Privacy-preserving search engine Startpage has launched a translation service to take on the likes of Google Translate.
Users type the word ‘translate’ into the search box to reveal a translation screen in which the and output input languages can be selected via dropdowns, or detected automatically in the case of the input, very similar to Google Translate in fact, one obvious difference being that it is limited to 500 characters whereas Google accepts 5,000.
Translate is the fourth enhancement launched by Startpage this year, the others being shopping, currency conversion and private stocks search, which integrates Finnhub.io’s API for real-time share prices.
Startpage (formerly Ixquick) is one of the oldest privacy-oriented engines. The company uses Google’s search APIs but obfuscates users’ details via a web proxy, removing all the trackers and logs. Because it uses Google, the results are similar to the search giant’s, although not exactly the same because of the lack of personalisation.
Like many other engines, Startpage provides Instant Answers from Wikipedia and other sources, so users don’t need to click away from the results page. Another notable feature is Anonymous View which prevents the target site from knowing the search term that brought the user there, or from using cookies or fingerprinting for identification.
Startpage ads are based on keywords rather than user profiling. In 2019, US adtech firm System1 controversially acquired a significant share of the company, resulting in Startpage being struck off a list of such privacy enhancing services by the site privacytools.io. However, it was reinstated after the company insisted its privacy policies, based in Dutch law, would be unaffected.
CEO Robert Beens said the reason for the System1deal was to increase marketing clout in key markets like the US, insisting that worries over changes to the firm’s privacy credentials were unwarranted.
“In no way does System1 want to change the privacy practices or process by Startpage, in fact, they legally cannot as all of those decisions are held by the co-founders of Startpage,” Beens said at the time.