I always enjoy investigaing new and unusual search engines that appear in our Koko Analytics referrer logs. Today I discovered a search engine with a distinct name: AlohaFind.

AlohaFind touts itself as a private search engine, but we know better than to take such promises at face value. With that being said, AlohaFind’s privacy policy as it pertains to search is mostly solid (note the privacy policy seems to also discuss AlohaFind’s separate browser and VPN services). AlohaFind asserts that it does not log user activities or record IP addresses. There is a caveat in that AlohaFind states that its “selected partners might log your actual IP details.” It claims that these “selected partners” apply the same privacy protections as AlohaFind, but that seems odd in that AlohaFind states that it does not log IP addresses. If this provision refers to search, I assume AlohaFind is referring to ad providers and what happens if one clicks on a sponsored link, but the privacy policy here is unclear. It is also possible that the “selected partner” provision references AlohaFind’s other services. This should be clarified.

AlohaSearch has a clean and minimalist UI. It presents ads for some queries above the results, but the ads are clearly marked. My script blocker (uBlock Origin in advanced mode) did not note any third party assets on the search page other than Google Fonts, which compares favorably to Gibiru, the last search engine I looked at. One drawback of AlohaSearch’s minimalism is that it search is very basic, there are no options for sorting by date or for performing image, video, or news searches. This is similar to Peekier, a search engine I examined in a full-length review, but Peekier has more to offer in terms of a unique UI and clearer privacy policy.

I was initially having some difficulty pinning down the source of AlohaFind’s search results because it does not appear to restrict results by domain as much as most other search engines. AlohaFind is coy about the source of its results, stating only that “[w]e use the same results that you would get from Google,” which is ambiguous. After trying more queries than I had originally planned, I came away almost certain that AlohaFind, like most of these small alternative search engines, uses Bing’s index, not Google’s. However, for some queries, the order of results (if not the composition) is a bit different than Bing’s (it was closer to DuckDuckGo, which also relies on Bing, for a few tested queries).

AlohaFind has a distinct lack of features, but if it clarifies its privacy policy on the “trusted partner” point, shows more transparency about the source of its index, and adds a bit of functionality, it could make itself an acceptable option in the small alternative search wrapper niche. However, I will note that AlohaFind’s main offerings do seem to be its browser and VPN service, neither of which I know anything about.