Simple questions: What is DuckDuckGo and what are the benefits of using it?

Most people use Google for searching the web and finding the information that they need. However, Google does a lot of user tracking and collects lots of information about you and your habits. If you want a more private search engine, that does not focus on knowing as much as possible about its users, you should try DuckDuckGo. In this article we explain what DuckDuckGo is, what it does, the benefits of using it, how it makes money and how to set it as your default search engine:

What is DuckDuckGo? The short definition

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that, unlike Google, tries to protect the privacy of its users, by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a specific keyword, without filtering those search results and personalizing them based on the history of the user.

What DuckDuckGo does that Google does not

DuckDuckGo is a different kind of search engine, especially when compared to Google. Here are some of the things that DuckDuckGo does or does not when compared to Google:

  • It does not store the IP addresses of its users
  • DuckDuckGo does not log any user-related information, only keyword-related information
  • For a given keyword, it returns the same search results to all users
  • DuckDuckGo does not share data about a user’s search keywords with the websites that they visit as a result of their search
  • It includes data from a compilation of over 400 sources, including Bing, Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, its own web crawler, called the DuckDuckBot, and many others.
  • It uses cookies only when needed
  • It relies on many open-source technologies and projects to provide you with private search results
  • It is run by a small team of people. At the time of writing this article, they were fewer than 50 people

The benefits of using DuckDuckGo, for users

DuckDuckGo offers a couple of important benefits that search engines like Google do not:

  • User privacy. There is no personal information collected and stored about users. There is no search history stored for you as a user. As a result, if governments or institutions like the police, request data about you from DuckDuckGo, there is no data to be shared with them.
  • It prevents search leakage. The websites that you visit from DuckDuckGo do not know what you searched for, to get to them.
  • Direct contact with the developer team. DuckDuckGo has a small team behind it, and it relies on its user community to improve steadily. If you want to, you can provide feedback to DuckDuckGo, by going to their community website. You can contribute by submitting translations, features ideas, bug reports, etc.
  • Transparency about how it works and how it treats users. If you want to know their history and evolution, where their team is based, how to access their community and read their up-to-date privacy policy, go to this page: About DuckDuckGo.

How many people use DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo has seen a healthy increase in traffic during the last few years. On February 6th, 2017, they celebrated reaching 15,000,000 searches per day. In November 2017, they reached a new record of 20,000,000 searches/day. Also, their traffic rankings have increased steadily, becoming the 250th most popular website in the USA. You can find more details in this news article: DuckDuckGo, the private search engine, has doubled its traffic. Do you use it?

How does DuckDuckGo make money?

This search engine earns money by serving ads through the Microsoft/Bing/Yahoo ad network, as well as through affiliate marketing, in partnerships with Amazon and eBay. It displays generic ads for your search, without tracking you or fine-tuning ads to make them more targeted and desirable for you to click. Also, the number of ads displayed by DuckDuckGo is smaller than what you see on Google.

This business model seems to be working very well for a team this small. According to Gabriel Weinberg, the founder of DuckDuckGo, the company’s revenues in 2015 exceeded 1 million dollars. Since their traffic and number of users has grown, we expect their income to be higher today.

How to add DuckDuckGo to your web browser

Adding DuckDuckGo as your default search engine is not complicated. To help you out, we have created several guides for the most popular web browsers:

They also have mobile apps for Android (see DuckDuckGo Search & Stories) and iOS (see DuckDuckGo Search & Stories).

What is your opinion about DuckDuckGo?

We recommend that you give this search engine a try and share with us what you think. Is DuckDuckGo a worthy alternative to Google? Are you willing to give up your privacy for getting the best search results? Or do you prefer more privacy and non-personalized search results?