DuckDuckGo Hit Its 10 Billionth Anonymous Search

Here's what that says about our need for privacy online.

DuckDuckGo Founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg.

DuckDuckGo Founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg.

As debates about internet privacy heat up again, one thing remains constant: most Americans don’t want Big Brother spying on them through the interwebs. And we have Paoli-based search engine DuckDuckGo to prove it. The company, which promises not to track you online, recently announced that they hit their 10 billionth private search, and in 2016 alone, there were over 4 billion searches on the trusty engine. Last time we reported on the company, they were serving 3 billion searches a year. On January 14th, they hit 14 million private searches in just one day.

That’s quite a milestone for a company that pledges to not be like Google when it comes to privacy. Google knows what you searched for at 3 a.m. last night; it records and saves your search history, keeps tabs on your location, and reads your Gmail. And if that’s not enough to make you wary or annoyed, the web giant uses your info to constantly target you with ads, particularly through its DoubleClick business for advertisers. While this kind of tracking has been the new norm for some time now, DuckDuckGo’s growth since it was founded in 2008 proves that people want other options. And besides, you can still use Google through the search engine.

“A vast majority of people would like to be more protected online,” DuckDuckGo founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg told Philadelphia magazine. And since Edward Snowden lit a fire under the movement for privacy, Weinberg said DuckDuckGo’s growth has been steady over the past years, with a recent uptick.

But as Google dominates search engine market, DuckDuckGo says its challenge ahead is getting the word out about their existence. “Most people don’t know that there is a search engine that protects their search history from everyone,” Weinberg said. With waning trust in the government, searches on DuckDuckGo are guaranteed to rise.

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