little?

Brianschildt337 karma

Bing is really good at porn... I think... - we have not put any effort into porn or any other subject. Safe search is available to remove violent and adult content from your results. If we have indexed a webpage you can find it. We havn't stats on porn as such - but make a search and try it out.

Do you think we should avoid or include porn results?

-WhistleWhileYouLurk276 karma

I guess that's a question of branding. I think that having a safe, anonymous engine for that sort of thing would drive more traffic.

But, if you wanted to brand yourselves as a more straight-forward information based engine, that could attract a certain dedicated audience as well. Every other engine indexes pornography, so being the one that focuses your efforts elsewhere may benefit you.

Of course, you could always try it without and see if you get the kind of traffic you're hoping for, then add that stuff later if things aren't going as well as planned.

Brianschildt198 karma

Thanks for the feedback, appreciated! Great thoughts on this topic, It's absolutely something to consider when we go forward.

lawberdasher35 karma

What else would I need a private search for except for porn?

Don't you know that the Internet is for porn? There's a song about it called "the Internet is for porn"

Brianschildt15 karma

The birthday gift for your spouse, the next hardware you are going to buy - but it's up to you.

dextersgenius355 karma

How many web pages and websites does FindX currently have in its index? How do plan on keeping up with Google?

Besides the quality rating systems, do you use any algorithms to hide or downrank spam sites, keyword harvesters and clickbait content?

Brianschildt384 karma

We have around 2 billion pages in the index, and capacity for at least the double. Keeping up with Google has various aspects to it. On computerpower we can't, but we aim to deliver relevant results, and to do that we don't need to match the computer power.

We use our own quality rating as one parameter. We find linkfarms, malware and spam sites and has taken some rough decisions on the major one. We are definitely looking into more ways to algorithmic remove or give penalties to those kind of sites - but need to mature it more before we can share the details.

celsiusnarhwal385 karma

we aim to deliver relevant results

This is where you guys currently need a lot of work.

Google is better at finding what you're actually looking for and factoring "popularity" (so to speak) into any particular search query.

For example, a findx search for "botw" turns up results for an obscure blog named "Best of the Web", while a Google search for the same thing returns mostly results about the recently(-ish) released Zelda title Breath of the Wild, which people searching "botw" today would most likely be looking for.

EDIT: Yes, I know that Google's massive data archives help greatly with delivering quality search results. But DuckDuckGo delivers decent results without any tracking, so that's not really an excuse here.

Shrimpables26 karma

Yea I was gonna say, my first thing I tried was to search "fallout 4". First result is fallout boy, and then a bunch of results related to fallout but nothing like the actually fallout 4 page or wiki which is what I would probably be looking for.

Maybe this kind of search engine just isn't for me, because what I want in a search engine is one that knows what I'm searching for. Google does this so well because of it learning about you.

I actually like that about Google's services.

Brianschildt16 karma

That's for sure Google will be more personal than we ever will. We don't want to copy that, we want to create another kind of search engine. The reason you should use it, either as your standard search engine, or just occasionally is that we don't get to personal. The fallout 4 search isn't that relevant, and it doesn't lok lijke we have index the website - next time you can contribute and add it - I've done it this time http://imgur.com/a/M0kxY

NokiaSnakeWorldChamp241 karma

Can a user's ISP see what the user is searching on findx?

Brianschildt428 karma

No one can see your search on findx, not even us. This said, your ISP will be able to see that you are connected to findx, but not what you search for.

pzduniak76 karma

Care to elaborate on that? Do you use some kind of an encryption?

eriqable214 karma

They are using https so that is probably what he means by the isps not being able to see the data

pzduniak113 karma

This is wrt "not even us", which sounds like bullshit. Their system processes the queries, it's pretty obvious that they can deanonymize everything if they want it. They are no better than DDG (except the location, possibly, but "Europe" is no good either). That is unless they use some proxy encryption scheme, which I doubt, since that would be their main selling point.

isj423 karma

Partially correct. When you send a query to us someone must know what your IP-address is for you to ever get the answer back. The question is where that information is disassociated from the query string. When the HTTP request hits our frontend the requesting IP-address is not logged. The user-agent string is not logged.

Inserting a proxy between your machine and our frontends would mean that we won't see you IP-address, but then you have to trust proxy owner not to cooperate with us to correlate the two information sets. An alternative is to perform a privacy audit, but then you have to trust the auditor. Btw, we have been looking into official certifications (eg. europrise privacy seal) but they are crazy expensive. If a professional privacy auditor is willing to do it for free then please contact us - we will buy you lunch.

We chose a different way that isn't proxies, trust and turtles all the way down: Make a business model that does not entice us to track you. Thus, we are not an advertising agency; we are not big-data number crunchers; and we are certainly not an analytics company.

Syde8010 karma

Given your comment I'm assuming you are part of findx.

The problem people have with the comment by /u/Brianschildt is he stated that there is no way that findx could see people's search queries:

No one can see your search on findx, not even us. This said, your ISP will be able to see that you are connected to findx, but not what you search for.

It is complete BS that the entity findx could not log peoples search queries if they wanted to. A user would also have no ability to know or verify that they are infact being truthful to the claim of not logging the data. You can't just tell somebody to trust you. Trust has to be earned.

Brianschildt33 karma

Yes, I'll take a hit for that one, I got carried away - isj4 is a findx team member and backend developer, he already hit me... Just to make it clear - if we want to log personal data like the IP-address, we can do it.

BigBadBundy4 karma

I mean, companies can't access passwords entered on their website if they're stored securely with hashing. I don't see why a similar process can't be used for queries. That being said, I also don't know a whole lot about web encryption so there might be some practical issues with that. But it certainly is possible for a company to not be able to "deanonymize" data sent through them.

Edit: i was wrong

Syde807 karma

Here is the thing about search engines. They have to yield search results to you. A password is something different entirely, because it doesn't not have to yield return data beyond a "You are authenticated" or "You are not authenticated".

When data is hashed, the original data is basically lost forever. You could have the data "likjsdfljsdlksdjflksjdlfkjdslflsdflsdjflksdjflsdfhsoihgfklshglkjhslgshjlgkj" and if you hash it using whatever algorithm it might yield a hash of "Jfj34jF". There is no way to obtain the original data if all you have is the hash.

When it comes to passwords, the server you are authenticating to stores the hash value. It does not know what the password is. The client (your workstation) hashes the password and ask the server if the hash matches, if it does, you get authenticated.

So with a search engine... its completely different, the server has to respond with search results to whatever your query is. If your web browser hashed your search query the server would not actually know what you are searching for. Because "Giant Elephant Cock" gets hashed to "vj3jgfF". The only way a search engine could yield results given the hash would be to already know ahead of time that "vj3jgF" is a code-word for "Giant Elephant Cock" and thus the search engine now knows what you searched for.

I have to call complete BS on /u/Brianschildt that "they" (findx) can't see what you are searching for. Even their own privacy page (You will find this page if you click the Privacore link in the bottom left of the findx page) states that they could collect and store your data:

But even then, our guarantee of privacy is one based on trust, technically the nature of browsing the web would still allow us to collect data about you – but we don’t.

No idea why the post above would claim they can't. Its complete BS and anybody that knows anything about how the web works will know this. This might just be an innocent blunder, but unfortunately given the whole point of this site and the high degree of trust it would require... all this statement does is discredit them.

Brianschildt7 karma

Sure - I'll take the hit for that one, technically we can. My bad.

qdii29 karma

Please explain "not even us". How do you guarantee that?

Brianschildt54 karma

At this point it boils down to trust and accountability - we are a bunch of honest guys. We have investigated the possibilities for an external audit from a service like Europrise, it is very expensive for a small start-up and, we havn't financially prioritised an official external audit. We'll gladly invite tech savvy devs to come by and do an audit ;-) - Technically we can't guarantee that we don't, to some extend the nature of the web.
PS: I did the "not even us" comment, and we can't but we could if we wanted to but we don't.

HenryCurtmantle236 karma

How will you monetise this? I presume you're not doing this for nothing?

Brianschildt310 karma

We see privacy as competitive advantage, here is the opportunities we have in scope for monetising.

Contextual ads from partners

We've started out with a well known model; Displaying ads related to the search queries. When you search for Tennis, we can show you an ad for a pair of tennis shoes - no need to know your previous searches for that.

Affiliate deals

We are affiliates of some of the larger online shops, and may attach our affiliate ID to the links you see in our search results (clearly marked with a green "Aff" icon). If you decide to buy something from our partner’s site, we get a small commission that helps us to continue providing our services to you. We do not receive any information about what you buy.

API access - Business to business

Since we have our own index we have the option to offer paid API access, and we are planning to start offering that end of 2017 or early 2018.

Future opportunities

Following the market closely and researching if people are willing to pay for a privacy focused service, especially on mobile devices, might be an option, but it is too early to say. Among the ideas we discuss is an ad-free mobile app.

ZeroAccess110 karma

So hypothetically, we search for 'shoes' and you show an affiliate link to Zappos and a non-affiliate link to Foot Locker. Does Zappos get preferential treatment? How would we know that?

Brianschildt25 karma

Transparency is important to us. Affiliate results get's no preferential treatment, and is clearly marked as "aff". For now you'll have to trust us on that. One of our ambitions is to be more pen about the algorithm, and we are working on initiatives to support that.

gracebatmonkey43 karma

Reading over your sub, you all seem genuinely passionate about privacy and clean searches. And it also seems like this is counter to how most big sites want to interact with search engines (like your interesting find regarding Yelp, etc.).

Will this hesitancy on the part of these sites negatively impact your engine, or will it create opportunities for other, more agreeable services to rise to the top?

Brianschildt28 karma

Thanks for the kind words, and yes we are dedicated to the course. Right now we see the Yelp example as an opportunity - it opens a space for other services, but it has a flipside off course, if we can't provide the results people find relevant there is a risk it will have a negative impact - but let's see how it evolves. Right now we are happy to get feedback on the work we've done so far.

eriqable40 karma

Why should I use findx instead of duckduckgo? What makes you the better choice?

Brianschildt56 karma

I guess we are a few search engines with similar focus on privacy and DDG is one of them. A bit to the technical side, but the major difference is that we have created our own index, it makes us independent, and means we don't rely on third parties for ranking, crawling etc. Right now we are also building a browser, and will try to combine private search and browsing. And for what it means we are based in Europe ;-)

ntrid85 karma

building a browser

I am sure you know that building a good browser is insane amount of work in itself. Many nowdays make yet another chromium fork to minimize browser development costs, but does world need another one? Considering that search results are very beta right now dont you think focusing on one thing would be more beneficial?

Brianschildt7 karma

Sure, this is a consideration we have, right now more than ever. So far we have been optimistic about the browser project, and actually have a beta, ( FF based) - But at the end of the day we also need to be realistic, and can see it take an effort available for download will be big, maybe to big. Focus needs to be on search as you point out, the browser will be a bonus.

eriqable10 karma

Since you brought it up, are you based in a fourteen eyes country? Which country are you based in?

Brianschildt25 karma

We are based in Denmark. (Nine eyes)

AnotherAvgAsshole5 karma

How come you guys didn't choose to be based in Switzerland?

Brianschildt12 karma

Mainly we live in Denmark, and have to pet the servers from time to time.

FairyOnTheLoose10 karma

Do you think down the line you might be tempted to use cookies / search history to have targeted ads? Just for ads like

Brianschildt25 karma

We made a fundamental decision; we will not track people. There is all kind of temptations, but this is so fundamental for us and a core business principle - Here is the set of principles we follow. In everything we do we avoid to collect personal information. When we don't have data we can't (ab)use it. Let me know if you think this is good enough, and I'll like your comments on how to build trust around it.

whitewallsuprise10 karma

How many person hours goes into writing an internet search engine ?

What was your inspiration point when you said ? " lets do this "

Thank you

Brianschildt22 karma

Thanks for asking that one, we are small team of 4 people in our "HQ", and besides that we have some contractors for different projects.

/u/rasmussondk fostered the idea, and it rapidly grew on us. He actually started talking about building a private browser, but suddenly he said we need to build a Search engine - When we are online we browse and we search. And then we started.

All of us had personal experiences helping family and friends installing ad-blockers and choosing a private search engine as default in the browser etc. We also had a general assumption that people will demand more privacy and be able to choose alternatives to Google. Besides that the challenge of doing it seemed so crazy that we couldn't resist it.

thepatientoffret8 karma

Is the search engine targeted to one particular subject ? I did two random searches and nothing useful come out.

Brianschildt10 karma

Hi - there is plenty of pages we havn't indexed yet, and therefore we still haven't relevant results for all searches. What was the searches if I might ask? privacy ;-)

whitewallsuprise50 karma

BIG COCK TRANSVESTITE FUCK UNKNOWING POMELO.

LEMON TEA BISCUIT SHORT BREAD RECIPE

Brianschildt16 karma

:-D LOL - I asked it myself - thanks for sharing - The Lemon tea biscuit results looks fine to me ;-)

thepatientoffret7 karma

Meshuggah tour and filler vs primer.

Brianschildt9 karma

It's not the most relevant result's I'll give you that. We know there is a way to go to catch all relevant webpages - if you want to you can use on of our exits, a neat little feature in some situations

PM_ME_DRAGON_BUTTS6 karma

Results don't seem to be very relevant to my query - dragon butts. Why?

Brianschildt3 karma

Dragon butts... did you switch off Safe search :-)

mimerti6 karma

All Shutterstock images? I'll pass

Brianschildt13 karma

I totally understand of you are disappointed about the image search. We didn't focus on image search yet, it is still to come. We have put the effort into web search and made map search usable how do you find that?

iwas99x5 karma

Will your website work in China and Turkey or will it be blocked?

Brianschildt5 karma

We don’t know. If the authorities in eg. Turkey will block findx is hard to say – it is not our primary market, but we’ll see how it evolves. For a start, and to limit our scope, we decided not to index sites in Chinese and other none European/English languages, this probably also limits the interest.

FairyOnTheLoose5 karma

Is the feedback feature just while you're starting out or are you planning on keeping it?

Brianschildt7 karma

You found it! We see as a staying feature, and like the idea that search results relevance and quality can be "crowd sourced". We kept it simple for now, but potentially it can evolve and create value to both searchers and web-masters.

We are a curios if people will like it and most of all use it, what do you think about it?

iwas99x5 karma

How do you plan to spread the word about your website?

Brianschildt8 karma

Sharing information on social media is obviously one of them, and we run a blog on privacore.com/blog. We also participate in networking and conference events about online privacy and Data ethics. At this point we don't aim for a big splash, but to spread knowledge steadily. There is a number of opportunities around marketing, and we evaluate how we can get the best bang for the buck.

iwas99x4 karma

Why is it called FindX? Who what is the inspiration behind the name choice?

Brianschildt15 karma

We had a bunch of names on the short list. Findx was short and actually said what you can do on search engine, and we could register many of the TLD's. What do you think about it?

Suh_Bro3 karma

Do you guys have a page of some sort that compares the efficacy of private and non-private search engines in an easy to read chart? I would highly recommend one if you want an easier way of showing why you guys are better.

As a former DuckDuckGo user I got frustrated with the results I was getting so I moved on to Startpage.com and I like it more. I do recommend comparisons.

Brianschildt2 karma

Good point - seems like a no-brainer to do it. Definitely on the task list. We did a short post about private search engines recently read it here

iwas99x2 karma

What do you think of the NSA and ISPs collecting info on people?

Brianschildt10 karma

If governments monitor their citizens, and for what purpose ultimately falls back to the democracy you live in I guess, that’s worth a discussion with the fellow countrymen of yours. We are based in Denmark and believe we have a solid democracy here.

The ISP question is different, because they can benefit financially from it, also called surveillance capitalism. That is what we fight.

PringlesBBQFlavour2 karma

Сan you watch porn anonymously on it?

Brianschildt2 karma

You can find porn, but not watch it. When you leave findx it 's your browser settings that kicks in. Here is a a previous comment on the topic https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/6bg7ye/we_are_findx_a_private_search_engine_ask_us/dhme33d/

whitewallsuprise2 karma

Do you think Bill Nye, is indeed the science guy ?

cdude2 karma

Brianschildt5 karma

Ah, good question - we have not focused on image search yet - but we didn't want to leave it out completely, and went with the ones you see now, it is simply a shutterstock search - but we will improve on image search over time - Until now the main focus has been on web search, and we put a little effort into Maps as well.

i_hope_i_remember1 karma

How to download Firefox?

iwas99x1 karma

How often are you on reddit and what are your favorite subreddits?

Brianschildt2 karma

Personally I've been using reddit for a couple of years mostly reading posts and comments on a weekly basis. /r/privacytoolsIO /r/europrivacy is two of my favourites on the topic - but I visit /r/Denmark too.

binzeeno1 karma

Why not just use duckduckgo?

Brianschildt1 karma

You can, no problem with that. We have a shared purpose about letting people search the internet in private. We have some differences and different ways of doing things, most fundamental is that we have our own index, it gets a bit technical but gives us full independence. Read more about search engines

iwas99x0 karma

How do you plan to convince people to give up using google?

Brianschildt1 karma

We want to create an alternative to Google.

People have all kind of reasons to use the services from Google (Alphabet) and convenience and habits are hard to beat. When people use our service, we'll like them to know and feel that they can do it without any surveillance, in private and without advertisers breathing down their neck. Trust is essential, and we want to be transparent about our code and let people adjust the algorithm.