QLIQZ – Human Web Against Data Giants


Sick of giving away your data for free to data giants like Google, Facebook, and so on? You want to have control over your browser history, search terms, and advertisement when surfing the internet? You are annoyed by scrolling through a list of ads first when entering a term in Google Search? Then CLIQZ might be a very interesting alternative for you. 

CLIQZ combines search engine and browser. A quick search is performed directly in the browser, without having to go to another search engine. Search terms or names of a website are directly entered into the browser line. As done by other browsers, a selection of suggestions for websites appears, without you having to leave the current website.

The Human Web

Heart of the search engine is its algorithm, called Human Web, which ranks search results according to their relevancy, and not related to the content, structuring, and linking of websites as done under Search Engine Optimization. With the Human Web, CLIQZ makes use of the wisdom of the crowd – the community of users. The search algorithm of CLIQZ weighs data about people’s behavior on the web more than the technical analysis of websites. And the more data collected, the better is the search algorithm. But now you might think: “How is that different from Chrome or Firefox? They also collect my data.” In contrast to other search engines that build complete and detailed profiles on their users, CLIQZ only works with anonymous statistical data (CLIQZ Human Web, 2017).

Recent Development

CLIQZ recently hit the headlines with the acquisition of Ghostery, a browser plug-in and mobile app that enables its users to easily detect and control JavaScript “tags” and “trackers”, which allow the collection of the user’s browsing habits via cookies, as well as participating in more sophisticated forms of tracking such as canvas fingerprinting. By this acquisition, CLIQZ wants to increase its user base (AdAge, 2017).

Business Model Evaluation

Although the concept of CLIQZ  is widely described as very promising due to a global shift towards privacy awareness (EY Privacy Trends Report, 2016), this does not automatically lead to business success. Currently, CLIQZ  is a start-up backed by renown investors, namely Hubert Burda Media and Mozilla. As stated on their website, CLIQZ did not decide on how they will generate revenue (CLIQZ Support, 2017), but it should be compatible with the respect they have for our users’ privacy and with the core benefits of their product (direct, fast, clearly structured). Thus, making money like other conventional browsers (mainly through advertisements and search royalties) does not fit their strategy.

The single functions of CLIQZ and Ghostery are not new for consumers. If you do not want to be tracked, other options are already available on the market. Add-ons such as the Privacy Badger block scripts and cookies. The Tor browser offers even more anonymity. To avoid search engines such as Google, Startpage, for example, is also a privacy-friendly alternative.

However, CLIQZ provides a seamless integration of those single features into an encompassing solution. Next to this, the most useful differentiator of CLIQZ is its relevancy-based Quick Search. This combined functionality is currently the main reason for consumers to consider using CLIQZ as a default browser.


References

AdAge. Cliqz, a Mozilla-Backed Search Engine, Buys Privacy Extension Ghostery. Retrieved March 5, 2017 from http://adage.com/article/digital/cliqz-a-mozilla-backed-search-engine-buys-ghostery/307980/

CLIQZ. Human Web. Retrieved March 5, 2017 from https://cliqz.com/en/whycliqz/human-web

CLIQZ. Support. Retrieved March 5, 2017 from https://cliqz.com/en/support

EY Privacy Trends Report (2016). Can privacy really be protected anymore? Retrieved March 5, 2017 from http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-can-privacy-really-be-protected-anymore/$FILE/ey-can-privacy-really-be-protected-anymore.pdf

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