Google may still be the largest Internet search engine in the world but if a certain aquatic animal has its way, it may not last.
DuckDuckGo is the latest search engine to take the Internet by storm. Launched in 2008, DuckDuckGo has slowly but surely etched its way into notoriety, carving a considerable market-share for itself. Approximately 93% of all Internet sessions begins with a visit to a search engine (primarily Google). Needless to say, whatever controls the search engine market controls the world…wide web.
Founded by MIT alumnus Gabriel Weinberg, the site is known for its robust protection of privacy, contrasting itself from the cookie-and-shared-data-crazed Google. According to the British website Metro.com.uk, DuckDuckGo does not collect or share any user data. It doesn’t use search cookies, nor does it save a user’s search history. On the other hand, Google is well-known for its collection of user data and its willingness to share it with third-party sites. It is also known for configuring user data to create personalized search results.
In addition to not sharing personal data in any way, DuckDuckGo does not have user accounts nor does it record IP addresses. It is one of the safest search engine sites on the Internet.
According to the Huffington Post, the company itself is also unique compared to Google. DuckDuckGo is very much a small business. The search engine employs 25 people in its headquarters in Paoli, Pennsylvania, a town of approximately 6,000 people. Weinberg, 35, chose the town for its rustic charms and quiet setting, a perfect place to raise his children with his wife. Compare that to Google’s 50,000 employees worldwide and its sprawling two-million square-foot headquarters in Mountain View, California.
DuckDuckGo still has ways to go, however. Although it has reached an impressive 600 million hits a month, that figure still pales in comparison to Google’s 750,000 daily search requests and its 70% share of the total search engine market.
Yet DuckDuckGo’s burgeoning popularity is only expected to go up. Besides its privacy features, one thing that is gaining attention is its “meanings” feature, which specifies what a user is attempting to look for. Because words can have different meanings, this feature provides different contexts for each search result in order to provide the most relevant information possible. If one searches “Chinese,” for example, the meanings feature will include options for Chinese food, the Chinese language, information about China itself, etc.
In the age of massive government surveillance and cyber criminals, it’s comforting to know that there is at least one search engine that will not, and cannot, share a user’s information — and the rest of the world is catching on.