Technology Verizon launches privacy-focused search engine called OneSearch

19:40  14 january  2020
19:40  14 january  2020 Source:   cnet.com

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We've all searched online for things we'd rather not have associated with ourselves forever. Embarrassing medical symptoms, deep dives into the world of true crime in the wee hours, or even that pair of shoes you looked at once but decided not to buy. Now Verizon wants to offer a search engine that won't tie that information to you.

a close up of a sign: Verizon Media launched privacy-oriented search engine called OneSearch on Tuesday. Getty Images© Provided by CNET Verizon Media launched privacy-oriented search engine called OneSearch on Tuesday. Getty Images

The service, called OneSearch, launched Tuesday with the declaration that it won't store records of what you search, create profiles of your usage or share your search data with advertisers. The search engine also gives "unbiased, unfiltered" results, Verizon said, meaning everyone sees the same results for the same search terms. Finally, OneSearch search results can "self-destruct" after a set period of time, which could be useful on shared devices.

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With OneSearch, "you can search the internet with increased confidence, knowing your personal and search data isn't being tracked, stored, or shared with advertisers," said Michael Albers, head of consumer product at Verizon Media.

It's the latest privacy-oriented consumer product to come out at a time of heightened concern over online privacy. The federal government and several states are weighing extensive privacy regulations, and several tech companies including Mozillaand Microsoft have offered new privacy protections mandated in California to all their users in the US.

OneSearch will test the idea that privacy can be profitable at a tech powerhouse. The service comes from the same segment of Verizon -- Verizon Media -- that runs an extensive ad network with more than 70,000 web publishers and apps as customers. While the search engine aims to attract users by turning on privacy features by default, OneSearch will also let Verizon Media hone its ad-matching powers on a search engine it owns. (Verizon also owns the Yahoo search engine.)

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Verizon declined to comment on which search engine will provide results to its users. While Google and Bing each rely on their own search technologies, Yahoo is powered by Bing. Verizon declined to comment on how it was generating search results for OneSearch.

Verizon said OneSearch will generate revenue from the service by matching ads to search terms. The only personalization of results will be based on location, which OneSearch will infer from a user's IP addresses, which are unique strings of numbers that associate users with locations. Users will be located up to the city level, the company said.

Verizon isn't going to forget every term queried on OneSearch -- instead, it's going to separate search terms from specific users. To accomplish this, company will store user searches on a separate server from IP addresses, which are strings of numbers that can identify users' locations. After four days, Verizon will delete the IP addresses, the company says, adding that it's search partners will keep the IP addresses but remove sections associated with location. A third server will separate out another category of information that would otherwise help tie users to their search requests: the user agent, which includes data about your browser and device.

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a close up of a sign: Verizon Media launched privacy-oriented search engine OneSearch on Tuesday.© Getty Images

Verizon Media launched privacy-oriented search engine OneSearch on Tuesday.

The launch puts Verizon in competition with other privacy-oriented search engines, such as Duck Duck Go, which offers similar privacy protections. Duck Duck Go generates revenue through the Bing Ads program. It also has a connection to Verizon. As of Tuesday, Duck Duck Go's website says its "sponsored links" ads are syndicated through Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon.

Duck Duck Go didn't immediately respond to questions about whether its sponsored links come from Verizon Media.

Verizon will reportedly sell a 5G version of the OnePlus 8 .
When OnePlus releases its next phone later this year, you'll reportedly be able to buy it at not one but two major US carriers. According to Android Police, Verizon (Engadget's parent company) will sell a OnePlus device for the first time. Citing "a source familiar with the companies' plans," the website says the carrier will offer a 5G-capable version of the OnePlus 8, although it's currently unclear if Verizon will also sell the OnePlus 8 Pro. However, Android Police reported that the phone would be "fully Verizonified." For better and worse, that means it'll come with the carrier's suite of apps and experiences preloaded onto the device.

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