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Yahoo parent Verizon promises it won’t track you with OneSearch, its new privacy-focused search engine

Yahoo parent Verizon promises it won’t track you with OneSearch, its new privacy-focused search engine


From the company that makes money tracking people

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Verizon and its subsidiaries, including Yahoo, have become known for massive data breaches, privacy blunders, and oddly named web entities, but now the internet service provider has launched a whole new search engine without Yahoo branding, one that it says will definitely not share your search results with advertisers or tailor results based on your search history.

On its ad-supported OneSearch platform, users can “search the internet with increased confidence, knowing your personal and search data isn’t being tracked, stored, or shared with advertisers,” according to a statement from Michael Albers, head of consumer product at Verizon Media.

Ads on OneSearch will be generated based on keywords, not cookies, and there will be a self-destruct option for search results to be purged after a certain period. Search results will be generated by Microsoft’s Bing browser.

As consumers tire of having their every move tracked online, there are a growing number of browsers that claim to preserve users’ privacy, including Brave and DuckDuckGo, and ad- and tracker-blocking extensions like Ghostery.

Verizon was fined $1.3 million for using super cookie trackers

If Verizon’s track record with search and privacy wasn’t so spotty, this might be a welcome addition to the growing field of privacy-based browsers. When it combined AOL and Yahoo into Oath in 2017, Verizon was clear about its plans to use its network to target ads. And in 2016, the company paid a $1.3 million fine to the Federal Communications Commission for its use of “super cookies” that tracked users on their networks via their cellphones without asking for permission or providing an opt-out option. And don’t forget Yahoo’s famous hack, where all 3 billion of its customers’ accounts were breached in 2013.

Why Verizon is introducing a new search engine brand when it already owns Yahoo is not clear, but as VentureBeat notes, Yahoo owned the “oneSearch” name long before it became part of Verizon.

According to the OneSearch privacy policy, search results will only be personalized based on location, which it will collect from IP addresses. OneSearch says that it will separate IP addresses from users and their search results.