back to article Scroogle unplugged for good this time

Scroogle - a not-for-profit search engine that offered users something of a pro-privacy antidote to Google - has been killed off by its creator. Daniel Brandt called it quits after his servers were repeatedly targeted by DDoS attacks on Scroogle. As we reported last week, the website was out of action and displaying a message …


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  1. Armando 123

    Well ...

    Assuming Mr. Brandt is correct, it's nice to see Google is doing no evil ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well ...

      Could also have been a $100,000 "encouragement" on Mr Brandt's bank account..

      We'll never know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Well ...

        Care to point us to some kind of proof or at least a hint of a proof ? Personal beliefs don't count as I already have too many of them.

    2. Homer 1

      Re: Well ...

      That'd be a false assumption.

      Brandt is a frothing nut who believes Google is "out to get him", who thought the CIA was "spying" on him because ... its site uses cookies, and who stalks and harasses people, trying to expose and smear them to shut them up. Most notably, he spent several years constantly attacking Wikipedia and its contributors, claiming it should "display everything it knows" about them on the one hand, whilst he hypocritically campaigned for better privacy on the other.

      So much for his privacy "ethics".

      Mostly he's just a mentally unbalanced attention-seeker with an axe to grind against Google, for no better reason than personal vanity, because his name and site didn't feature highly in Google's search results.

      I'm all for privacy and anonymization services, indeed I use them all the time, but Brant himself was just an extremely obnoxious and malicious loony-bin with a hypocritical agenda.

      Good riddance.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DDoS attacks?

    Now who could ever want to attack Scroogle... oh wait.

    Can we call them GDoS attacks? :)

    1. Jad

      Re: DDoS attacks?

      If anyone had the processing capacity to take down a cluster of computers, without a botnet; that'd be google!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: DDoS attacks?

        Could also just be Barry Shitpeas with the LOIC tool.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: DDoS attacks?

          Not one to save Google from a good - and well deserved - lynching, but this was probably due to Mr Brandt's many Internet fans...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: DDoS attacks?

            Exactly. Daniel Brandt pissed off Anonymous with his harassment of ED, which is never a good idea...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: DDoS attacks?

            Anon don't like him for (amongst other things) doxing people? Pot/kettle.

    2. HeNe

      Re: DDoS attacks?

      Perhaps they were "GlaDOS" (Google Link And Disc Operating System) attacks.

      It's too bad that Scroogle is no longer "Still Alive".

  3. Alan Esworthy


    Thanks, Mr. Brandt, for providing the Scroogle service. I was a long-term satisfied user and will greatly miss the search site.

    Comments here regarding satisfactory alternatives (non-Bing, non-Google, please) would be welcome.

    1. elsonroa
      Thumb Up

      Just ask the duck...

      You might like to take a look at It's worth clicking through to their privacy policy if you care about these things.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Just ask the duck...

        +1 here

    2. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

      Re: Dang

      Ixquick ( is another decent option.

      I find its results are a bit weaker than Duckduckgo's, but it's worth a shot.

      I usually jump between these two when I'm looking for something, and so far they stand up to the job.

      RIP, Scroogle...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dang (from ixquick) also scrapes Google.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dang

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Who would want to attack Scroogle ? Dammit anyway, I've been using it for several years now and have been using DDG for the past few weeks due to access difficulties, but it will be sorely missed. Many thanks for the good work lads, much appreciated. Anonymous, just because.

    1. LaeMing

      Re: Who would want to attack Scroogle?

      Google? Probably not.

      Any number of dodgy advertisers that use Google? Good odds.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Wtf

      +1 sad to see scroogle go

      Trying DuckDuckGo now, seems to be pretty good - returns actual results rather than page after page of companies flogging stuff (though that may be because they aren't 'optimising' for DDG yet...)

  5. Law

    "Scroogle - a not-for-profit search engine that offered users something of a pro-privacy antidote to Google - has been killed off by its creator."

    It wasn't a not-for-profit search engine, it was a search engine proxy - there is a difference.

    Not that I'm belittling Brandt or the people who use it - I'm all for privacy and tools that help with that goal, used it a few times myself. I just think calling it a search engine is a little bit of a stretch.

    1. Code Monkey

      Seeing as we're splitting hairs...

      Enter keywords, get search results. It's a search engine, just not one with its own index.

      1. chris lively

        Re: Seeing as we're splitting hairs...

        No.. These aren't hairs to split.

        A "search engine" implies that it's actually doing some type of work to collate the search and return valid results.

        scroogle was a different UI where the ads etc were erased. Not quite the same thing at all; and not splitting hairs.

  6. JDX Gold badge

    I'm not sure why Google would want to kill it using DOS, when they have/had less dubious ways to stop it working. I'm wondering who dislikes Scroogle though - did the owner fall out with Anon?

    I never understood why Scroogle was allowed by Google to run so long in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Erm, it would bad publicity to shut it off from within Google themselves. Do you even have to ask?

      Especially with all the privacy failures Google has been involved recently.

  7. JDX Gold badge

    Google's PR could easily explain to the average punter how Scroogle is copying their results and displaying as its own, in such a way Scroogle looks bad and Google looks like the victim. In fact since it's kind of true, it wouldn't even be hard to do!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you only take off your Google tinted glasses for a second you'll see Scroogle can also claim that they were offering the only way to Google searches PRIVATELY without any tracking.

      You'd then find people would quite like the idea of doing Google searches privately a lot more than they would feel bad for Google missing a few dollars out of their billions in lost ad revenue.

      You still think Google would be seen as the victim?

      1. auburnman

        Not to mention of course

        that Google probably don't want the powers that be or public opinion coming up with a verdict on 'their' results, given that this largely means extracts of other people's content. It's a grey area at best.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not to mention of course

          Not at all, my friend. If you do some research you will be surprised to discover that Google and Yahoo for that matter have detailed instructions on how to prevent your web site form being displayed in their search results, and also how to remove all the information already present. You're free to stay out of Google search if you want it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 17:41 - Yes I still think that.

        The same way that taking a Microsoft service and offering it in a modified form is immoral and illegal at the same time (remember the web site who was downloading and repackaging Windows updates/patches for you).

        Feel free to hate Google but if users don't like Google search service they can easily move to other search provider with better privacy policies.

        I find that for an evil company Google was extremely generous with Scroogle.

      3. JDX Gold badge

        >>If you only take off your Google tinted glasses for a second

        Stealing from someone and then claiming the moral highground is absurd. If someone wants to create their own search engine and provide all the servers to run it, advert and tracking free, THEY can claim the kudos.

        Passing Google's service off as your own is no different as using your neighbour's WiFi so your ISP can't see what you're doing... it's just plain wrong.

        1. SYNTAX__ERROR

          "Different as"?

          Back to school for you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Passing Google's service off as your own

          is exactly not what Scroogle did. They were very clear, they told users they scraped Google and stripped out the sponsored and google suggested sites. They prevented Google keeping data on their users and targeting crap at them.

          Your comparison with logging on to your naighbour's wifi is false. You're just plain wrong.

  8. sueme2


    I was a scroogler too.


    ixquick got it right on top

    blekko is blank

    seeks gets it down the road a bit

    ebay fails

    amazon misses the point

    bing must be doing a scrape again, it returns spot on

    yahoo looks like bing

    google is close enough.

    So, I just added ixquick to my gallery. Thanks forthe pointer

    sad day when scroogle has to close.

  9. Steve Mann


    Scrapage is the cow-pat in the field of interweb information technology.

    Do your own work. If you crib from others without their permission, don't whine when they put a stop to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      Steve, are you so strongly against scrapage that you didn't even read the article?

  10. Mario Becroft

    Sad to see it go

    Especially with all the latest 'enhancements' to Google search, Scroogle was the only thing that made Google usable to me. I am now trying out DuckDuckGo which provides options to remove all the crap and simply show me the search results... what I originally started using Google for and what I still want from a search engine. This has nothing to do with stealing Google's search results and everything to do with having a simple and efficient user interface, something Google sadly doesn't offer any more. I would be happy to pay Google for this service if they offered it.

  11. Fatty Eglon

    As an alternative try ...

    Search engine with no adds or tracking. Duck does have ads, cookies and has it's servers with Amazon.

    Who knows what really happened to Scroogle. Wierd thing at one stage was some crazy redirect to domain name site type thingy with chinese characters. Google probably aren't that bothered, most people give little thought to searching through google or using security add-ons.

    Steve Mann knows what he's talking about... Ha ha He he. What a cheddar. Although +1 for the use of the word "Scrapage" ;-)

    RIP Scroogle your death was inevitable. Maybe someone could make a collection of your cartoons!! That would be good ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As an alternative try ...

      I'll give that one a try. Appears they are using Google's API too, wonder how long that will last...

      As for DuckDuckGo: 1) You can turn off the (very light) ads via the settings 2) The cookie has no personal information, it's just the settings. Here's mine:


      Could you explain the concern with Amazon cloud hosting?

  12. veskebjorn

    DuckDuckGo gives great search

    DuckDuckGo (DDG) seems to be the most secure and private search engine/metasearch consolidator. It is by far the most customizable. Read the man pages, check (or uncheck) the boxes, and use the "Add to Search Bar" plugin to search in the manner to which you'll soon become accustomed. Don't forget SSL (put in the address bar)! DDG is also a "Tor exit enclave," which can make your searches even more secure. DDG does *not* scrape Google, at least directly. DDG also has a simple HTML version--no Javascript required.

    Privatelee used to be called Qrobe and, confusingly, still can be, (I don't think there is a difference.) They scrape Google, Bing, and Ask and play well with SSL. Configuration options are minimal, but you can "Add to Search Bar" to get the SSL version and turn off the annoying "Web Of Trust."

    Ixquick is another partly-European-based metasearch engine which claims to provide ultimate privacy. Considerable customizing is possible. So is SSL. Ixquick also can serve as an SSL proxy for sooper-sekrit roque state overthrows and/or the downloading of juicy porn without defiling the eyeballs of FBI agents.

    Try them all, settle on one, and use the other two when you're not getting what you wanted with the one you chose.

  13. Bernd Felsche

    Google "results"

    I used Scroogle because my searches weren't tracked.

    Prior to that, I used Google; but made sure that it was searching for "random" stuff a lot more often than my genuine searches. What people search for in the commercial arena may be related to what they do in confidence. Aggregation of search strings provides the intelligence to indicate the direction of such activity. The objective may be to place targeted adverts alongside the search results, but the uses of the collected data go far beyond that purpose.

    From what I've seen, a great many people use Google when it's not needed. They type the url of the web site that they want into the Google search text. Then they click on the first match. (Yikes and Yikes!) Many refuse to be educated as to the "address bar" in their browser window..

    Bad? Much worse.

    Some prominent blogs frequently use a Google search URL with embeded URL for the real site. Bloggers already have the ability to collect statistics about which links are clicked from their site and have the REFERER information to tell them how some users got to their blog.

    Intellectual enfeeblement is rife.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Google "results"

      >>Prior to that, I used Google; but made sure that it was searching for "random" stuff a lot more often than my genuine searches.

      That's paranoia of the most hilarious type. Well done. Perhaps you should just keep off the internet if you're so scared of people watching you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: 'hilarious paranoia' and Google

        Look JDX, the NSA recently moved to the best practice/best available techniques model of assuming all their networks are compromised.

        In fairness, I reciprocally assume that all my tools/websites/everything-internetty are compromised by god-knows-who; I have talked to members of the ILETS group about it!

        I personally run the FF/Mozilla+Chrome 'track me not' plug-in from the NYuniversity I don't *need* to run it , but I choose to do so, the 'hilarious' attitude on the other hand will actually kill people

      2. Craig 12

        Re: Re: Google "results"

        >>That's paranoia of the most hilarious type.

        JDX is right, but probably for a different reason. Everything is being logged and stored by ISPs, so it's not that paranoid to think one day in the future the plod will set their sights on you, and trawl through your searches to add a few extraneous charges for leverage. Any number of harmless searches, such as home DIY or health concerns could probably be mangled into a pattern of terrorism or sexual deviance.

        However, it is silly to think a few extra searches would throw anyone off. If a computer can beat you at chess, it can tell that a search for "purple monkey dishwasher" immediately after "brazilian fart fetish" is probably subterfuge. You'd need to generate millions of queries to stand a chance at deceiving anyone.

        Hmm, maybe I'm more paranoid than I thought.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Google "results"

          Dear Craig 12, the ways out of mass surveillance are two-fold: A) bypass the monitoring nexus (almost impossible!) and B) swamp the systems with data (old *nix signatures containing the word 'bomb')

          A) is almost impossible due to the many and various levels where the monitoring is performed: DPI boxes, telecom switches, IMP/CCDP. Bypassing DPI et al will surely be illegal somewhere/sometime.

          B) as you say is 'silly' - we have limited dilution tools- but it is the only legal alternative to profiling by persons/enterprises with an unclear agenda. remember that the for example Amesys massive interception tools can find a keyword in a whole year of internet communications data.

          My recent TrackMeNot history is : Cheap Flights from London,Leads Celtics Past Bulls,North Carolina having been,Summer Session Associate Coordinator,highest quality render tools,After graduating from Emory,Coach Service Dublin Galway,child upon whom everything,Alabama football team conducted,Digital Field Guide Brochure,Scollard Hall Catholic Secondary,TributeDirect works with thousands,what special features would,Check that your words,Chain Reaction Cycles conform,company said Monday that,East County Property Management,Burton Carpenter about snowboarding,NJCAA National Junior College,sale including surrounding areas,differs from broadcast television,Crewed Caribbean Yacht Charters, Powabyke Electric Bikes Please,Utah Shock Home Page,Days Risk Free Refund, controllo dello User Agent,Delivery Information from Debenhams,this often like myopia,especially those things that,mixed media production house,Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed

          the entropy/randomness is far from perfect - but it will do for the moment, I'm not trying to be illegal but "trying to inject reasonable doubt in everyone’s queries" for this we may need massed FPGA random search or random datagram generators to fight back against massive interception, should that be the only way to proceed, thanks for your encouragement!

  14. Bernd Felsche
    Thumb Up

    Goodbye and thanks for all the fiche

    Big thumbs up to Daniel Brandt for trying to do the right thing.

    May all your toast be warm and crisp.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Goodbye and thanks for all the fiche

      The "right thing" being stealing someone else's work because you don't want to pay the price they ask for it?

      1. Bernd Felsche

        Re: Re: Goodbye and thanks for all the fiche

        There was no stealing.

        The price isn't advertised.

        And when you figure out the price, it is far too high for what is delivered.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Re: Re: Goodbye and thanks for all the fiche

          Stealing has nothing to do with price. If I make a website and I stipulate you can't scrape it for your own benefits, you're not allowed to. It doesn't matter what whiny faux-ethical view you take.

          The simple fact is, you're not entitled to free internet search. Don't like Google's terms... don't use Google.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have a feeling Google are working on changes that will break browsers that don't enable Javascript, and thus use Google's over-fancy AJAX interface.

    For a few days now, I've been intermittently getting search results that have no link to the pages of the results. The description is there, along with the links to the cached page and the and 'similar' search, but the link at the top of each result in the larger text that goes to the actual page, and the printed URL at the bottom are missing. Enabling Javascript makes everything work, but in that annoying AJAX way.

    Google usually test things like this randomly on some users before rolling it out.

    God, I hate the way it just searches every time I type another character. When I start using the arrow keys to edit my search terms, it slows the computer right down as it's constantly searching incomplete, half-edited terms in the background before I've finished amending what's in the box.

    I know you can disable it if you go into Google's settings page, but as my browser wipes cookies on exit, and I run C-Cleaner to wipe Flash cookies when I boot, that setting gets lost. If these changes are targeting dumb lusers, why not let them opt in, knowing they'll never want to wipe their cookies, "whatever a cookie is".

    But Google say the majority of retards using the Internet find it faster by benchmark amounts. Yet again, we all have to go at the pace of the slowest ship.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Bah#

    Sorry to see it go

    Do your own work. If you crib from others without their permission, don't whine when they put a stop to it.

    Google crib from everybody [me included] without permission.

    Nobody complains because they want to be found in a search.

    AC for that reason

    It would be good if there were a range of sizeable alternatives. There are problems when companies get too big - your greatest strength is your biggest weakness.

    People went off Microsoft, it's happening to Apple, and Tesco and now Google, Facebook's next

    - see what Obama is doing with Facebook

    Obama, Facebook and the power of friendship: the 2012 data election

    This is really really creepy!

    There aren't many very big companies that were around 100 years ago that are still going today

    [remember what Rupe paid for Myspace and what he sold it for?]

    1. Cryo

      Re: Re Bah#

      "Alright, Mr. President, after months data harvesting, we've devised some surefire tactics to ensure your re-election. First up is wardrobe. The suit has to go. We've found that bloggers who wear low-cut shirts or no shirts at all in their user photos get the most friends, so we recommend doing the same. Perhaps a beach appearance in a mankini right before elections might help boost voter confidence as well."

  17. Beaver6813
    Black Helicopters

    Not a Google DDOS...

    According to ED, the owner thought Anonymous had issues with him for revealing names...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Additional information

    Here's some additional information that was leaked a few days ago.

  19. Mint Sauce


    If you dig into the more search tools bit on the left with Google you can enable 'Verbatim' search which at least makes it search for the term you entered rather than what it thinks you want.

    However I discovered that too late - I've already switched to DDG for 90% of my search needs. And once I've worked out all the ! syntax I'd imagine I'll hardly go to the big G at all.

  20. b166er

    Wasn't the source code available at one point?

    Anyone have a copy?

  21. Dave 126 Silver badge

    interestingly, I saw this on the ixquick home page:


    Ixquick now offers anonymous

    Google results on its sister website

    Try your search now!"

  22. min

    when outta luck...

    ...just ask the duck.

    as has been mentioned, ads can be disabled and there's absosmurfly no tracking, which is always nice.

  23. sabroni Silver badge

    Google have taken their eye off the ball. They are so busy fannying around with other projects that basic search has fallen by the wayside. I didn't realise how important the "+" was in getting good results from them, but since they removed that feature I find myself having to look to other search engines for technical help in my day to day work.

    But then, as the majority of their searches are people typing "facebook" to go to facebook, I guess I'm just not the target market anymore....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google search goes downhill in so many ways

      I agree, I know what I'm looking for - I saw it yesterday. I enter the search terms and I get total and utter CARP back from google. I hate the search before I've finished typing too , I sometimes use the scraper which automates the affiliates deletion

      e.g. it would have this effect ITEM -inurl:(kelkoo bizrate pixmania dealtime pricerunner dooyoo pricegrabber pricewatch resellerratings ebay shopbot comparestoreprices ciao unbeatable shopping opinions nextag buy bestwebbuys) [pipes '|' removed from between items in the brackets to avoid columnar comments overshoot]

      for completeness, we have to mention the amazing At first , this looks like a joke! however it has occasionally allowed otherwise forbidden "search" from within those authoritarian democidal regimes where the ownership of a mirror is still allowed.

  24. SpaMster
    Paris Hilton

    Now forwards to a pron site, nice

  25. Jaruzel
    Black Helicopters

    DIY Option

    It's all too easy to knock up a semi-anonymous Google proxy:

    It's no where near as good as DuckDuckGo, and was written to prove a point (or for when I'm searching for something I REALLY don't want Google to tell Doubleclick all about).

    Happy to share the source code for those that contact me.

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