Protect your search activity
When using the web we need to use a search engine in order to locate resources.
Because you must use these engines, you must send them information regarding the things you are seeking. Search companies like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. store your searches and by matching your IP to your location can use them to target you with ads related to your search subject and geographical location. Since your IP can identify exactly who you are if your ISP were to disclose which of their customers was assigned that IP, your searches can be tracked to a specific ISP customer....that's YOU.
Google has been known to tip off law enforcement about things they find on users computes without their knowledge.
We don't suggest that you have anything illegal but you may still have something to hide from some one. Credit cards and bank information, health information? Company secrets, reseach, a reporter's information sources, or you may be a disident or even an actual spy..we don't know but privacy should be for everyone.
We are not saying we think Google or Microsoft would be snooping around your personal files without your knowledge but they can. And if they can, who else might find a way in.
While it is true we don't think you would be searching for illegal or incriminating things, some people as a normal part of their profession, perhaps an investigative reporter or journalist, might need to search for things related to a story that for which they would rather not be associated, like a murder or how to build a destructive device and so on.
Some of these things you are better off running TOR then doing your research for that expose!
The first rule of course, use a VPN. But beyond that, use only secure searches. If you like Google, replace the normal URL with this:
https://encrypted.google.com/ It will at least encrypt the subject of your search between your browser and Google. Yes they will still know what you are searching for, after all they can't find answers if they don't know the question. No way around that.
If you are at a location on a computer that lacks VPN you can normally add a layer of protection by loading your engine via a free proxy like https://www.proxfree.com/. There are others you can try as well.