An extension against web tracking

Qwant, the privacy-friendly French search engine, recently launched VIPrivacy, a free web browser extension capable of blocking trackers and ad cookies automatically.

Since its inception, Qwant has staked everything on respecting privacy. Recommended by the state and major public institutions, the French search engine therefore claims not to track its users and not to sell the data generated by their requests, while providing neutral results, unlike American giants such as Google or Bing. whose economic model is based precisely on the exploitation of this information. And to further protect Internet users, Qwant now offers VIPrivacy – very important privacy -, a web browser extension that automatically blocks trackers and ad cookies. A free tool that guarantees engine users navigation without tracking or ads.

© Qwant

VIPrivacy: Automatic cookie blocking

In practice, Qwant VIPrivacy takes the form of an add-on for Chrome, Edge and Firefox. Once installed in the browser, it sets Qwant as the default search engine – which obviously doesn’t prevent the use of Google or DuckDuckGo, for example! – Above all, it automatically blocks tracking cookies, which follow an Internet user from page to page on the go. Even better, on most sites, VIPrivacy bypasses the annoying display of the message that requires you to choose cookies. You don’t even have to snoop to find the deny link or settings: the page you’re looking for is displayed directly, without asking for anything. Real comfort greatly facilitates navigation and avoids certain stressful traps. The extension has a few settings that can be accessed in a small control panel – with a click on its icon – allowing you to improve its behavior by selecting the level of protection (Standard, Strict or Disabled).

In fact, Qwant attacks the so-called The privacy paradox, when users agree to share their personal data when they really don’t want to. This paradoxical behavior is often the result of techniques that combine psychology and ergonomics, such as the famous dark patterns, which encourage Internet users to perform certain actions to go faster or take advantage of benefits, in particular accepting all cookies to access the site immediately. VIPrivacy blocks ad trackers and tracking beacons by automatically rejecting cookies and suppressing the display of most intrusive banners on many websites.

Example of a bold pattern that pays to accept cookies, with a top secret link to refuse them. © CCM

Qwant: Engine without a tracker

With VIPrivacy, Qwant reaffirms its desire to respect the confidentiality of its users’ journeys. Engine, which has just revised its interface and graphic charter to clearly distinguish itself from the court, finds a funny catchphrase: “Qwant knows nothing about you, and that changes everything!” An entire program that will be divided into an awareness campaign on online privacy issues. Will this be enough to make Qwant more famous? Not sure. Admittedly, the search engine has progressed and evolved a lot since its launch in 2013. It logged over 200 million queries per month in 2021, an increase of 15% compared to 2020. However, it is still a long way off. About 6.9 billion inquiries per day in the same year! And if you are not planning to compete with the American giant, Qwant promises to continue improving through development “New solutions to protect privacy and personal data […] outside the search engineFocusing on search results in France and Europe as well as the services of Qwant Maps and Qwant Kids. In the meantime, VIPrivacy proves to be an original and effective tool, which should be tested.

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