The German Cliqz stops developing a privacy-oriented browser and search engine. The developer says the coronavirus has evaporated political interest, leaving insufficient funds available. Ghostery business unit will continue to exist.
In a blog post, Cliqz writes that it prides itself on developing privacy-focused browsers and search engines, but that it has not been able to attract enough users. The developer claims to have hundreds of thousands of daily users for the search engine, but this number would not be enough to cover the costs.
The company also says it has not convinced politicians enough of the need for an independent, European digital infrastructure. Presumably Cliqz hoped for financial support from the European Union, but the company was unable to achieve this support. Cliqz writes that the coronavirus has overshadowed everything else in politics.
Cliqz released a first beta version of its search engine a month and a half ago. This search engine does not use Google or Bing as the underlying technology, but a self-developed search algorithm. This search engine does not send any metadata with searches that can be linked to, among other things, IP addresses. Cliqz does collect anonymous statistics in order to improve the results. This search engine is still available at the time of writing.
In 2017, Cliqz acquired browser add-on developer Ghostery. Trackers can be blocked with this extension. Parent company of Cliqz Hubert Burda Media emphasizes that the development of Ghostery continues.