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DuckDuckGo: the search engine that protects your privacy

14th January 2015

You don’t have to run an international tech juggernaught to run a successful and great looking search engine. Although relatively unknown, ‘DuckDuckGo’ does just that. It was founded in October 2007 with a vision to make answers easier to find. We've put together a summary of our experience with the search engine and some screenshots to help you decide whether to jump the Google ship.

It’s hard to take yourself back to 2007. The iPhone had only just been released that year and the smartphone was not the only phone available on the market, in fact it was dominated by ‘candy bars’, ‘oyster shells’ and Nokia bricks. Fast forward a couple of years and the internet privacy debate is on everyone’s minds. People are still scared of Social Media and MPs are being dragged through the national news press as their expenses are exposed to the public. In this year, DuckDuckGo decided that it wasn’t going to collect users’ data. No personal information at all.

One of its many USPs is that it has a community behind it (just like www.giffgaff.co.uk the mobile phone network that works in a co-operative way to benefit its members) ‘duck.co’ the community of the search engine acts as a place for users to swap ideas, improvements, squash bugs and make friends! The website states early on that “DuckDuckGo is a search engine driven by community- you’re on the team! We’re not just servers and an algorithm. We’re so much more.”

What’s more, DuckDuckGo is open source, so as a coder you can ‘hack’ into the search engine and further personalise the search with your own additions. As such, DuckDuckGo relies on donations to keep the open source nature of their work. And this isn’t a small network. DuckDuckGo pulls in over 5,000,000 searches a day, more than 50 every second.

So is this a search engine to take on Google? At the moment, probably not, but it could be. Part of duck.co is the DuckDuckHack which allows users to submit ideas and have them rated and endorsed by other users. This means that instead of collecting information about its userbase, the users contribute data themselves which means they really care about the product being developed. That’s very much the feel you get when you visit DuckDuckGo, it is a polished work in progress; constantly evolving and growing. Last year, DuckDuckGo really hit the big time when Apple and Firefox both chose to allow it as a default option for their browser searches.

As DuckDuckGo states, you can find out ‘why you should care’ about your privacy here