DuckDuckGo The Ethical Search Engine of The Future
What is the first thing we all think about in relation to searching on the internet? Google, of course!
Google was one of the first search engines, launched in January 1996, and it has grown to become by far the most popular. So popular that it accounts for more than 87% of daily global searches.
But is it ethical and safe to use? What about your privacy? What about your personal data and personalisation? It is widely known that Google actively collects user information – it is quite disturbing to realise how much of our personal information it knows.
Whilst the collection of personal info is questionable, we often don’t consider the implications this has on our internet browsing and searching. By using search engines that provide personalised results, we become trapped in a filter bubble (which we explain in greater detail below). One way to avoid this is to use the search engine, DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo Search Engine Explained
DuckDuckGo is an internet search engine like Google. The following are some basic facts about the site:
– Created by Gabriel Weinberg
– First launched in 2008
– Owned by Duck Duck Go, Inc.
– Headquarters in Pennsylvania, US
Open the website DuckDuckGo website and you are presented with a simple search bar, and the company logo – a fun cartoon duck. It looks remarkably similar to the initial, basic versions of Google.
The similarities between these two websites end there, however. DuckDuckGo places an emphasis on privacy and providing unbiased search results for everyone. Also, it works on the premise that everyone should be able to enter a search term and return the exact same result. No bias, no personalisation, and no filter bubble.
In addition to the basic website, it is available as a browser extension for Chrome, and a browser app for both iOS and Android devices.
Why You Should Consider Using DuckDuckGo
You may still be wondering why DuckDuckGo is a viable alternative to Google. There are two main reasons – privacy, and non-personalisation:
Virtually every website in existence gathers information from its users. This is mainly via cookies and user interactions with their website. Google is widely known to collect huge amounts of data – each time you use Google or one of their products, information is collected.
No filter bubble
Filter Bubble – A state of intellectual isolation derived from personalised searches. The term coined by internet activist Eli Pariser.
You may have never heard this term before. Also, you may not realise that you are almost certainly trapped in a filter bubble every time you visit websites like Google, YouTube (owned by Google), and Facebook (who also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and more).
Filter bubbles are created from the personalisation of web content. Have you ever noticed that when watching a video on YouTube, you see recommended videos relating to this video? The more you watch one type of video, the more recommendations you see for similar videos – it is a never-ending spiral.
This is because the technology behind platforms like Google and YouTube use algorithms to predict what you want to see based on past behaviour. Google has personalised search results, for example – these results are tailored based on what you have searched for previously, and numerous other preferences and date points.
You may be wondering why this is a negative thing? It is negative because a filter bubble doesn’t promote learning or challenging viewpoints. It doesn’t encourage thinking outside the box or considering new possibilities. If you are trapped in a filter bubble, you simply reinforce what you know, and become separated from anything that differs from your perspective.
Ultimately, it is not healthy for personal growth, and it removes an element of choice and freedom from our lives – Google and other platforms are effectively telling us what we like, instead of letting us explore what we like freely.
DuckDuckGo does not personalise search results. There is no filter bubble. You can enjoy freedom and an unbiased search engine.
Increasing User Base
The popularity of this unfiltered search engine continues to grow. Whilst it still nowhere near the levels of Google and Bing, its numbers continue to increase. As word spreads, consumers are wising up to the practices of Google and looking for a viable alternative – this is what DuckDuckGo presents. Currently, there are around 12million users using the search engine and 60million+ searches per day.
What plans does Gabriel Weinberg have for the future of this company and search engine? In the immediate future, Duck Duck Go, Inc. is growing – it continues to expand its operations and has received $13 million in funding since 2011. That’s not a big amount in the scheme of things – but their turnover continues to grow. Currently around $25million – at a 30% growth rate, within 5 years their turnover will be $150million +.
There have also been rumours circulating that the mighty Apple Inc. has considered making an offer for DuckDuckGo. Currently, Apple has a negotiated deal with Google which makes it the primary search engine of its devices. If Apple did opt for using a different default search engine like DuckDuckGo, this could completely change the internet landscape and propel DuckDuckGo into another league.
It could reduce the iron grip that Google has on the internet search industry, but also open the public’s eyes to a new way of anonymous searching. To do that, we do believe that a name change may have to be on the cards. You can Google something but would you DuckDuckGo it? Something shorter, snappier and more memorable may have to be a consideration – especially if a tech giant such as Apple do purchase them.
Give DuckDuckGo a try and break the mould
DuckDuckGo appears to be bucking the trend of tech companies feasting on every piece of our data. We believe in its policies and approach to web searching, even though we appreciate the ability to hyper-target consumers with paid advertising.
If you value your own privacy and want to have freedom of choice, we wholeheartedly recommend giving DuckDuckGo a try.