Is PeekYou Anonymous?
Have you ever tried googling someone but the results weren’t exactly satisfactory? If so, PeekYou might be the app you’re looking for. It provides fairly accurate data and links to a person’s social media profiles and other public websites they’re associated with.
By the looks of it, PeekYou doesn’t seem to be anonymous, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. This is why it pays to take a closer look at PeekYou’s history and how this special search engine works.
Short History of PeekYou
PeekYou isn’t a new thing; it went live in 2006 and the company claims to have well over 250 million users. As indicated, it’s a people search engine that looks for individuals as well as their links to various websites.
The service browses the web and looks for LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Facebook, and public URLs to provide search results. PeekYou also scours the business pages, news sources, homepages, and blogs to offer all-encompassing search results.
It’s interesting to note that PeekYou initially went live in stealth mode, which adds to the site’s overall anonymity. However, it’s undergone an overhaul in 2009 and that iteration is still running at the time of writing.
Granted, none of this information provides a definitive answer regarding PeekYou’s anonymity. This is why you should take a look at their Privacy statement and Terms of Service.
As said, PeekYou only indexes the content that’s public. For example, it won’t display Facebook posts, photos, and user interactions set to private. Choosing to hide some of the content isn’t the same as being 100% anonymous, but there is a silver lining.
The service offers a simple online form that allows a user to be removed from the search results. This is like being erased from the public online records. For that reason, you need to verify your identity to do it.
Convenient as it is, it takes time for the system to figure out you’ve been erased – but expect to be gone in a day or two. More importantly, PeekYou claims not to use your financial or medical information or obtain developer and app data from social media.
So far so good, but what do the Terms and Services say.
Terms and Services
Compared to some other Terms and Services, the ones at PeekYou aren’t that long and they’re easy to understand. However, the area regarding personal information and what happens to it when you sign up for the service is unclear.
Of course, you’re held accountable for the accuracy of the information that might be shared with other PeekYou partners. Overall, the entire legal write-up deals with the aspects that regard your own conduct. But is there a way to understand how much user information PeekYou holds?
Aside from the Privacy Statement, you can try to contact the company and ask. You may call upon the U.S. Personal Data regulations and inquire to have the data removed from PeekYou. But then, you wouldn’t be able to use the service.
So, do you remain anonymous while using PeekYou? It’s safe to assume that the answer is negative. The system does log your information and the searches, but there’s no indication as to what happens to it.
However, there were no data-leak or data-sharing scandals involving this search engine, which may give you peace of mind, even though you’re not exactly anonymous.
A Quick Look at PeekYou’s Algorithm
Like most online services, PeekYou keeps its inner workings a secret. However, some conclusions can be drawn by looking at how the searches are conducted.
For comparison purposes, it’s best to use Google. The search engine giant takes the keywords from your query and provides results that match. This is an overly simplified explanation of what happens, but PeekYou works similarly.
What PeekYou does is estimate if a person, rather than the keyword, can be associated with a URL. The information this search engine provides is also available on Yahoo, Bing, and, of course, Google. Great, but where’s the advantage?
The thing is, PeekYou focuses on individuals, which is usually the information other engines bury. It also cleans everything up and presents it in an easy-to-navigate format.
What Can You Search for?
PeekYou offers searches by name, username, and phone. For the most part, searching by name works just fine, but you may hit a blank wall when you try a username or phone.
This depends on the person or the phone you’re looking for. And the results are usually better if the phone or username is recognized by Google.
Peekaboo – Who’s There?
So, what’s the final verdict? Is PeekYou anonymous? From a user perspective, PeekYou isn’t anonymous because it picks up on your data. On the other hand, it’s great that you get to choose to opt-out from the results.
What do you use PeekYou for? Have you considered opting-out from the PeekYou search? Share your preferences with the rest of the TechJunkie community in the comments section below.