Why DuckDuckGo matters – Search Engine Land

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DuckDuckGo is the little engine that could. The platform, which touts its ability to protect users’ privacy, recently said that it experienced surging year-over-year user traffic for 2018 and that it is already on pace for even stronger search usage in 2019. Also, Apple and DuckDuckGo formed a partnership to use Apple Maps as the default for sharing businesses’ location data in search results. But does DuckDuckGo matter to businesses? After all, the 9 billion user searches on DuckDuckGo for 2018 are dwarfed by the one trillion searches conducted on Google each year.

I believe the answer is yes: DuckDuckGo matters as a privacy litmus test.

The rise of DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo has been gaining more attention from mainstream media because of the company’s value proposition, which is clear to anyone who visits the search engine. “The search engine that doesn’t track you.” DuckDuckGo promises that using the search engine means taking back your privacy. For instance, DuckDuckGo does not store users’ personal information, follow them around with ads, or track them. At a time when personal privacy has become on a defining topic, DuckDuckGo has increasingly captured the attention of the news media.

But even though DuckDuckGo might seem like a new phenomenon, the company has been around for ten years, and anonymous tracking is only one of its features. For example, DuckDuckGo introduced voice search for users of the Google Chrome voice search extension in 2011. And the DuckDuckGo Instant Answers feature pulls from a variety of content sources to provide no-click answers or information that is so complete that users don’t need to click on the search results to get what they need. Also, DuckDuckGo touts its transparency, making it easy for anyone to keep up to date on user search volume.

At the same time, DuckDuckGo is not a nonprofit. It’s a business. The company says it makes money through advertising and affiliate revenue, such…

 

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