What is DuckDuckGo? [Private Searching in 2022 ]
What is DuckDuckGo? The DuckDuckGo search engine is a privacy-based search service that does not track your search history. Most search engines collect some of your personal information in order to provide personalized search results, including your search history, IP address, and other data.
Key points to remember:
- Because DuckDuckGo provides a private search experience, it does not personalize your search results. DuckDuckGo keeps your searches private.
- The DuckDuckGo search service produces ads based on keywords instead of profiles of collected user data, unlike other websites.
- DuckDuckGo provides results based on aggregated and anonymous data, but it does not collect anything that can be used to identify individual users.
DuckDuckGo was designed to be a private alternative to Google, Bing and other search engines. Search services typically make their money from targeted advertising revenue, but DuckDuckGo takes the fundamentals of online advertising in a direction that protects user privacy, rather than compromising it.
Nothing online can be 100% private, but we believe DuckDuckGo can trust our online privacy more than Google, Bing, or any of the other big brands.
No, DuckDuckGo was developed and is operated by an independent company in Pennsylvania, created by Gabriel Weinberg.
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine. The only information it collects is anonymized aggregate data that cannot be used to trace individual identities.
What is DuckDuckGo? Search Engine Basics
Search engines are programs that collect user data and find relevant information on the Internet. When a user types in a keyword and presses enter, the search engine will send crawlers to discover web pages.
A web crawler, or bot, finds web pages (HTML files) on the Internet and collects their findings into an index of URLs. Crawlers find web pages and follow links on web pages to discover even more web pages. Search services use search algorithms to find and rank web pages that match the user’s query.
Most search engines collect a lot of your personal information every time you search for something online. Unsurprisingly, they record your search history and compile each query into a profile used to provide personalized search results.
They also collect unique user agent strings, IP addresses, and location information, which helps the engine return localized search results, such as local news or nearby businesses.
DuckDuckGo works like any other search engine, but does not base its results on profiles of collected user data. Therefore, the results are not tailored to your personal interests – which may be disappointing for some – but the trade-off grants users greater online privacy.
How does DuckDuckGo work?
DuckDuckGo was launched in 2008 to provide a private alternative to Google and other major search engines. In short, DuckDuckGo does not track you when you try to search for something on the Internet. DuckDuckGo provides results to your query without keeping a personally identifiable record of your search history.
You can use DuckDuckGo from any web browser on any device or platform. A mobile app is available for Android and iOS, along with a DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials browser extension. The browser extension assesses the overall privacy standing of any website you are on and assigns a privacy rating.
Is DuckDuckGo private?
In other words, DuckDuckGo collects less data than Google, and the data it collects cannot be used to identify individual users.
DuckDuckGo does not store cookies by default. However, if you change your settings, those changes will be stored in a cookie, but not in a personally identifiable way. The cookie is stored locally on your device rather than on the company’s server and does not contain any identifying information anyway.
Data storage with DuckDuckGo
Secure data storage is always a problem for businesses, even under the best of circumstances. Even if a research service securely stores its users’ information on company servers, there is always a way for the data to be leaked, hacked, or otherwise exposed.
Some research companies have had their user data leaked to the Internet through a security breach or hack, and almost all companies are willing to provide data to law enforcement when asked.
DuckDuckGo explains that it gets around data storage and court order issues by not collecting user information in the first place. It is company policy to provide lawfully requested data upon request, but DuckDuckGo has no personal information to provide.
How does DuckDuckGo make money?
DuckDuckGo may have a clean privacy record, but how does it make its money privately? There are two ways DuckDuckGo keeps it running: ads and affiliate revenue.
Google makes money on ads, just like DuckDuckGo. The difference is that DuckDuckGo generates advertisements based on keywords instead of targeting advertisements with collections of personally identifiable searches.
When you enter a search query, DuckDuckGo generates a sponsored link at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) which earns the company a commission if you click on it. Your searches are never stored.
DuckDuckGo’s other source of income comes from Amazon and eBay affiliate programs. Buying something from one of these websites after following a link from DuckDuckGo earns commissions for the search engine.
ISP data exposure
DuckDuckGo can protect your privacy while you search, but your data is still exposed to internet service providers and other third parties if you don’t take other precautions. We recommend hiding your online activities by using a reliable VPN, which you can learn more about in our VPN basics article.
It also helps protect your browsing history with a private browsing mode, which you can learn more about in our incognito mode article.
Other search engines and search history
Most search services engage in data collection, but Google is the best example of a data-hungry tech company. It is not only a search engine, but also an advertising agency.
Google makes most of its money by collecting personal data from its users to create targeted advertisements and personalized search results. If you regularly search the internet with Google Search, you can bet the company has a record of everything you’ve ever searched for.
Google is no longer just a search service, but a suite of all kinds of apps that collect your personal data. Whether you use Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Drive, or another Google service, all of your information ends up influencing your search results.
Google collects a wide range of data from its many services and applications. Besides your search history, Google also collects information about your system and hardware, such as your browser, device, settings, operating system, and even information about your mobile provider and phone number.
The activity data collected includes the videos you watch on YouTube, your interactions with advertisements, your purchases, and your activities on third-party websites that use Google services and plug-ins. This is just a small sample of the range of information that Google collects.
DuckDuckGo is a stripped-down search engine compared to its big competitors. It ditches conveniences like personalized search results and lacks a full suite of apps like Google.
DuckDuckGo focuses all of its resources on creating a simple search service that doesn’t track your online searches. It does not collect user agent strings or IP addresses, and the private information it collects is in an aggregate form that cannot be traced back to individual users.
Overall, DuckDuckGo isn’t the most sophisticated search engine on the web, but users who prioritize privacy over convenience will appreciate the peace of mind these compromises bring.
What do you think of DuckDuckGo? Do you think it’s as private as it claims, or isn’t it better than Google? Let us know what you think in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.