Hulbee: privacy-oriented search engine

You might have already come across the fact that search engines like Google invade your privacy and track you. There are alternatives like DuckDuckGo, Startpage which focus heavily on honoring user privacy. Hulbee is a new name in the list with its servers located in Switzerland. Continue reading Hulbee: privacy-oriented search engine

Goosh: Google shell for browsers

google_compHere’s a stylish way to flaunt your browser’s home page – Goosh. It’s an unofficial Google shell from where you access some of the Google services. There are several supported commands (with easy aliases) which you can use to fetch results. The results appear 4 at a time and you can fetch more if you want. The search result links open in a new browser tab.


  • Use Google search, blogs, news, feeds
  • Use the lucky option to get the first result
  • Search Wikipedia or Amazon. Use the site keyword (as in the regular Google search) to search a specific site.
  • Use Google search modifiers like double qoutes, define…
  • Mathematical calculations
  • Shows suggestions in case of typos
  • Open source


List of supported commands (at the time of writing):

command aliases parameters function
web (search,s,w) [keywords] google web search
ls [command] lists commands
wiki (wikipedia) [keywords] wikipedia search
site (in) <url> <keywords> search in a specific website
read (rss,r) <url> read feed of url
clear (c) clear the screen
amazon (am) [keywords] amazon search
settings (set) [name] [value] edit settings
feeds (feed,f) [keywords] google feed search
help (man,h,?) [command] displays help text
more (m) get more results
lucky (l) [keywords] go directly to first result
calculate (calc) [mathematical expression] evaluate a mathematical expression
go (g) <url> open url
open (o) <url> open url in new window
blogs (blog,b) [keywords] google blog search
news (n) [keywords] google news search
cd <command> change mode
addengine add goosh to firefox search box
load <extension_url> load an extension

– Enter green commands without parameters to change default mode.
– Anything that’s not a command will search in current default mode.
– Aliases will expand to commands. Numbers will expand to corresponding search results.
– Use cursor up and down for command history.
– Enter keyword and hit the tab-key for tab-completion.
– Commands marked with * are experimental, use them with care and please report any bugs.

Here’s an example custom search:> s "cli tools"

Fetch more results:> m

To add Goosh search to your browser, run:> addengine

Webpage: Goosh

Surfraw: web search from terminal

           ______  _     _  ______   _______  ______   _______  _  _  _
          / _____)(_)   (_)(_____ \ (_______)(_____ \ (_______)(_)(_)(_)
         ( (____   _     _  _____) ) _____    _____) ) _______  _  _  _
          \____ \ | |   | ||  __  / |  ___)  |  __  / |  ___  || || || |
          _____) )| |___| || |  \ \ | |      | |  \ \ | |   | || || || |
         (______/  \_____/ |_|   |_||_|      |_|   |_||_|   |_| \_____/

You might have heard the allegations about search giants recording your data or tracking it. And you might have heard about Julian Assange. Would it be surprising to know that Assange wrote a cmdline perl based tool to search Google (and many other web services) at lightning speed… a tool sans the tracking? I guess not.

Such a tool exists, written in 2000. It’s Surfraw.

Each supported search engine or database (like Google, Wikipedia, Slashdot etc.) is called an elvi in Surflaw, apparently as a tribute to Elvis (Ref: Wikipedia).


  • Search tons of websites in addition to Google. To get the full list
    $ surfraw -elvi
  • Supports bookmarks
  • Supports bash completion (elvi names, options, arguments) using <Tab>
  • Use Google Translate, images, news, mps, video etc.
  • Supports safe search filter
  • Works best with text-based browsers like links, lynx, w3m


To install Surfraw on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt-get install surfraw surfraw-extra


The user-specific configuration file is ~/.surfraw.conf. The syntax is simple – defyn is used for boolean configuration variables, def for all others. Example configuration:

def SURFRAW_text_browser      /usr/bin/lynx
defyn SURFRAW_graphical       yes
def SURFRAW_graphical_browser firefox
def SURFRAW_results           10
def SURFRAW_lang              uk


Surfraw has many options, many of them specific to the elvi (search service). If you do not want to type surfraw all the time, sue the alias sr.

  • The general syntax
    sr elviname [options] search terms..
  • Search Google with multiple terms and limit results to 100
    $ sr google -results=100 foo "bar baz" bam
  • Search Wikipedia
    $ sr wikipedia surfraw
  • Search a phrase
    $ sr austlii -method=phrase dog like
  • Get a rhyming word
    $ surfraw rhyme Julian
  • Search a RFC about mime
    $ sr rfc s/mime
  • Translate a word
    $ sr translate logiciel

Webpage: Surfraw (with love, from Julian Assange)

Privacy Badger: new browser add-on to block trackers

Privacy Badger is a new browser extension being developed by EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) to protect your online privacy. Privacy Badger blocks spying ads and invisible trackers. It’s there to ensure that companies can’t track your browsing without your consent.

While there are tools like Disconnect which also do the job well Privacy Badger gives you a clearer view of which trackers are trying to track you. It also allows you more control on dealing with the trackers.

Privacy Badger sends a Do Not Track header with each request and when it finds that the request is not being honored, it automatically blocks any requests being sent to the domain. Each tracker is denoted by 3 suggestive states: GREEN (unblocked), YELLOW (do not send cookies or referrers) and RED (block). You can change the state manually too. Advertisers and other third-party domains can unblock themselves in Privacy Badger by making a strong commitment to respect Do Not Track requests. By including this mechanism, Privacy Badger not only protects users who install it, but actually provides incentives for better privacy practices across the entire Web.

It is still in an Alpha stage as we write and needs more testing. We encourage readers to try it out and send feedback or bug reports. Currently it supports Firefox and Google Chrome.

Similar extension for Firefox – Ghostery.

Webpage: Privacy Badger

Disconnect: ensure online privacy

Disconnect is a browser plugin which enhances your online privacy by blocking invisible tracking websites. It has an intuitive interface and can also show you the count of blocked trackers. The number can be overwhelming sometimes, e.g. opening the Yahoo! homepage shows 45 trackers blocked! It saves your bandwidth and reduces the number of your online footprints. The types of trackers it can detect and block are Ads, Analytics, Social and Content. Works on Firefox and Google Chrome.

Disconnect Search is a Beta plugin which lets you search privately without being tracked. Currently it supports Google, Bing, Yahoo, Blekko and DuckDuckGo. It can also integrate itself to the omnibox (address bar) search or search from anywhere (now a Beta feature). It anonymizes your search terms from search engines, resulting websites and ISPs. An alternative to this plugin is to use Startpage as your default search engine.

Webpage: Disconnect, Disconnect Search

[Courtesy: Jester Raiin]

Startpage: Google search with privacy

startpage_compI was surprised to find Startpage as the default search engine in the Tor browser. I understood the reasons when I clicked on the Privacy policy page. Unlike Google, which according to its latest agreement with users considers search results from users and their usage data as Google’s property, Startpage never saves any of your data. But it gives the same results as Google! How you ask? It uses its own Proxy to filter the Google search results when you enter any keyword. So you get just what you want – only the search results and no invasion of your privacy by Google. Continue reading Startpage: Google search with privacy