Look out Google. Beware DuckDuckGo. Verizon wants a piece of the search engine pie. Yes, we know it’s 2020, and no, it’s not April Fools Day. Today the media giant and owner of one of the largest mobile networks in the U.S. launched a privacy-focused “consumer search experience” for desktop devices called OneSearch, powered by the punching bag of search engines, Microsoft’s Bing.
Mobile apps and global dominance are still to come — Mobile versions of the service for Android and iOS will follow later this month, and Verizon plans to extend the offering to countries beyond North America later this year.
No tracking to see here, folks — Verizon says OneSearch doesn’t “track, store or share personal or search data,” encrypts search terms, and provides “unbiased, unfiltered search results.” And that’s just in regular mode. Toggle the “Advanced Privacy Mode” switch and aside from switching to dark mode (which bizarrely doesn't carry over to search pages), OneSearch’s search result links will then expire within an hour… which could be very annoying if someone sends you a link from it and you only get to it hours later.
But there are still ads — OneSearch may not share your search history with third-party advertisers, but it’s going to use your searches to serve you ads on search results pages. But Verizon adds the caveat that “Ads will be contextual, based on factors like search keywords, not cookies or browsing history.”
At time of writing, we couldn’t get OneSearch to display any ads, even when using an ad-blocker-free browser. We don’t expect that’ll last, though. Then again, we don’t expect OneSearch will, either. Some things are ripe for disruption, but search engines aren’t among them. Unfortunately for Verizon (and many other companies before it) it's been demonstrated time and again that no one wants to use the second-best search engine.