DuckDuckGo: DuckDuckGo has reached an important milestone. In its history of 12 years, for the first time the search engine, which is focused on privacy, recorded over 100 million user search queries. The milestone was achieved by the search engine on Monday. For the past couple of years, the company has been witnessing a sustained growth, which especially increased after August 2020. That was when it began clocking in over 2 billion search queries in a month regularly. Fared against search engine giant Google’s daily search of 5 billion queries, the number can seem small, but the fact that people are looking for alternatives to Google, which has practically monopolised this area, is a positive sign.
The search engine became popular once it ventured out of its own website to offer dedicated DuckDuckGo apps on both Android and iOS. Apart from that, it also has a dedicated extension on Chrome. In September, the company had announced that the platform’s apps and the extension were installed by over 4 million users.
However, there is a reason why DuckDuckGo is gaining popularity. The platform has made it a goal to not collect the data of users, which Google does leading to customised search engine results for all. However, DuckDuckGo has pledged to give out the same search results to all, allowing users to get a more real picture regarding the topics they are searching, rather than having everything customised to them, possibly skewing the information they therefore gather.
But it is not an easy road. The platform had stated last year that since it did not collect this data, it made it hard for DuckDuckGo sometimes to estimate its user base. However, it is this commitment to privacy that is attracting users to its services, especially now that people are becoming more and more aware of the need to preserve their own data and privacy and about the ways in which several companies have been misusing their user information to give them skewed services.
The surge in DuckDuckGo’s services is not a singular abnormality. It is a part of a wider trend of users shifting to more privacy-oriented services, and is accompanied by a huge shift of users to instant messaging apps Signal and Telegram, as alternatives to Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
User privacy is an aspect that for the first few years of widespread internet usage did not occur to anyone. However, several anecdotal incidents here and there, coupled with the much-recent Cambridge-Analytica scandal led to more user awareness. Since then, people have begun noticing instances of exploitation of their personal data and have started looking for alternatives to long-standing platforms like Facebook and Google.