Its quiet, unassuming encroachment on Google’s search engine turf seemed laughable at first, but Paoli’s fast-rising privacy-minded search engine DuckDuckGo is starting to fling legitimate stones at its giant competitors, Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Guided by a steady march of improvements, the feedback and concerns of common Internet users and the iconic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s “classic motto, ‘Don’t panic!’ emblazoned on their workplace wall,” DuckDuckGo is boldly taking a stand alongside everyday Americans against its intrusive Silicon Valley rivals, according to a recent Main Line Today feature.
“It’s the biggest companies on the planet saying they really care about privacy,” Founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg said in the article. “It’s validation that everyone should take it seriously.”
Among its other features, like instant answers, better results, spam filtering and a commitment to open source solutions, DuckDuckGo’s bulletproof privacy is what resonates the most with searchers.
“I realized how personal it was, just from people typing in their financial or medical problems,” Weinberg said. “And that was kind of creepy in and of itself, because I was the only one running the search engine at the time, and I could see their stuff. That just made me uncomfortable personally.”
Combined with the realization that the rise in subpoena requests from law enforcement could drag down his startup and the epiphany that private user data didn’t cut off his business model, making DuckDuckGo a search engine that didn’t track its users was clearly the way to go.
“You make money off keywords,” he explained to Main Line Today. “You type in ‘car’ and get a car ad — it doesn’t have to be related to you at all. So I made this decision at the beginning that I can do this and not have to feel creepy or hand over data to governments.”