Privacy Policy

Here at SearchScene, we take your privacy very seriously. Our default settings give you great privacy protection without compromising on speed or usability. However, you can modify your privacy settings within our user settings page.

  • We don't store your searches
    We don't store your searches. Why would we? Your searches are no one else's business but yours. This ensures your privacy and means that your searches cannot be tied together to form a profile of you.
  • We don't store your user data
    We don't store your IP address, your user agent or any other user data that could be used to identify you. We have no idea who you are or what you search for. If we were ever subpoenaed to supply this information, we would have nothing to give.
  • We don't sell your data to advertisers
    Since we don't store your data, we have no data to sell to advertisers. This means that advertisers can never use anything you've searched for on SearchScene to sell you stuff.
  • We don't track you across the web
    Unlike Google, we don't track you across the web. This means you won't see any ads following you around the web as a result of anything you've searched for on SearchScene. And none of the ads that we show you will be influenced by anything you've looked at elsewhere.
  • All your searches are encrypted
    All your searches are SSL-encrypted, ensuring that not even your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can see what you searched for.
  • We automatically delete our server logs every day
    Every website is hosted by a web hosting company that keep their own server logs. These are separate to the website's own logs. These logs contain your IP address and all the URLs you visited on the server. We take the extraordinary step of automatically deleting our web host's server logs every day.
  • We don't use Google Analytics
    Most large websites use Google Analytics – a free, powerful tracking tool that gives webmasters lots of data about their visitors – and all that data also goes back to Google. Which is why we don't use it. In fact, we don't use any external tracking tools.
  • Break free from your filter bubble
    When you search on Google, your search results are often influenced by your search history and your search profile. This is called a filter bubble. At SearchScene, your search results are not based on anything but your search query, allowing you to break free from your filter bubble.
  • We actively prevent “search leakage”
    Normally, when you click on a link, the website you land on would be able to see the URL of the website that referred you. In the case of a search engine, this URL includes your search terms. On SearchScene, we actively prevent this so-called “search leakage” by hiding your search terms from every website we refer you to.
  • Private use of social media share icons
    Although we show you social media share icons on our homepage to encourage you to share SearchScene, we don't use any social media share icons or code on our search results pages. This protects your privacy and prevents any social media sites from seeing what you searched for.
  • If you sign-in, we encrypt your email address
    You can sign in to SearchScene to sync your search counter across all your devices. If you do this, we use secure, password-free authentication. We don't ask you for a password and we store your email address in an encrypted format. Not even we can see what your email address is.
  • Privacy on the go
    For privacy that extends beyond our search engine, download our iOS or Android app for your phone or tablet. Our SearchScene app removes cross-site tracking cookies, social trackers, cryptominers and fingerprinters from every website you visit! Ditch Chrome or Safari and use our SearchScene app to search the web instead!
  • Putting you in control
    By default, we offer you the best search experience whilst maintaining your privacy. However, if you want to customise things to suit your needs then head on over to our user settings page to tailor your privacy settings to suit yourself. We let you change just about anything!

Privacy FAQ

How does SearchScene protect my privacy?

SearchScene protects your privacy in many ways...

  1. We don't store your searches
  2. We don't store your personal data (IP address, user agent, etc.)
  3. We don't sell your data to advertisers
  4. We don't track you across the web
  5. All your searches are encrypted
  6. We automatically delete our web host's server logs every day
  7. We don't use Google Analytics (or any other external analytics tool)
  8. Any ads we show you are set to be non-personalised and we block ad-related cookies, so ads won't follow you around as a result of your searches
  9. We actively prevent “search leakage”
  10. We don't use any social media share icons or scripts on results pages
  11. If you sign-in to SearchScene, we don't ask for a password and we store your email address in an encrypted format
  12. If you use our iOS or Android mobile app, we remove cross-site tracking cookies, social trackers, cryptominers and fingerprinters from every website you visit.
  13. We put you in full-control of your privacy settings. Head over to our settings page and you can modify just about anything!

What data do you collect?

We collect aggregated, non personalised data, such as...

  • the total number of web searches performed in each country
  • the total number of image searches performed in each country
  • the total number of video searches performed in each country
  • the total number of news searches performed in each country
  • the total number of charitable votes for each charity
  • the total number of requests made to our external data providers like Wikipedia (this is anonymous and does not include your user data)
  • error data, including error codes (this error data may include the search query, but these are automatically deleted every day and are not stored with your IP address or user data)

If you sign-in to your account on SearchScene, we also store:

  • your email address in a hashed, encrypted form
  • your search counter
  • your charitable votes for each charity

What data do you share with Bing?

We get our baseline search results from Microsoft Bing. This means that we have to share your search query with Bing in order to get the search results. We sometimes also show you search ads from Bing in order to monetise the site to raise money for charity. If ads are shown then your IP address is also shared with Bing. This is so that Bing can protect their advertisers from click fraud. However, in requesting ads from Bing, we set the ads to be non-personalised and we prevent Bing from setting or reading cookies on our site. This means that your ads will not be influenced by any of your previous searches and you will never find ads on other sites that are triggered by anything you've searched for on SearchScene. In short, you won't see any ads following you around the internet as a result of searching on SearchScene.

You can read Bing's privacy policy in full here…

https://privacy.microsoft.com/privacystatement

What data do you share with other third-parties?

We sometimes request data from other parties to enhance your search experience, such as Wikipedia, IMDb, TMDb, Spotify, Goodreads, TripAdvisor, etc. This is almost always done anonymously by our server on your behalf. The only exceptions are as follows...

  • Wikipedia popups (desktop and laptop computers only): within our knowledge panels, we include lots of data from Wikipedia. If you hover your mouse pointer over a link within our knowledge panel, we often pop open a balloon to show you more information about that topic. This information is pulled dynamically from Wikipedia in real-time. This popup reveals your IP address to Wikipedia, just as if you were searching on Wikipedia directly, but, importantly, it does not reveal your search terms to Wikipedia. If this is a problem for you then you can switch these Wikipedia popups off within your settings page.

  • Embedded maps: if your search is location based, we may show you an embedded, interactive map to show you the location, which improves the user experience. For example, if you searched for the Tower of London, we would show you its location on a map. These maps are requested in real-time using client-side javascript and reveal your IP address and user agent to the map provider, just as if you searched on their site directly. Your map options are...

    • Bing Maps (draggable) – good compromise between usability and privacy
    • Google Maps (draggable) – arguably the best maps but the worst privacy policy
    • Bing Maps (static) – fastest loading
    • Bing Maps (static and proxied) – private, but slower
    • Don't show any maps

    Head over to our settings page to make your selection.

  • Playing videos directly on SearchScene: If videos are returned as part of your search results, we will often embed the videos within your search results so that you can play them without leaving our site. If these videos are from YouTube then we embed the videos in such a way that it prevents YouTube from setting or reading cookies, which prevents YouTube gathering data about you. We do this on the web search results tab and on the videos search results tab. However, if you choose to play the video, the video will be streamed directly from the video source site and you will be subject to their privacy policy, just as you would if you played the video directly on their site. In the case of YouTube, this means you will be subject to Google's privacy policy, just as if you viewed the video directly on YouTube. If you're signed into YouTube at the time, your personalised YouTube privacy settings will be used.

    If you'd prefer to switch embedded videos off (for YouTube and other video sources), you can do so within our settings page. Instead of seeing an embedded video, you will then see a thumbnail image with a link to the third-party video source site (e.g. YouTube).

  • Image thumbnails: To make SearchScene as fast as possible, image thumbnails contained within the search results are downloaded directly to your browser from the image source site. The source site will usually be Bing, but may also include Wikipedia, IMDb (Internet Movie Database, for movie posters), TMDb (The Movie Database, for movie or TV posters and similar movies/actors), Goodreads (for book covers), Google Books (for book covers), Spotify (for album covers and similar artists, etc.), YouTube (for video thumbnails) and Tripadvisor (for thumbnail images of restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions).

    When you download these thumbnail images directly from the source, the source site can see your IP address and user agent, but they cannot see your search terms.

How does signing-in to SearchScene affect my privacy?

You can sign-in to SearchScene via the heart-shaped charity-drop down box. This allows you to sync your search counter across devices and ensures that your search counter never gets reset. When you sign-in, we ask for your email address so we can send you a magic link to sign in. This method uses secure, password-free authentication. We store your email address on our secure servers in a hashed, encrypted format – not even we can see what your email address is. We store your search counter and charitable votes on our servers within your account. Your search queries themselves are not tied to your account – in fact, we don't store your searches at all. So the short answer is that signing-in has no effect on your privacy whatosever.

How do I delete my account?

You can delete your account by clicking on the link to “Sign Out” and selecting “Delete my account” from the popup box that appears. If you delete your account, your email address, search counter and charitable votes will all be removed from our servers, but your local search counter will remain stored in a cookie and in local storage on your computer or device. You would need to delete your cookies and website data if you wanted to reset these to zero.

What about cookies?

Cookies are tiny text files stored on your computer or mobile device. Cookies can be used for lots of things. Cookies can be used to track you across other sites (e.g. as used by Facebook or Google) or cookies can be used to store bits of data to remember your settings for future visits.

We don't use any tracking cookies on SearchScene. But we do use cookies to store your settings, such as whether you have the safe search filter set to off, moderate or strict. In fact, all the settings available to you from our user settings page are all stored in cookies on your device so that we remember them for your next visit. We also store cookies to remember your search counter and charitable votes. And we use cookies to remember what notifications we've shown you before, e.g. we pop open a box to encourage you to download our app after 50 searches. When you dismiss this popup, we remember that in a cookie so that we don't keep showing it to you.

Our cookies are all about making your search experience better. None of our cookies track you or compromise your privacy in any way.

What about Local Storage?

If you have wallpaper scenery enabled on your homepage, we store the next wallpaper scene within an area on your device called local storage. This is so that we can load it quickly when your browser requests it.

We also copy all our cookies to local storage. This is because the Firefox browser has a habit of routinely clearing cookies without the user's permission, which is a problem for us because we would then forget all your user settings. In order to prevent this from happening, we copy all your cookies to local storage. This doesn't compromise your privacy in any way.

If you want to clear all of SearchScene's data on your device, you will need to delete SearchScene's cookies and local storage content.

Our blog

Our blog is hosted separately at blog.searchscene.com and is powered by WordPress. Our blog commenting system is powered by Disqus (privacy policy).

Our FAQ

Our FAQ site is hosted separately at faq.searchscene.com and is powered by Zendesk (privacy policy).

What if I email you?

If you email us, we will store your email within our email client. This obviously includes your email address.



If you have any questions about this privacy policy or anything else then please check out our FAQ site or feel free to contact us.

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