If you’d rather Google didn’t know everything you searched for and which web sites you visited as a result, especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal this week, there is a solution.

It’s a search site called DuckDuckGo and, despite the bizarre name, it’s an extremely effective alternative to Google Search - and any other search sites that monitor your online activity, too.

[Read more: How do I change the default search engine on my web browser?]

Crucially, DuckDuckGo’s privacy policy states that it doesn’t collect or share any personal information about the people who use it, so it keeps its users’ data private.

Here’s how to get started with DuckDuckGo and a few tips on getting the most from it for your internet searches and check out our article: How to delete your browsing history.


(DuckDuckGo headquarters)

Step 1: What’s the web address?

Duck Duck Go 1

Searching with DuckDuckGo is no different to any other search site. Just go to www.duckduckgo.com using any web browser and type your search term in the box.


Step 2: Differences in the search results

Duck Duck Go 2

DuckDuckGo’s search results look just like those from any other search site, too, with one important difference - there are far fewer ads and information from social networks like Twitter and Facebook is excluded. Compare the same search results from DuckDuckGo with Google to see the difference.


Step 3: Searching for other information

Duck Duck Go 3

You can also search for images, videos, news and other types of information using DuckDuckGo. These options may appear at the top of the results list if there’s anything particularly notable, else you can click the links at the top of the results page to see these different kinds of results.

[Read more: Search engines around the world]

Step 4: Search other web sites

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DuckDuckGo can also search many sites directly and take you straight to the site itself, rather than its own list of results. Just search for an exclamation mark and the site name (without a space), followed by the rest of the search — !ebay rechargeable batteries, for example.


Step 5: Customise the search page

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You can customise many aspects of DuckDuckGo, including its appearance, how it presents its results and even whether or not it shows ads. Click the three-bar menu button at the top-right of any of its pages to see the available options.

[Read more: Celebrities will now answer your questions about them in Google]