Of all the search engines I have seen, I like the structure and philosophy of Searx the most. It is open source software released under the AGPLv3+ license. As far as I can tell it doesn’t perform any user tracking. And it is possible for users to run their own instances.
However, Searx gets its search results from other engines, and is often rate limited by them.
And the default settings of Searx.me do not use the safe search filters, which means they display large amounts of pornography and violence when doing image searches. The result is that, even though I like a lot of things about Searx, it currently doesn’t work well enough to be Privacy Browser’s default homepage and search engine.
As such, it is unlikely I will stay with Startpage in the long term. Perhaps I will contribute to Searx or create my own search engine. Finding a good search engine is a little like looking for a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
The default Tor search engine and homepage is also being changed to DuckDuckGo’s https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/.
All of these changes only affect the defaults for new installs. The settings for existing users will not change unless they are manually updated.