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DuckDuckGo: The Safer Alternative to Online Search

Posted On   date06/10/2014

DuckDuckGo: The Safer Alternative to Online Search

When it comes to using search engines online, there are many choices to choose from.  Nevertheless, Google has feasibly had the market cornered for 15 years. The search engine giant holds a staggering 68 percent of the search engine market share in the U.S., followed by Bing at just under 19 percent. In the month of April 2014 alone, there were 12.6 billion Google searches, out of 18.6 billion total.   It’s safe to say that most of these searches were conducted by individuals who either don’t understand the privacy risk, or who are not very much concerned about online privacy.

In its existence, Google has amassed a ton of information about its users that extends beyond the phrases they are searching to include their locations and even the other sites they visit. Tracking tools are now a way of the internet, and yes, they are exactly what they sound like. Even people who have nothing to hide when it comes to their internet search habits may not want their every online move followed by the government and another third-party. Consumers are beginning to advocate for their online privacy and push back against big search names when it comes to what is tracked, and shared.   It is a plain and simple case of violation of privacy for corporate profits, in cooperation with corrupt government that went unnoticed for years… until Edward Snowden let the cat out of the bag.

Enter DuckDuckGo, an online engine that allows users to search anonymously with very little ad clutter. Reviews of the site show that the search experience is similar or better than Google.  The page is laid out in the same clean, simplistic fashion and the return speed on results is comparable to Google’s instantaneous ones. When searching the exact same words or phrases, both search engines brought back the same top 10 results, but in a slightly different order.   But, the real value is in the safety and privacy.   This is a search engine that does not record your every move, nor do they share your history with the government (because they are not recording your searches in the first place).  Take a look at this very important presentation from DuckDuckGo.  Search engines by nature make money off your history and sell that history to advertisers.  Ever wonder why there are 10 results on each page?  That’s to show you ads!  DuckDuckGo appears to have created something better.

Remember what happened when a Long Island woman used Google to search for pressure cookers?

The safer search engine has not gone unnoticed.  In fact, Apple has picked DuckDuckGo as an alternative search engine for systems iOS 8 and iOS X, allowing users to bypass Google and other big name engines if they prefer the private route. Apple’s reason for choosing DuckDuckGo? More privacy protection for users who do not want their moves tracked by third-parties or spied on by the government. With less ads, DuckDuckGo is a cleaner version of searching especially attractive to mobile users who do not want to weed through sponsored results to find the organic ones.

International private investigators who know the real risk behind the loss of privacy say this move by Apple will certainly bring more attention to the startup, but since DuckDuckGo’s main claim to fame is its privacy features, consumers should feel reassured that the business model will stay the same. On advertising materials for DuckDuckGo, the company uses the phrase “Google tracks you. We don’t.” With such direct and strong commentary on what it believes Google, and other search engines, are doing wrong, DuckDuckGo stands poised to draw in more users who are interested in keeping their search and other internet activity private.   Investigators say the less companies and government know about you, the safer you and your family members are.  Share less online, and when possible, use a safer company who respects your privacy.

Other positives to DuckDuckGo

The protection of privacy from prying government eyes, and refusal to sell your data to third parties is certainly the selling point of DuckDuckGo, but there are also some other user-friendly features that make it worth checking out, including:

• Results on a single page. You never have to click to the next page to see more results. You simply scroll down and more results populate, indefinitely.
• Ad-free. As of right now, DuckDuckGo places no ads. The results that you see are all based on the algorithm of the engine, which means people aren’t paying more to have a result higher on the page.
• Keyboard shortcuts. You can navigate the entire search engine page by simply using your keyboard arrows – no clicking needed.
• High quality results. Try DuckDuckGo for a week and see if you notice any difference or improvement in the results.  You might be surprised.

For people who use Google simply out of habit for their online searching, DuckDuckGo is worth changing the routine up a bit. In addition to increased privacy features, many users find they actually like the functionality better too.   George Orwell and Theodore Kaczynski may have been right about the future, so fight back against government and companies that seek to control, monitor and profit from your every move!

C. Wright
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