Anti-Google search engine hits 1bn uses in 2013

9 Jan 2014

A search engine that has gone out of its way to be the antithesis of search giant Google reached 1bn searches last year.

Inspired by the revelations released by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden last year about the way companies such as Google and Microsoft are allegedly collecting people’s data history when they browse online, 1bn users searched out an anonymous alternative.

Duck Duck Go, a search engine Gabriel Weinberg started in 2008, is focused on breaking the traditional model of Google’s AdSense algorithm, which reportedly tracks the user’s search habits and thereby builds a profile of the user to be passed on to corporations for targeted advertisements under the slogan ‘Google tracks you, we don’t.’

While the project had been self-funded by Weinberg up until 2011, the site exploded in popularity following the Snowden revelations.

In the company’s blog post, Duck Duck Go’s staff thanked its users before promising it will be adding more features for extra security and browsing: “Needless to say, it was a great year for us. We’re looking forward to similar greatness in 2014.”

In November, the search engine was topping at 4m unique searches per day, which is significant given Google’s dominance in the field.

Different search experience

The site also promises no ‘filter bubble’, which caters search results to what Google feels would be more relevant to you based on your browsing history, something that is common amongst every other search engine.

For example, if two people were to search for the same topic, depending on their search history, they will get two almost completely different results.

As time goes on, a search that might be more relevant will be pushed further and further down in results and out of the first page – consider that figures last year showed that 91.5pc of people never went past the first page in their searches.

However, it has taken on some of the most-liked elements of Google. Duck Duck Go features its own take on the doodle, which changes the homepage in the same way Google changes its own.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic