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Privacy-Focused Search Engine DuckDuckGo Saw Traffic Nearly Double Following NSA Spying Revelations

Privacy-Focused Search Engine DuckDuckGo Saw Traffic Nearly Double Following NSA Spying Revelations

While the world continues to process and respond to last year’s NSA spying and hacking revelations, at least one online company is finding the news to be very good for business. According to its self-published traffic statistics, privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo saw a 94 percent increase in search requests following the disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last June.

DuckDuckGo Traffic

DuckDuckGo, launched in late 2008, distinguishes itself from competing search services like Google and Bing by declining to store or track user search queries. As generally explained by the company’s Don’t Track Us website, firms like Google keep track of what users search for, pass search queries on to website destinations, and share all of this information with various advertising companies.

Those in the advertising and publishing industries claim that the collected information is used only to provide more contextually relevant and personalized advertisements, but many incidents have occurred over the past several years where user privacy was exposed to an unanticipated degree. DuckDuckGo’s refusal to facilitate this type of information collection and tracking has contributed to its nickname as the “anti-Google.”

While popular among the privacy-focused, DuckDuckGo is still a relatively tiny component of the overall search industry. With just over 1 billion search queries in 2013, it is dwarfed by competitors like Google, which processed over 1 trillion search queries (3.2 billion per day) during the same period. But the company hopes that its impressive jump in traffic following the NSA leaks last summer – 54.4 million in May to 105.6 million in July – represents merely the beginning of a broader trend as online users begin to pay more attention to privacy and take steps to protect their identities and browsing habits from governments and corporations alike.

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Jim Tanous

Jan 13, 2014

676 Articles Published

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