Tired of using Google search? Try DuckDuckGo

Are you tired of using Google search and worry about your personal information being widely shared with other sites? DuckDuckGo with its focus on privacy might be the engine you have been searching for..
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Advertising Age reckons that Bing is 'Trailing' and that Google search is 'Tired'. Google has been around since 1998 and has matured into an Internet behemoth serving ultra-targeted ads. But will DuckDuckGo, tagged as 'Trending' on the site lead the next generation of private Internet search engines?

Created by Gabriel Weinberg in 2008 and initially self-funded, DuckDuckGo is steadily gaining in popularity and awareness primarily because of its privacy features. It advertises itself as a search engine that gives you: 'way more instant answers, way less spam and clutter, lots and lots of goodies and real privacy'.

Weinberg, an entrepreneur who sold the Names Database for $10 million in 2006, added privacy features to the search engine almost as an afterthought.

“What happened was that I soft-launched the search engine to the community I was in, which was the Hacker News and Reddit community, and almost immediately I got questions around search privacy,” said Weinberg.

DuckDuckGo does not store your data and it does not send your search terms to any of the sites you visited for that search term. That means it does not filter the results based on the information you have previously given it. You get the same results as everyone else does when searching for a page.

It also stops any searches from being traced back to you. With Google searches, information about your IP address, your User Agent and cookie information is sent to the web site. If you are logged in to your Google account, it sends your name and email address too.

Web sites potentially can gather a lot of information about you. As can the search engines. And they might have to give the information over to the authorities if asked for.

Privacy related search engines such as ixquick are used more and more often. There is a downside though. The tight control on privacy means that you do not get any search history if you are making several related searches. Nor do you get auto correct when you type your search query.

DuckDuckGo has a long way to go before it gets to rival either Google or Bing in terms of search volumes but it is catching up. It passed the million searches per day mark in February -- a long way from Google's estimated billion searches per day but it is showing great growth.

Google has had a lot of flak from users complaining about its privacy policy changes (although I believe that the decision made sound business sense). It is also busy right now, in the midst of litigation against Oracle over patent and copyright infringement.

It might be time for DuckDuckGo to step in and advance its share of search volume at Google's expense. Bing search volume rose by 40 per cent in 2011 and is slated to grow further this year.

Users seem to love DuckDuckGo, saying that it is like Google used to be -- before the advertisers took over and changed the company focus.

With the privacy benefits it offers and its clean user interface DuckDuckGo might catch up Google far quicker than it imagined...

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