Are you worried about how much data you give away when you surf the web? If you rely on search engines like Google, that fear is entirely reasonable.

The world’s biggest search engine has a terrible record when it comes to protecting user privacy. It routinely builds detailed, personalized profiles of the sites users visit, the search terms they use, and even where they go on Google Maps. And this data is then sold on to advertisers without users providing any kind of consent.

At the same time, Google is happy to open up Gmail accounts so app developers can spy on users, has a suspiciously close relationship with governments of all types, and has a chequered record on data leaks. So finding an alternative is a rational course of action.

Gibiru is one Google alternative that people are talking about, and it could be the answer you are looking for. But wait just a second. Before you switch to Gibiru, reviews like this should help assess its strengths and weaknesses. So let’s get stuck in.

What is Gibiru?

The first thing to understand about Gibiru search is that it qualifies as a “private search engine.” This style of search tool has become much more popular in recent years as Google’s sins have accumulated. The idea behind most of them is to offer ways to search the web without giving away personal data (or at least having the chance to consent to any data usage).

The Gibiru search engine bills itself as “uncensored anonymous search”. Why do these terms matter?

Firstly, Google has been accused of favoring sites associated with major clients, as well as politically sensitive sites. For example, in 2018 it dramatically limited access to sites relating to cryptocurrency, as scrutiny of the crypto-market grew.

Secondly, mainstream searches are hardly ever anonymous. When users make searches, they deposit traces of their identity in the form of IP addresses and DNS lookups. Search engines may also inject cookies to track their activity. This lets them build up detailed profiles of their interests.

What features make Gibiru different?

The Gibiru search engine appears to be very similar to Google – at least from the front end. But the interface conceals some key features which might make Gibiru safe to use and much more anonymous:

  1. When users search for terms using Gibiru search, the content of their searches is not logged or linked to an IP address. So there’s no scope for profiling individual web users.
  2. Hence, Gibiru doesn’t sell any information to third parties at all. They aren’t in the data selling game.
  3. Importantly, Gibiru seeks to couple their search engine with their own Virtual Private Network (VPN). This allows users to search completely anonymously, using IP addresses supplied by the VPN, not their own. This VPN can be installed as an add-on to browsers like Opera and Firefox easily, providing automatic in-browser protection.
  4. When you submit a Gibiru search, you’ll see “all results” and “uncensored” options. The uncensored option lets you see all results that won’t appear in Google searches – and you may be surprised by how many pages are included.
  5. This anti-censorship tool extends to current news, giving users an unprecedented ability to search all up to date news sources – not just ones approved by Google.
  6. HTTPS 256-bit encryption is used to ensure total secrecy.
  7. Delivers a set of recommended ads at the top of every query, which are generated by the keywords you use.

Gibiru was created in 2009 and has its roots in the hacking community – not big business. It remains a community effort and hasn’t made the transition to seeking external funding. And if you look for alternatives to Gibiru reviews will show that this kind of integrity is quite unusual. So that’s a positive sign.

This management structure means that the product is a little rough around the edges at times. And you’ll need to take care to set it up properly, with the VPN or Proxy installed.

Is Gibiru safe

Before we compare Gibiru search with a key competitor, it’s worth summarizing its key security features:

  1. Full 256-Bit HTTPS encryption
  2. No tracking cookies
  3. No data selling of any kind
  4. No logs
  5. Can be combined with a separate VPN/Proxy app to ensure that the websites you visit don’t detect your IP address.

On the other hand, it has to be admitted that the privacy policy is a little on the thin side and that the Gibiru team do state that “due to some code needed for search result API integration and bandwidth/site performance, we may monitor server logs from time to time.”

This isn’t necessarily a disaster from a privacy perspective, but it’s worth bearing in mind. As is the slightly disturbing lack of information about who is behind Gibiru.

A LinkedIn profile lists the founder as Steven Ray Marshall, but that’s all we know. Contact details are sparse, and other individuals aren’t named. That may be understandable for an organization which explicitly seeks to undermine government powers, but it’s a little offputting for ordinary users.

Comparing Gibiru vs DuckDuckGo: is it a genuine competitor?

Gibiru is obviously a creative, well-programmed search tool whose heart seems to be in the right place. But how does it compare with DuckDuckGo, a major alternative for people seeking to migrate from Google? Let’s see.

GibiruDuckDuckGo
Owning companySteven Ray Marshall (Founder, based in San Jose California)CEO/founder Gabriel Weinberg with major venture capital funding and associations with Apple and Yahoo.
Launch date20092008
Number of pages indexed30 trillion+ (Google plus “censored pages”)120 million domains (2011)
Number of daily queriesunknown (far fewer than DuckDuckGo)25 million
AdvertisingYesYes, but optional
Security features256-bit HTTPs encryption, no logging of any kind, no cookies, no data selling, option to add proxy/VPN, no ad tracking, strong commitment to privacyTOR supported, no IP logging or cookies, no targeted advertising, and no user profiles.