Cliqz was a privacy-oriented web browser and search engine developed by Cliqz GmbH and majority-owned by Hubert Burda Media. It was available as a desktop and mobile web browser as well as an extension for Firefox itself.
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It is a fork of the Firefox web browser with privacy-oriented changes, among which are a crowdsourced anti-tracking mechanism and an in-house search engine embedded within the browser, utilizing its own index of web pages to produce suggestions within the address bar dropdown menu rather than on separate pages. The browser's developers argued that other privacy-focused search engines may still pass the user's IP address to third-party search providers.
In August 2016, Mozilla, the developer of Firefox, made a minority investment in Cliqz. Cliqz planned to eventually monetize the software through a program known as Cliqz Offers, which would deliver sponsored offers to users based on their interests and browsing history. However, these recommendations would be processed locally based on a remote repository of offers, with no personally identifiable data sent to remote servers.
On 29 April 2020, Cliqz announced it will shut down its browser and search engine. Subsequently, the search engine - called Tailcat - was acquired by Brave. As of March 2021, a browser called Ghostery Dawn was reported to be under development (beta version).
Integration with FirefoxEdit
On 6 October 2017, Mozilla announced a test where approximately 1% of users downloading Firefox in Germany would receive a version with Cliqz software included. The feature provided recommendations directly in the browser's search field. Recommendations included news, weather, sports, and other websites and were based on the user's browsing history and activities. The press release noted that "Users who receive a version of Firefox with Cliqz will have their browsing activity sent to Cliqz servers, including the URLs of pages they visit," and that "Cliqz uses several techniques to attempt to remove sensitive information from this browsing data before it is sent from Firefox."
According to the Firefox support website, this version of Firefox collects and sends data to the Cliqz corporation including text typed in the address bar, queries to other search engines, information about visited webpages and interactions with them including mouse movement, scrolling, and amount of time spent; and the user's interactions with the user interface of the Cliqz software. Interaction data collected and sent to the Mozilla corporation includes among other things, counts of visits to search engine pages, which search engines are used, and a Cliqz identifier. The data collection is enabled by default; users must actively opt-out if they do not wish the data to be transmitted.
In 2018, Cliqz released a version of their browser for iOS called Lumen. It natively leveraged Cliqz's search engine, Human Web, and supported ad-blocking and other privacy features, like an optional built-in VPN with access to 25 countries. The VPN network was owned and managed as part of a partnership with FoxyProxy. Lumen was financially profitable, but was discontinued on May 1, 2020 because of changing directors at Cliqz.
- "Cliqz - the Privacy Browser - Apps on Google Play". Google Play Store. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
- "Cliqz Browser on the App Store". iOS App Store. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
- "Releases · cliqz-oss/browser-core". GitHub. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
- "Cliqz Search as an Onion Service". Cliqz. 5 December 2019.
- Lomas, Natasha (15 February 2017). "Private search browser Cliqz buys Ghostery ad-tracker tool". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Lomas, Natasha (23 August 2016). "Mozilla invests in Germany's Cliqz, a private search browser". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Vincent, James (15 February 2017). "Ghostery has been bought by the developer of a privacy-focused browser". The Verge. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- Ghostery Team (15 February 2017). "Ghostery is Acquired by Cliqz! - Ghostery". Ghostery.com. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Stommel, Dorothee (29 April 2020). "Cliqz closes areas for browser and search technologies". Burda.com. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
- "Brave acquires search engine to offer the first private alternative to Google Search and Google Chrome on both mobile and desktop". Brave website. Brave Software, Inc. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
- "Ghostery Browser". Ghostery. Cliqz International GmbH. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
- Osborne, Charlie (9 October 2017). "Mozilla pilots Cliqz engine in Firefox to slurp user browsing data". ZDNet. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Savage, Joni. "Cliqz Recommendations in Firefox". Mozilla Support. Archived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.