Whether it’s Google, Bing, or Yahoo!, everyone has a preferred search engine. Soon, yours could be DuckDuckGo. It’s still relatively unknown, but DuckDuckGo is gaining an impressive number of users — and it’s earning a wealth of press and endorsements. That’s because DuckDuckGo has a key differentiator: private searches. In fact, the company’s tagline is “the search engine that doesn’t track you.”
Read on to learn how this company is shaking up the search engine industry.
The Growth of DuckDuckGo
Gabriel Weinberg founded DuckDuckGo in February 2008 in Valley Forge, Penn. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate self-funded the company until 2011, when it received backing from Union Square Ventures. That same year, Time Magazine named DuckDuckGo one of the top 50 sites on the web, and its number of searches escalated.
In 2014, a redesigned version of the site was launched, giving it a more refined look and adding several new features. By March 2015, the alternate search engine reported more than 250 million monthly searches — a new DuckDuckGo record. According to its latest traffic statistics, DuckDuckGo’s number of direct daily searches continues to increase at an impressive rate — but it’s worth noting that they still aren’t close to Google, which receives approximately 1 billion searches per month.
How DuckDuckGo Is Different From Other Search Engines
DuckDuckGo isn’t nearly as well known or widely accepted as other search engines, but it offers a few distinct differences that could make it a contender in the years to come.
IP addresses aren’t logged
Search terms are not saved or shared
When you search via DuckDuckGo, your search terms are aren’t saved or shared with the site you clicked on — traditional search engines share that information. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, redirects your search request in a way that ensures your search terms aren’t leaked to advertisers or any other third-party entities. This policy offers a lot of benefits, but it also means you can’t dig through your previous searches for information you need — or to find out what searches your kids are performing.
Unique tools streamline your search
Most search engines offer tools to help users find the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible, and DuckDuckGo is no exception. One of the site’s more unique tools is “!bang.” Bangs allow you to perform a search on a variety of sites, directly from DuckDuckGo. Type “!Amazon TV” in the DuckDuckGo search box, and you’ll be directed right to a search results page for televisions on Amazon.com. Enter “!ebay wallet” and go right to a search on ebay.com, auto-filled with the term wallet. There are thousands of bangs already available on DuckDuckGo, but if you don’t find the one you want, you can submit a new bang.
Special functions enhance user experience
DuckDuckGo offers a few innovative functions that go above and beyond what you expect from a search engine. For example, it can generate strong passwords. Enter “password 10” in the DuckDuckGo search field and the site auto-generates a 10-character password for you. Type in “random passphrase” and DuckDuckGo will suggest a four-word passphrase. Another handy feature of DuckDuckGo is that it can check whether a website is down or not. Let’s say you’re having trouble getting into Facebook. Just type “is Facebook down?” into the DuckDuckGo search box and DuckDuckGo will test it.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, government surveillance programs have prompted a number of Americans to take steps to hide or shield their online activity. If you’re concerned about online privacy, you may want to take a tour of DuckDuckGo.
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