Is Duckduckgo Safe? Why Switch To This New Search Engine

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Anyone who’s interested in DuckDuckGo is probably asking one major question: is DuckDuckGo safe? Read on to see the answer to this question, along with other important questions one may have about this search engine.

RELATED: What Is A VPN And Do I Need One?

In this article:

  1. What Is DuckDuckGo?
  2. When Was DuckDuckGo Founded?
  3. Who Is Behind Duckduckgo?
  4. Where Does Duckduckgo Get Funding?
  5. Why Should People Switch to Duckduckgo?
  6. How Can You Make Duckduckgo Your Default Search Engine?

“Is DuckDuckGo Safe?” And Other Important Questions About This Search Engine Alternative

What Is DuckDuckGo?

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DuckDuckGo’s promise to keep searches private

Have you ever noticed how eerily accurate, or at least timely, the online ads presented to you are? This results from advertising trackers that are deeply entrenched on the internet.

The goal of these trackers is simple: target customers using their online data. This is why the minute you do an online search of a random tourist destination, a barrage of advertisements related to your search quickly follows.

If you’ve grown weary of this level of intrusion to and monetization of your personal data, it’s probably time to entertain switching to a new search engine. DuckDuckGo is a viable option, and here’s everything you need to know about it.

DuckDuckGo is an app and browser extension search engine that presents itself as an ethical alternative to more popular search engines, some of whom have been under fire for how they collect and handle user data.

  • DuckDuckGo’s main selling point is privacy. The company claims to neither collect nor share search clicks or online history.
  • DuckDuckGo ads are less intrusive. In terms of ease of navigation and actual search results, it’s comparable to Google, which is arguably the most popular search engine these days.

DuckDuckGo’s Bangs has proven popular as well. This function allows users to conduct highly specific searches from other sites straight from the DuckDuckGo webpage using one of its 11,000 Bangs templates.

DuckDuckGo has been included in Firefox and Safari’s optional extension and search engine. The company has donated almost two million dollars to various privacy-first movements like the Tor Project, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Demand Progress, among others.

When Was DuckDuckGo Founded?

DuckDuckGo was founded in 2008. Since then, the site has seen its anonymous searches reach over 30 billion.

In 2018 alone, DuckDuckGo was raking in direct monthly queries of between 600,000,000 and over 960,000,000 per month. That’s a daily average of more than 20,000,000 searches per day!

According to Daniel Davis, DuckDuckGo’s community manager, the site has enjoyed a steady growth in visibility since 2013. This coincides with increasing concerns over data privacy and online surveillance.

In 2017, DuckDuckGo commissioned a survey whose results validated the motivations behind the company’s efforts.

Survey results showed that when buying new gadgets, privacy proves important to 24% of Americans. If given the chance to shift to an alternative search engine that doesn’t hoard user data, a vast majority of the survey respondents answered in the affirmative.

Who Is Behind Duckduckgo?

DuckDuckGo was founded by an MIT graduate named Gabriel Weinberg. He’s one of the authors of Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers, published in 2014.

Weinberg, who has a 10-year-old son, named DuckDuckGo after the popular kid’s game, Duck Duck Goose. 

The company operates near Philadephia with a team of approximately 55 fulltime staff and independent contractors. Its first major investor was venture capital firm Union Square Ventures.

RELATED: Google Search Tips, Tricks, And Hacks To Level Up Your Internet Experience [Infographic] 

Where Does Duckduckgo Get Funding?

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DuckDuckGo’s stance on personal information collection

Despite its advocacy focusing on online privacy, DuckDuckGo is a business. This means that they operate via a business model meant to earn and sustain the company’s operations.

DuckDuckGo earns from targeted advertisements like Google Search. But unlike Google, they don’t collect or store user data to come up with a comprehensive user profile.

This means that when you search the keyword “cat” on DuckDuckGo, the site might try to sell you cat food or catnip, but that’s that. What it won’t do is predict your future real-life behavior by selling you a cat-friendly hotel accommodation because you’ve also searched for a specific tourist destination beforehand.

DuckDuckGo has proven profitable since 2014. In 2015, the company reached its first million-dollar revenue.

Although this number doesn’t look very impressive compared to Google’s $74.5 billion, the people behind DuckDuckGo are confident with their product’s future prospects.

Why Should People Switch to Duckduckgo?

DuckDuckGo offers the same ease of usage and reliability of search results as Google. However, DuckDuckGo goes the extra mile when it comes to user privacy.

Although some people would argue that it’s impossible to stay completely safe and private online, DuckDuckGo is doing its part to push forth the importance of data safety and privacy. The company has even made it its mission to “set a new standard of trust online”.

How Can You Make Duckduckgo Your Default Search Engine?

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Considering switching to DuckDuckGo? Here’s a step-by-step by guide on how to do just that.

Desktop

Chrome

Tech Made Easy
  1. Go to the DuckDuckGo website.
  2. Add DuckDuckGo as a Chrome search engine extension by clicking “Here” from the popup.
  3. Click Chrome’s hamburger menu button.
  4. Choose “Settings.
  5. Click “Manage Search Engines.”
  6. Find DuckDuckGo and click “Make Default.”

Safari (OS X)

  1. Go to “Preferences.”
  2. Click “Search.”
  3. From the “Search Engine Dropdown,” choose “DuckDuckGo.”

Mobile 

Safari on iOS

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Click “Safari.”
  3. Go to “Search Engine Dropdown.”
  4. Choose “DuckDuckGo.”

Note: Android prohibits third party search engines. However, you can bypass this restriction by downloading the DuckDuckGo app. You can also download the app for iOS.

See what Google and Facebook do with your data in this video from DuckDuckGo:

If you’re not entirely ready to abandon Google Search, you can test drive DuckDuckGo for a few days first. See how well it works for you and then decide whether it’s something you’d like to commit to permanently.

Duckduckgo is a welcome option for online users who value their security and privacy. We hope this guide on DuckDuckGo has answered most of your questions about this alternative search engine and helped you decide whether it’ll be the right fit for your search needs.

What are your thoughts on online data privacy? Share them in the comments section below.

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Featured Image Via Sharaf Maksunov / Shutterstock

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