Privacy Policy

We take your users' privacy very seriously. Our default settings give your users great privacy protection without compromising on speed or usability. However, you can configure your Search Expander settings to suit your own search engine's privacy policy.

  • We don't store your users' searches

    We don't store your users' search queries. This ensures your users' privacy and means that their searches cannot be tied together to form a profile of them.

  • We don't sell any data to advertisers

    Since we don't store your users' searches, we have no data to sell to advertisers. This means that advertisers can never use any data from Search Expander to target your users with ads.

  • We don't permanently store any user data

    We don't permanently store your users' IP addresses, user agents or any other user data that could be used to identify your users. Unless you proxy your requests to Search Expander, we will log your users' IP addresses and user agents in our server access logs for up to 7 days for the purposes of security and the detection of any malicious requests, after which we will permanently delete them (see below).

  • We automatically delete our server logs every week

    Every website keeps their own server access logs, which store all the HTTP requests made to the server. We take the extraordinary step of automatically deleting our server access logs every week, which ensures that your users' data is never stored for more than 7 days.

  • Proxy all your requests

    All requests to Search Expander's API may be proxied, which shields your users' IP addresses, user agents and other user data from our servers. This means that we cannot see or log this data for any period of time whatsoever. This is useful for private search engines. Additionally, all our assets, third-party images and other third-party data can all be proxied separately.

  • We don't track your users across the web

    Unlike Google, we don't track your users across the web. This means your users won't see any ads following them around the web as a result of any data they've requested from Search Expander.

  • All data requests are encrypted

    As is the standard these days, all data requests made by our service are SSL-encrypted, ensuring that the users' ISP (Internet Service Provider) cannot see the full request or the response data.

  • We don't use Google Analytics

    Most large websites use Google Analytics – a free, powerful tracking tool that gives webmasters lots of data about their visitors – and all that data also goes back to Google. Which is why we don't use it. In fact, we don't use any external tracking tools.

  • Let your users break free from their filter bubble

    When you search on Google, your search results are often influenced by your search history and your search profile. This is called a filter bubble. At Search Expander, the data we provide to your users is not based on anything but their search query and search results, allowing them to break free from their filter bubble.

  • POST vs GET Requests

    Some private search engines use POST requests by default, whilst others allow their users to choose. Our service supports GET and POST requests, which can be configured client-side. This gives you and your users full control over how requests are handled.

  • Let your users choose our EU server

    We have a number of servers in different countries with proximity steering and failover support to give your users the fastest response time and maximum uptime. However, we also allow you or your users to specify that all our data is served from our EU server, if need be.

  • Our service is fully configurable

    You can switch elements of our data on or off as you please. For example, if you don't want playable audio samples from Spotify, embedded Google Maps, embedded YouTube videos or Wikipedia popup balloons, you can simply switch these things off. We put you and your users in full control.

  • Get a cookie-free experience!

    We do not set our own cookies on your users' devices. But, for maximum speed, we can allow third-party code such as Google Maps and third-party images to be downloaded directly from the source, should you choose to do so. Some of these third-party services may set cookies. But by disabling third-party code and proxying third-party images, etc., you can ensure that no cookies whatsoever will be set.

What data do we collect?

We only collect and permanently store aggregated, non-personalised data for the purposes of providing you with reporting data and improving our services. This includes...

  • the total number of data requests made in each country, on each type of device, by each search engine customer
  • the type of data request, e.g. knowledge panel, instant answers, etc.
  • the total number of requests made to our external data providers like Wikipedia
  • error data, including error codes, etc.

How do we use this data?

We use this data for the purposes of providing reports to our search engine customers, which enables them to see how many data requests have been made from their search engines, from which countries, and the type of data request.

We also use this data to provide our own reports on the number, type and source of data requests being generated by each search engine customer. We also use it to detect and help prevent abuse of our service.

What data do we share with other third-parties?

We often request data from other parties to enhance your users' search experience, such as Wikipedia, TMDb, Spotify, Goodreads, IGDB, TripAdvisor, etc. This is almost always done anonymously by our server on your users' behalf. The only exceptions are client-side requests, all of which can either be proxied or switched off, if need be. These include the following...

  • Wikipedia popup balloons: (desktop and laptop computers only): within our knowledge panels, we include lots of data from Wikipedia. If you hover your mouse pointer over a link within our knowledge panel, we can pop open a balloon to show your users more information about that topic. This information is pulled dynamically from Wikipedia in real-time. This popup reveals the user's IP address to Wikipedia, just as if the user were searching on Wikipedia directly, but, importantly, it does not reveal the user's search query to Wikipedia. This feature can be easily switched off or proxied by configuring your Search Expander settings.

  • Embedded maps: if the user's search is location-based, we can show the user an embedded, interactive map to show the location, which improves the user experience. For example, if your user searched for the “Tower of London”, we could show the user its location on a map. Embedded, interactive maps are requested in real-time using client-side javascript and reveal the user's IP address and user agent to the map provider, just as if the user searched on their site directly. One of the map providers we offer you is Google Maps because it offers the best user experience and it's free, enabling us to keep our costs down. This feature can be easily switched off.

  • Embedded videos: If videos are returned as part of your user's search results, we can often embed these videos within your search results so that your users can play them without leaving your search results page. If these videos are from YouTube, then we embed the videos in such a way that it prevents YouTube from setting or reading cookies, which prevents YouTube gathering data about your users. However, if your user chooses to play the video, the video will be streamed directly from the video source site and your user will be subject to their privacy policy, just as your user would if he/she played the video directly on the source site. In the case of YouTube, this means your user will be subject to Google's privacy policy, just as if he/she viewed the video directly on YouTube. If your user is signed-in to YouTube at the time, your user's personalised YouTube privacy settings will be used.

    If you'd prefer to switch embedded videos off (for YouTube and other video sources), you can do so by configuring your Search Expander settings. Alternatively, you can also opt to see a poster image of the video instead (which can be proxied) which includes a simple link to the third-party video source site (e.g. YouTube).

  • Image thumbnails: To make our data load as fast as possible, image thumbnails contained within the response data are downloaded directly to your users' browsers from the image source site by default. The source site may include Wikipedia, TMDb (The Movie Database, for movie or TV poster images, movie thumbnails and actor thumbnails), Goodreads and occasionally Google Books (for book covers), Spotify (for album covers and similar artists, etc.), YouTube (for video thumbnails), IGDB (for video game images), Tripadvisor (for thumbnail images of restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions), etc. When your users download these thumbnail images directly from the source, the source site can see your users' IP addresses and user agents, but they cannot see your users' search terms. Some third-party sites may set cookies on your users' devices.

    For a private search experience, with no cookies, all image thumbnails from third-party sites can be proxied. This prevents the third-party site from seeing your users' IP addresses and user agents and prevents them setting or reading cookies.

Private Search Engines

Our service can be used by private search engines to render our data in a completely private way:

  • We support the use of a proxy, so that all data requests and responses to our server are made via a proxy. This is something that will have to set up on your end – detailed instructions can be found in our documentation.

  • We support POST vs GET requests, which can be configured client-side, allowing your users to choose between the two options.

  • We allow all our assets and all third party images, audio and data requests to be proxied. You can set your own proxy URL for each of these by configuring your Search Expander settings.

  • By default, we use proximity steering to serve our data from the closest server to your user. However, we also allow your users to specify that all our data is served from our US or EU-server.

What if I email you?

If you email us, we will store your email on our email server. This obviously includes your email address.

This privacy policy is subject to change as we add and modify the features on Search Expander.

If you have any questions about this privacy policy or anything else then please contact us.