She was fed up with feeling spied on and having her information 'collected'. She wanted to go with Firefox.
I explained to her that Firefox was actually a browser not a search engine - like Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. A browser allows you to access the internet but then you use a search engine (like Google) to actually find what you want are looking for.
But I was pretty sure that if she wanted to set the default search engine on it as something other than Google, it was possible.
Further research revealed this post offering Bing as a Firefox default search enginewhen you're looking for things on the web. It explains how to set Firefox default search to Bing and why you might want to use a version of Firefox which has Bing as the default search engine.
Alternatives to Google
And then I got to thinking more about alternatives to Google and found a couple of great resource posts.
This one gives a whole raft of Google alternative products.
Whether it be as the search engine or for other services like gmail, google reader, google maps, google docs or google pictures (picasa), there is a viable alternative.
As explained in this article on DuckDuckGo as another one of the search engine alternatives to Google, the main problem for most people is the harvesting and storage of information. Yes, they do it for advertising purposes but who's to say what that information might be used for in the future?
Those facts and figures are there for posterity in the Google vaults to be used by whoever can gain access to it - by legal means or by force.
It might seem like nothing now but information is power and for those who threatened, there are alternatives to Google.