The Anti-Google Search Engine DuckDuckGo Gets a Traffic Boost after Prism Scandal

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The US-based search engine DuckDuckGo may be giving Google a run for their money as their searches jumped after the US Prism surveillance scandal. Those worried about their privacy are turning to DuckDuckGo as the search engine doesn’t monitor your activity, filters out the spam and promotes an overall better search experience, according to the search engine’s users. DuckDuckGo states, “We believe in better search and real privacy.” So far, they are living up to their claim.

DuckDuckGo is said to be the anonymous search engine, and for good reason. The search engine filters spam sites aggressively, which Google often allows for advertising revenue. DuckDuckGo also doesn’t track your searches or create the “filter bubble” Google uses to create individualized results. The search engine doesn’t save your search history, including the date and time of search, IP address or log-in data, which is very appealing to internet users after the Prism scandal. DuckDuckGo may just be the solution to internet privacy as the public’s distrust of internet companies continues to grow.

Since the Prism scandal, traffic to the search engine has increased dramatically. In a recent tweet by DuckDuckGo, the company reported the number of searches to increase from, “1445 days to get 1 million searches, 483 days to get 2 million searches, and then just 8 days to pass 3 million searches.”

Sure, these numbers are far below Google’s daily searches, but as the search engine continues to increase in popularity in the wake of the recent scandal, Google may just have someone in their mists that will have them shaking in their boots.

As former CIA analyst Snowden hides somewhere in Hong Kong after documents revealing the US’s extensive surveillance of the publics’ emails, phone calls and other communications were leaked, the public remains feeling betrayed. According to news reports, nine major companies, including Apple, Facebook and Google, all turned over user data to the US government, which is why DuckDuckGo has become more and more appealing.

“We always knew people didn’t want to be tracked,” said Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo. “but what hadn’t happened was reporting on the private alternatives and so it’s no surprise that people are making a choice to switch to things that will give them great results and also have real privacy.”

As people make the switch, one burning question remains in the back of their minds-- will DuckDuckGo give out their private information as the previous companies they put their trust in did?

According to DuckDuckGo’s privacy policy, they will comply with any court-ordered legal requests, but the company states, “However, in our case, we don’t expect any because there is nothing useful to give them since we don’t collect any personal information.”

Weinberg goes on to say, “We had zero inquiries and the reason for that is because we don’t store any date. So if they come to us-- which they know because it’s in our privacy policy-- we have nothing to hand over, it’s all anonymous data.”

“By not storing any useful information, DuckDuckGo simply isn’t useful to these surveillance programs,” Weinberg told Silicon Angle last week. “We literally do not store personally identifiable user data, so if the NSA were to get a hold of all our date, it would not be useful to them since it’s all truly anonymous.”

The main difference between DuckDuckGo and Google is all within the searches and privacy. Google saves a search request, which can be tracked by someone who has already infiltrated your computer and stores your data to create a profile. DuckDuckGo doesn’t. However, DuckDuckGo’s policy states:

DuckDuckGo Privacy Statement

As the search engine claims it to provide complete anonymity, the big companies, including Google, are being put to shame. Since the NSA news broke, DuckDuckGo has seen a 33 percent search increase on the search engine. So, how do the search results really stack up when compared to Google?

When I searched “gun control” on both search engines (while signed out of my Google account), these are the results that were generated.

DuckDuckGo Vs. Google

Big difference if you ask me. On DuckDuckGo, there aren’t a ton of paid advertisements-- or wasted space-- on the top of the page I have to scroll through to finally get to the search results. Plus, on DuckDuckGo there’s more of a diversity of information on the topic that’s higher quality and informative.

Google says a more personalized experience is a better experience, but I don’t know about that. The results generated on DuckDuckGo are more appealing in my opinion, and the search engine’s privacy policy is just an added incentive to make the switch.

Sure, DuckDuckGo won’t take over a massive search engine like Google overnight. And, in all honesty, it probably never will happen. But, as DuckDuckGo’s slogan states, “Google tracks you. We don’t,” it’ll be interesting to see just what comes of the anonymous search engine and how Google will try to recoup their lost users as privacy appears to be more appealing than the individualized experience.

About the author
Alyssa Ast
Alyssa Ast
Alyssa Ast is a freelance writer, journalist and author of The Fundamentals of SEO for the Average Joe. Alyssa helps business owners develop their websites and handles their SEO and marketing needs. - Read more stories from .
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