Type of site
|Alexa rank||1,270 (25 October 2017[update])|
Startpage is a search engine which highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature. It was previously known as the metasearch engine Ixquick, Startpage being then a variant service. Both sites were merged in 2016.
Founded by David Bodnick in 1998, Ixquick is owned by Surfboard Holding BV of the Netherlands, which acquired the internet company in 2000. Ixquick and its sibling project Startpage.com reached their latest record (28-day average) daily direct queries of 5.7 million on 2 February 2015.
The company also provides the stand-alone proxy service, Ixquick Proxy, which has also been incorporated into both its Ixquick and Startpage search engines, allowing users the option to open all search results via proxy. The company developed a privacy protecting email service, called StartMail. This service was released to the public in 2014.
Ixquick was re-launched on 23 March 2005, with new features including a redesigned metasearch algorithm, an international phone, and lowest-price directory.
On 27 June 2006, following criticism of Google Shopping, Ixquick.com began to delete private details of its users. IP addresses and other personal information were deleted within 48 hours of a search. Ixquick has stated that it does not share its users' personal information with other search engines or with the provider of its sponsored results.
Ixquick was awarded the first European Privacy Seal (EuroPriSe) for its privacy practices on 14 July 2008. This European Union-sponsored initiative guarantees compliance with EU laws and regulations on data security and privacy, through a series of design and technical audits. It was re-certified together with Startpage in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.
On 7 July 2009 Ixquick launched Startpage.com to offer its service at a URL that is both easier to remember and spell, and in contrast to ixquick.eu, fetches results from the Google search engine. This is done without saving the users' IP addresses or giving any personal user information to Google's servers.
On 29 March 2016, Ixquick.com was officially "merged" with the same company's Startpage search engine (a search engine with the privacy features of Ixquick, but using only Google search results). Users entering ixquick.com are now automatically re-routed to startpage.com. However, at the end of Ixquick's merger notice, the company reports: "We think you're going to love StartPage, but if you prefer original Ixquick search results, don't worry. They are still available at ixquick.eu." Ixquick had long declared on its sites, that it operated in compliance with European Union privacy standards, and it retains its original European search engine. As of 21 April 2018, ixquick.eu also redirects to startpage.com.
Search mechanism and interface
Startpage returns the top ten results from multiple search engines. It uses a "star system" to rank its results by awarding one star for every result that has been returned from a search engine. Thereby, the top search results are the ones that have been returned from the most search engines. Startpage can search in 17 languages: Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. Each language version includes local search engines.
Startpage uses only one cookie, called "preferences", which remembers a user's search preferences for future searches and is deleted after a user does not visit Startpage for 90 days. It is however possible to save preferences in a bookmarked URL, thus avoiding cookies completely. Preferences are not saved automatically. Only a visitor can decide to save his or her preferences.
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