Who’s NGI: Adam Tauber introduces Searx

Searx is a privacy-respecting meta-search engine. On-line technology magazine Proprivacy gives Searx an impressive review: “For serious tech-savvy privacy-heads, a self-hosted Searx instance is the way to go. Simply put, nothing else is in the same league when it comes to knowing for certain that your searches are not logged.

Searx aggregates results of other search engines and acts as a proxy between the user and the search engine. Searx does not store information about its users. Creator Adam Tauber explains more.

What drives you?

I’m working on privacy because I think it’s important to maintain dignity and I want everyone to be able to safeguard their private life offline and online.

For me, free software development is as important as defending privacy. Most of the code I write is available under my GitHub account.

I won’t say too much more about my motivation as I am first and foremost a defender of my own privacy – you will not find a single photo of me on the Web.

What’s special about Searx?

Searx was born out of the need for a privacy-respecting search tool which can be extended easily to maximize both its search and its privacy protecting capabilities.

As far as I know, Searx was the first meta-search engine targeting the protection of its users’ privacy. Searx may not offer you as personalized results as, for example, Google, but it doesn’t generate a profile about you, it doesn’t care about, or monetize what you search for, it never shares anything with a third party and it can’t be used to compromise you.

I designed Searx for people who care about privacy, want to be a conscious user, or believe in digital freedom. You can make Searx your default search engine or run it on your own server.

Fully customisable

Searx provides as many options as possible to customise your search. Default categories allow for general searches, or specifically for files, images, maps, music, videos etc. You can choose all the different engines that the meta-search uses,  select your search language, safe settings, even the layout of the results display, plus there’s an unlimited scrolling option.

Searx is free software, the code is open and you can help to make it better. We provide our source code on GitHub under the Gnu Public License. Searx appreciates your concern regarding logs, so take the code and run it yourself!

Many others have, see here for a full list of public Searx instances. Add your Searx to this list to help other people reclaim their privacy and make the Internet freer, the more decentralized the Internet is, the more freedom we have as encouraging people to use code in different environments results in a more federated and stronger system.

The journey to Searx with NGI support

Searx is a fairly mature, free software, with more than 50 contributors. Searx has been developed over the last six years, since October 2013. The concept is the same since the beginning. We’ve worked it in our free time, so the development was unpredictable and fluctuating. We are now receiving support from NGI in multiple areas, including security, accessibility and licensing issues.

The advantage of being part of NGI is that it connects experts with various backgrounds to solve problems too big for one person to tackle. Searx is one of NGI Zero’s Search and Discovery projects.

Searx development

Searx development will continue after the support of NGI. We have a relatively big open source community and tons of ideas to enhance Searx. Searx has two prime directives, privacy-by-design and hackability. The hackability comes in three levels, support of search engines, plugins to alter search behaviour and hacking Searx itself.

The software itself evolved a lot but we still stick to our original motivation when we introduce new functionalities to Searx. The community created extensive tooling around Searx, including a privacy-friendly tool which allows users to remain private when opening search results, which we named Morty after the sci-fi cartoon character. Morty works through an image proxy service. Another great tool is Filtron, a privacy respecting firewall which can protect the search service itself without exposing user data. Rather than filter results, Filtron filters out malicious user requests coming from bots or scripts.

For more information on Search, FAQ, installation and support, go to searx.me/about.