Hide My IP Address: How to Browse a Website without Visiting It

In this article, we'll provide a few tips and tricks on how to use a couple simple advanced web searches to browse a website without actually visiting the target site, effectively remaining invisible to the site's proprietors. Maybe the website is blocked on the computer you are using. Maybe the site seems somewhat sketchy and you want to check it out before you actually visit it. Maybe you want to read some content on the site, while depriving them of your own web traffic. Maybe you don't want the site's proprietors to know your IP address. Whatever the case may be, if you have access to Google, you may very well be able to see the content you are looking for without ever connecting to the site in question.


For this article, we are going to use the website mediaite.com as our example target website. It has a good amount of content, and is structured in a way that will make our demonstration fairly clear. If we just do a simple Google search for the name of the site, mediaite, Google will return hits for the site itself, its Twitter page, a Wikipedia article, its Facebook page, references to it from other sites and so on.

This is not very useful for seeing what sorts of content are on mediaite.com. We are thus going to use an advanced search operator so that Google only returns results that are from mediate.com itself.

Advanced Operator: Google Site Search  

Google allows for the use of so-called "advanced search operators" in its search bar. With these operators, you can easily filter the results of your searches to only return specific types of content. One such advanced search operator, the site search operator, only returns results from a specific website. To run a search that will only return results from our target site, we use the operator term, then a colon, then the full address of the site. So, in the present case, we would enter the following into the Google search bar: site:mediate.com

Now we are getting somewhere. You'll notice that Google now only returns page results that are from our target site itself. We can get an overview of tons of content from our target site just from browsing through these results, to see what pages from the target Google has already indexed.

Browsing a Website's Cached Pages 

Okay, that's all well and good, but we want to actually read content on the site itself, not just get an overview of its various pages! Notice, in the image above, or in any Google search results, that next to the web address of the page, there is a little downward pointing triangle. This is a dropdown menu. Click on the triangle and the dropdown menu will pop up, with two options: Cached and Similar. 

If you click on the "Cached" link, this will take you directly to the most recent snapshot of that page that Google has indexed. Here is a screen grab of Google's cached version of Mediaite's "Contact Us" page:

Notice the web address of this page: webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache . . . We are not viewing the page on the target server itself! We are viewing a snapshot of that page on one of Google's servers. Now, Google's Cached pages are NOT necessarily a snapshot of what that page looks like right now. But a widget at the top of the Cached page will tell you exactly when this snapshot was created.  

Search a Site for Specific Cached Content

Now that we know how to search only for results from a specific site, and read that site's content through Google's cached pages, we can do a site search for specific terms and then read Google's cached results for any of those pages. To do this, all we have to do is add our key term to the site search. Let's say, we wanted to search for articles on the CIA at Mediaite. It's pretty simple: site:mediaite.com CIA

Once you've found the content you're looking for in this way, all you have to do is click through to Google's cached page, and you are reading the desired content from your target site without ever visiting it!

Conclusion and Caveats

With the help of Google's site search and cached pages, we can easily locate and browse content on a target website without ever visiting that site. This means the proprietors of that site have no way of knowing what our IP address is, or when we read their content, or even that we ever read it at all. But we do have a couple caveats here. Since we are using Google, Google's servers still have a record of our IP address, what we searched for, when we accessed the cached page and so on. But the goal here was to hide this information from the target site, not from the search engine. Secondly, it is possible that the Cached page you are reading does not reflect the current content of the page. For example, if a website publishes a page, and then Google created a cached version of the page, but then the target website updates their page, the data in the Google cache will be stale and out of date, until the cache is updated again. That's why it is important to look at the timestamp on the cached page, to get a sense of how old or out of date the content may be. And finally, it is possible that Google has not indexed or has no cached page of the specific content you are looking for. If that is the case, then you are out of luck trying to use this method of quasi-anonymous web browsing. 
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Google's Green Growth: Search Engine Has Renewables In Their Tank

Google is absolutely not planning to hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button in regards to hoping the world's environmental problems will turn out alright.  The company has announced that they will triple their purchase of clean energy over the next ten years.

It takes a lot of fuel to answer all the world's questions.
(Image courtesy solarenergycanada.com.)

According to Greentech Leads, the sultans of search have pledged that their power-sources will focus heavily on sustainables and renewables in the coming years.  While the company claims to have been carbon-neutral since 2007, they have also invested over $2 billion in alternative energy pursuits, including the largest wind farm in America, and the largest solar farm in Africa.

In a press release, Google stated that, “We’re serious about environmental sustainability not because it’s trendy, but because it is core to our values and also makes good business sense...After all, the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place. And in many places clean power is cost-competitive with conventional power.”

...And sometimes cooler-looking than conventional power.
(Image courtesy inhabitat.com.)

The company has also involved themselves in larger-scale awareness campaigns for sustainable power, citing a need to bring policy into the technology so that other nations, businesses, and individuals can also join the clean-energy coalition.

“Laws and policies meant to enable such investment should be designed for the long term and rooted in what science tells us needs to be done,” the release continued. “It’s imperative that policymakers reach a deal that moves us toward a zero-carbon economy. That’s the kind of future we’re committed to helping build, and that future generations deserve.”

We need to sustain the future generations, at least long enough until their art improves.
(Image courtesy ecofriendlylink.com.)

Efficiency is also a key element of the operation.  Google claims that they are able to derive 3.5 times the amount of computing power from the same amount of electricity they were using five years ago.  And that doesn't necessarily mean tearing down everything from the past.  In a recently-purchased former coal-fired power plant that Google intends to turn into a data center, they are in the process of converting the existing electrical infrastructure to support sustainable power.  Other former industrial sites are poised to follow.

So search easy, friends.  Know that the Internet's version of a Grecian oracle is not burning through non-renewable resources just to bring you your precious cat videos and pug pictures. It's nice to see that different but excellent elements of current technology can work together so well for the future.

Search all you want, it's not bad for the environment!
(Image courtesy ilovepugs.tumblr.com.)


Answers To All Of Your Searches: Now, You Can Download Your Entire Google History

As humans, it is an ineffable part of our nature to search.  Searching for meaning, searching for love, searching for a place to call our own...we do love a good quest - sometimes, even if we don't really know what we're searching for.  That fascination has only escalated with the advent of search engines, which require only mere, vague, and often strange commands to set us out onto our next journey.  And now, all that you've searched for can be found again...

Search from your perch...
(Image courtesy forum-politique.com.)

According to NBC News, Google now allows users to download and export their entire search history.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the really ugly, the "no, I really can't have dated that a second time, let alone googled it for more info"...all of it.

The internet remembers all of your bad ideas, even if you try not to.
(Image courtesy sheknows.com.)

You've always been allowed to view this laundry list of licentiousness, sure, but now - as noticed by the unofficial Google Operating System blog - you can, uh, treasure it (?) forever.  All you need to do is go to "Google Web History", click the Gear icon, and select "Download."  If you have Account History enabled, you'll then be provided with the wacky wealth of wisdom that you've been watching all this time on the internet.

(Image courtesy pinterest.com.)

"You can download all of your saved search history to see a list of the terms you've searched for. This gives you access to your data when and where you want," the Google oracle explains. "When you download your past searches, a copy of your history will be saved securely to the Takeout folder in Google Drive. You can download the files to your computer if you want a copy on your computer."

Google will inform you when this cache of crazy is ready for your consumption. A unique and stern warning will precede your download, however:

Remember, you don't want to let anyone else know how often you Google
"underage dragon spanking porn."
Use security.
(Image courtesy google.com.)

Once you admit you are duly aware of these hazards your history may face, the quarterly, chronologically-ordered JSON files can then be downloaded as zip files. Google will send you a confirmation email, and it won't even mock your taste in Bee Gees videos.  Yay!  You're now the keeper of your own archive.  We hope it's awesome.

Thanks to this article, "underage dragon spanking porn" is now a part of our history.  Great.
At least this image was included in the results.
(Image courtesy 15minutenews.com,)


The Question Of Invisibility: Google's Yearly Content Removal Request Report

The thing about dealing with information supergiants is that they not only have power over who sees your secrets and how, but they'll also discuss them when comprehensively covering what dirtier deeds than your own were begged to be scrubbed from the internet.

Such is the nature of Google's semiannual transparency report, another installation of which was released today.  For the first time, this report included some 30 examples of material that had been expressly asked (mostly by government operatives) to vanish from the common knowledge, as though what was reported on was really actually bad enough to transcend the public's millisecond-length attention span.

There's a lot of skullduggery out there...removing the evidence is kind of a big job.
(Image courtesy betanews.com.)

According to newsweek.com, some of it really WAS bad enough that it could ruin lives simply by remaining in the public eye.  Prison inmate abuse, serious sexual accusations, and purported "defamation" of numerous police officers were all included in the materials requested for removal.  None of these requests were granted.

By Google's anaylsis, nearly 8,000 requests were made for information removal during 2013.  These covered the e-extraordinary rendition of some 14,367 pieces of information.  Requests were up 60% from 2012 to have one's secrets permanently kept that way (at least from the eyes of the internet.)  The full transparency report including cases and actions taken is available for analysis.

The specific offending material varied, with governments making 1,066 requests for content be removed from blogs, 841 requests for removal from Google searches, and 765 requests to never again grace the screens of YouTube. These requests comprised the time period between July and December 2013 alone.

Unsurprisingly, people said and did a bunch of dumb stuff caught on Twitter too.
(Image courtesy transparency.twitter.com.)

The most cited reason for the prospective purge was explained as "defamation" (36%), with nudity/obscenity (16%) and security (11%) also making excuses. Google was quick to admit that their report is not a full account of possible online censorship, but is a good metric in that "it does provide a lens on the things that governments and courts ask us to remove, underscoring the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests.”

You can run, and you can rant, and sling all the press and televised mess you want, but you can't hide from the internet. Little Brother has just as many cameras and ears as Big Brother. The "embarrassing" (and maybe appropriately defamatory) results are more than elements of evidence: they are mirrors to our very society. A stark and honest appraisal of that image requires the full picture of our actions, no matter how ugly.

So that's how that works!  Thanks, transparency!
(Image courtesy watchdog.org.)

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Ethically Hunt For Nudie Booty With New Search Engine "BoodieGo"

With all the porn, tasteful nudes, artistic collaborations sans clothing, and outright smut on the internet, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what selection of skin-imagery is most suited to your tastes.  Now, thanks to a new search engine, you can efficiently and ethically satisfy your sex drive, in every flavor from vanilla to rocky roadhouse gangbang.

As reported by salon.com, the new search engine BoodieGo specializes exclusively in finding virus-free, unpirated porn.  BoodieGo co-founder Colin Rowntree, one of a collaboration of "Google refugees" who began the company, assures users that their information will never be sold.  Also, all searches on BoodieGo will be completely and automatically anonymous, not impacting users' other sidebar ads or search engine histories.

Rowntree is particularly proud that BoodieGo focuses on maintaining exclusively non-pirated content. A former producer and director, he understands that piracy hurts studios and performers alike. To keep the pornstars paid, he claims that illegal sharing sites are “...basically just blacklisted from ever getting into the search results."

There's also no ads on BoodieGo, so help their site traffic by getting your (ethical) freak on!
Don't worry, just because it's ethical doesn't mean it's still not really weird.


Duck-Duck-Go Unveils Redesign

From the DuckDuckGo Blog:
Over the past year, as our userbase and community have grown substantially, we've heard great feedback from new and long-term users. Now, we'd like to show you how we've incorporated your feedback with a reimagined and redesigned DuckDuckGo:


This next version of DuckDuckGo focuses on smarter answers and a more refined look. We've also added many new features you've been requesting like images, auto-suggest, places and more. Of course, your privacy is protected as well!
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Snowden Leaks Spurred Massive Growth at DuckDuckGo

From Fastcolabs:
When Gabriel Weinberg launched a search engine in 2008, plenty of people thought he was insane. How could DuckDuckGo, a tiny, Philadelphia-based startup, go up against Google? One way, he wagered, was by respecting user privacy. Six years later, we're living in the post-Snowden era, and the idea doesn't seem so crazy.
In fact, DuckDuckGo is exploding.  Looking at a chart of DuckDuckGo's daily search queries, the milestones are obvious. A $3 million investment from Union Square Ventures in 2011. Just prior to that, a San Francisco billboard campaign. Inclusion in Time's 50 Best Websites of 2011. Each of these things moved the traffic needle for DuckDuckGo, but none of them came close to sparking anything like the massive spike in queries the company saw last July. That's when Edward Snowden first revealed the NSA's extensive digital surveillance program to the world. The little blue line on the chart hasn't stopped climbing north since.

Anti-Tracking, Anonymous Search Engines Bloom in Aftermath of Mass Surveillance Leaks

If you're not using a search engine such as Duck Duck Go, then it is very likely that the search engine you are using is tracking your every move.  Search engines that value privacy and anonymity online are entering a boom following revelations of mass dragnet internet surveillance by government and business.  From The Guardian:
Gabriel Weinberg noticed web traffic building on the night of Thursday 6 June – immediately after the revelations about the "Prism" programme. Through the programme, the US's National Security Agency claimed to have "direct access" to the servers of companies including, crucially, the web's biggest search engines – Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

Within days of the story, while the big companies were still spitting tacks and tight-lipped disclaimers, the search engine Weinberg founded – which pledges not to track or store data about its users – was getting 50% more traffic than ever before. That has gone up and up as more revelations about NSA and GCHQ internet tapping have come in.

"It happened with the release by the Guardian about Prism," says Weinberg, right, a 33-year-old living in Paoli, a suburb of Philadelphia on the US east coast. "We started seeing an increase right when the story broke, before we were covered in the press." From serving 1.7m searches a day at the start of June, it hit 3m within a fortnight.
Yet you've probably never heard of DuckDuckGo.
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