It’s time for yet another edition of “let’s look at an unusual search engine that popped up in the Koko Analytics logs.” Today I examine Gibiru, a search engine that I have been aware of for some time (it is an option in Mr. Jeff Starr’s Wutsearch Search Engine Launchpad). Gibiru’s homepage touts the search engine as “uncensored private search,” and the top-right corner of the page pitches the Gibiru mobile app and VPN service. Its Privacy Policy promises no cookies, logs, IP collection, or data selling, but is a bit light on details and also touts Gibiru’s VPN service. Gibiru states on its homepage that it earns commissions “when … users buy something or place a call to action while using Gibiru.”

When I tried a test search with script blocking in via uBlock Origin enabled, I was greeted with a blank page in lieu of search results, meaning Gibiru does require first party JavaScript to be enabled. However, after enabling Gibiru’s JS temporarily for a test, it still did not work. Enabling JS from Google is also required (issue had been previously noted here). This is unfortunate for a privacy search engine – Swisscows suffered from a similar defect with a Bing javascript requirement when I tested it a few months ago.

I tested Gibiru in an incognito window and tried a few searches. While Gibiru does not disclose the source of its index, I assume that it uses Google’s index based on the fact that it uses Google ads and JS. The results, however, were not entirely identically to Startpage’s, which is a more mainstream Google front-end (Startpage had the better of the rankings in my limited tests). Gibiru also has a “censored search” option which reveals very different results that it suggests are censored by mainstream search engines, but I did not turn up anything interesting in my few tests.

From the Google JS requirement to pitching a VPN service in the privacy policy to not explaining the sources of its search result, I was not impressed with Gibiru in my very short look, and I would recommend other options for people looking for alternative search engines and wrappers. However, Gibiru’s secondary (or primary) selling point is that it is an “uncensored” search engine. Some searchers may some mileage from Gibiru’s distinct rankings and its special “censored” search feature – two things that I did not test enough to offer informed opinions.