The New Leaf Annex

What is Becovi Search?

search.becovi.com appeared in our Koko Analytics referrer logs. I recall having noticed Becovi at some point in 2021 before I started a tradition of reporting on unusual search engines in our logs. I ran a few searches for Becovi on other search engines. The results are filled with links advising users that Becovi can hijack their search bar and is a virus, malware, or a potentially unwanted program (PUP). Many of these links are spurious in and of themselves in that they often advise users to purchase commercial computer cleaning software. While I did not investigate the issue too deeply, the closest thing that I found to first-hand evidence of Becovi’s malfeisance was a Reddit thread from 2020 which I found to be less than informative. It seems like there is a Becovi Chrome extension that would set Becovi as the user’s default search engine, but I was not actually able to find it.

What about Becovi itself? Becovi’s touts itself as a privacy-friendly search engine on its homepage, promising that it does not use tracking cookies or store search history. Its privacy policy, however, is less than reassuring, listing many scenarios in which Becovi can collect data and share data with third parties (albeit some of the collection refers to a Becovi Chrome extension that the Privacy page does not link to and that I could not find). With that being said, when I checked uBlock Origin in advanced mode against Becovi, the only scripts it picked up were first party scripts from Becovi itself, CDNs (including Cloudflare), and Yahoo. Becovi never specifies where its search results come from, but it was obvious from a few test-searches that it uses Bing’s search index. However, in light of the fact that Becovi serves ads from Yahoo (its ads presentation is similarly obtrusive to most search engines that rely on Bing’s index), which also uses Bing’s index, and that it occasionally presents results in slightly different orders than other Bing-dependent search tools, I think Becovi may be a wrapper for Yahoo rather than Bing. Again – note that Yahoo uses Bing’s search index, but the order of results are often different (and worse).

It should go without saying that I see no reason to ever actually use Becovi, but it was interesting to write what is likely the first-ever Becovi review that is not pitching some mysterious antivirus software (please do not install weird antivirus software on your computer because some link told you that a search tool has infected your computer).

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#Search Engines #Search

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