Google’s rival, Better Internet Search, is an ad-free search engine that is also committed to user privacy.
The company is said to have attracted backing from a coalition of UK and European businesses, determined to advance a next-generation internet “more tailored to user needs than a handful of tech giants”.
A pre-seed funding round has secured investors including Scotcoin, a community interest corporation (CIC) that has created a cryptocurrency “dedicated to positive change and a fairer Scotland”.
Partisia Blockchain, led by Denmark, provides the new search engine with blockchain technology.
Backers include a small group of the company’s early adopters from North America and Europe, while Glasgow law firm Bellwether Green has represented the company in investment transactions.
The search engine claims that its ad-free, subscription-free service consumes 35% less energy because it does not use ad servers or process sponsored content.
Gordon Povey, Managing Director of Better Internet Search, said, “We believe our type of search engine is better for the planet.
“By eliminating advertising, we’ve drastically reduced the amount of processing, data storage and communications required, we speed up the delivery of results and don’t clog up your screen, processor, broadband and Wi-Fi with advertising content.
“We eliminate 30 to 40% of the processing, which represents a significant energy saving. Many of our users want to be more sustainable consumers. We are also developing a technology capable of ranking the products found by our search engine according to sustainability factors. »
Temple Melville, Managing Director of The Scotcoin Project CIC, said, “We are delighted to announce our strategic involvement with Better Internet Search.
“Culturally, we see great similarities between the companies and Scotcoin has invested in Better Internet Search – confirming our excitement and confidence in their vision online. We look forward to working with them on the charities and businesses this collaboration will support. »
Kurt Nielsen, co-founder and chairman of Partisia Blockchain, added, “For decades, the internet has operated the same way, while in the meantime the world it serves has changed dramatically.
“Privacy is now non-negotiable and demanded of users, businesses and governments.
“Our collaboration with Better Internet Search will ensure that privacy is built into the heart of the new search engine, which means that users no longer have to worry about the risks and fears of sharing their personal data when they use the Internet.”
The ad-free search engine generates revenue when users are in “shopping mode” because online sales from shopping searches earn commissions.
Povey said ad-based models try to get users to want a specific thing, while the alternative brokerage model uses search to find the thing you actually want.
For example, instead of serving ads to users while they search, the search engine waits until they choose to shop and only receives a commission once the purchase is made.
Regulators are also beginning to take steps to improve competition, Better Internet Search noted.
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