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Privacy Google The Internet

Privacy-Centric Search Engine Scroogle Shuts Down 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the rock-and-a-hard-place dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Daniel Brandt started his 'Scroogle' search engine because he wanted to provide increased privacy to people who searched online through Google. Unfortunately, while Google tolerated this for a while, they began throttling Scroogle queries. This, in combination with extensive DDoS attacks on Brandt's servers, has caused him to take Scroogle offline, along with his other domains. He said, 'I no longer have any domains online. I also took all my domains out of DNS because I want to signal to the criminal element that I have no more servers to trash. This hopefully will ward off further attacks on my previous providers. Scroogle.org is gone forever. Even if all my DDoS problems had never started in December, Scroogle was already getting squeezed from Google's throttling, and was already dying. It might have lasted another six months if I hadn't lost seven servers from DDoS, but that's about all.' Internet users who made use of the services will now need to investigate other options."
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Privacy-Centric Search Engine Scroogle Shuts Down

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  • And bing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zoloto (586738) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:17AM (#39121115)
    If google was "Squeezing" scroogle by limiting queries, why aren't they doing the same to microsoft's Bing?
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:22AM (#39121155) Homepage

    Scroogle is not a search engine. Scroogle is a hosted front end to Google. DuckDuckGo is a real search engine, one with good privacy policies and only one ad per page.

  • by bwall (2455524) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:42AM (#39121295)
    Yay, script kiddies hurting the internet again! I love when I hear about a DDoS, it just makes me proud of all the hackers out there with SO MUCH SKILL that they can send a lot of SYN packets. Enough with the sarcasm. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS! If you want privacy, stop being immature.
  • by tbird81 (946205) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:59AM (#39121389)

    http://encyclopediadramatica.ch/Daniel_Brandt [encyclopediadramatica.ch]

    "I don't regard [Brandt] as a valid source about anything at all, based on my interactions with him. I tried very hard to help him, and he misrepresented nearly everything about our conversation in his very strange rant. He considers the very existence of a Wikipedia article about him to be a privacy violation, despite being a public person. I find it hard to take him very seriously at all. He misrepresents everything about our procedures, claiming that we have a 'secret police' and so on." - Jimbo Wales

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:01AM (#39121399)

    Much of that is speech I disagree with, but there's a relevant line attributed to Voltaire about that.

    Don't feel bad, free speech is OK, but free speech and damn the consequences is dangerous and can be damaging.

    If you are speaking with no intent but to bring harm to others, you're outside the scope of, let's call it "the spirit" of the First Amendment. It was written to uphold the right of the people to criticise their government, not to give safe harbour to malicious people who, quote: [post] online the personal details of a various Wikipedians, including some who were minors

    So you can love free speech, and simultaneously seek to prevent people from deliberately saying harmful things.

  • Re:DuckDuckGo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:40AM (#39121919)

    They need a better brand if they want to make it big. I'm not commenting on the service per se. But the brand name itself is a big element in what draws new users.

    It's three words, comprising one syllable each. So it's effectively five units in length of time to say. Not only that, but the hard "K" in "duck" forces the intermediate pause between the first two words, and encourages it between the latter two (attempts to say the name in only three units' time would sound closer to DU-DUCK-O). The pauses in between each of the individual words carries over from speech to mental reading and writing. Both the writer and the reader, are speaking their words inside their heads when they write or read. Which means the brand is both annoying to read and write about.

    The repetition of "duck" makes the URL pretty annoying to type as well. At they very least, they can get a shorter domain that's easy to remember! For other types of products, the need might be different, but for a text-based internet destination, it's gotta be easy to type. They got the "duck" and "go" parts are more or less correct (no one-finger acrobatics needed to type the words), but the repeated duck completely negates the benefit.

    Otherwise, they seem like an acceptable alternative to Scroogle. I've used them before, but Google is just easier to type (the double-o detracts a bit, but the brevity of the name more than makes up for this), so I always end up going back to Google.

  • Sort of (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:19AM (#39122173)

    They had a toolbar, if you clicked the 'send anonymous statistics data to Microsoft to improve our services' button then it was supposed to send anonymous stats to MS. However it turned out they were scraping the queries you ran on Google and sending the whole lot, results, the search, what you clicked on etc. back to Microsoft.

    And not anonymous data either. Detailed tracking data, and a unique id that can be used to de-anonymize you.

    It was Carrier IQ in IE form.

    To me what made it worse is they were unrepentant once caught. Pretending it wasn't copying because they took these 'signals' from many sites and the result was merged. Which is incredible face. They didn't even pretend not to be tracking their users, they were proud of it.

    And no prosecution either, nobody chased them, too much clout in politics.

  • by IAmGarethAdams (990037) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:54AM (#39122345)

    - would cost a lot of money to build
    - has no way of reconciling that cost

  • by SnowZero (92219) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @05:06AM (#39122675)

    No it doesn't

    Yes it does. Search for [digital camera] on Bing and DDG. Notice that the first ad is not just similar, it is exactly the same:

    Sony® Digital Cameras
    Digital Cameras for Beautiful Pictures. Free Shipping Order Now!
    store.sony.com

    Ok, so they are using AdCenter for ads, but that might not be true for actual search results. Now search for something esoteric and not likely to be in a tiny corpus, such as [state space motion planning]. The results have been re-ordered so clearly DDG has some re-ranking heuristics, but the results that are common (nearly all of them) are uncannily similar, including in most cases the exact same summary snippet. For example, the following exact result (all text) comes back in both:

    Informed and Probabilistically Complete Search for Motion Planning ...
    Sampling-based search has been shown effective in motion planning, a hard continuous state-space problem. Motion planning is especially challenging when the robotic system

    Having a common phrase used throughout a paper yield exactly the same extracted snippet is unlikely, unless the implementations are identical. Since Bing isn't open source, Occam's Razor says they are using the API.

    The simple fact is that one guy cannot implement a modern search engine, despite our hopes for the continued relevance of the garage revolutionary. While DDG likes to downplay the Bing API dependence, the majority of results come from there, and the rest is a few bits of sugar peppered on top for common queries. Claiming that having a special mode for wikipedia or "zero click" boxes makes it no longer Bing-using is kind of like saying Google's calculator means it doesn't need a search index.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten

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