With the acknowledgement that privacy is now a major consumer concern, Verizon Media today announced the start of OneSearch, a new “consumer search experience” that may be most valued for what it doesn’t do.
Already available via OneSearch.com, it doesn’t track, store or share personal or search data with advertisers. If OneSearch works like it sounds it will, it would seem distinctly less “smart” than Google, for example.
Verizon Media says ads OneSearch presents -- yes, it’s ad-supported -- will be based on simple information like the search keywords entered, not on cookies or browsing history. So if you’re shopping for a pair of shoes, it sounds like you won’t be confronted with ads for the kind of shoes you bought a little while ago.
OneSearch is available for the North American market on desktop and mobile web, and will be available as a mobile app on Android and iOS systems later in January, with launches in other countries coming soon, Verizon Media's announcement said.
Businesses can also partner with Verizon to offer OneSearch into their own privacy and security products. And in an “advanced mode,” the links created by OneSearch will expire in an hour, making it less likely multiple users of the same device will know where others have visited.
Verizon’s OneSearch promises “unbiased, unfiltered” search results, and no personal profiling.
“We deeply believe in consumer trust and choice, both for our user community and our partners,” said Michael Albers, head of consumer product at Verizon Media, who said OneSearch is an example of Verizon’s “commitment to trust and transparency.” Albers pitched OneSearch to “privacy-minded searchers.”
There are other search engines that offer much the same thing, including DuckDuckGo and Startpage.com, but Verizon has the marketing presence to pick up more users quickly.
Earlier on Tuesday, Google announced several fixes, most notably a decision to phase out third-party cookies. Because of Google’s overwhelming influence, others are likely to follow.
At the CES show in Las Vegas earlier this month, a giant Apple billboard read, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone,” a play on the city’s own privacy pitch to tourists -- and a reminder that Apple believes its privacy protections far surpass other tech companies.