Ducking Google with DuckDuckGo: Internet searching and your privacy

Technicall Speaking

Privacy. We all want it. We expect it. Do we get it? Not always. Even if we’re home alone innocently searching the Internet? Sadly, the answer is no.

Internet search privacy has been a hot topic lately. For example, in the Google lobby of the Seattle headquarters, visitors can watch a video screen that displays in real-time all of the Google searches being conducted by users from all around the world. While the search terms are listed anonymously, it exemplifies the fact that our searches are not truly private.

While most search engines are constantly gathering information about your searches and allowing that information to be shared with marketers and other websites, there is one that makes a point not to – DuckDuckGo. Don’t let the admittedly “silly” name fool you – this company is very serious about your privacy.

Internet entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg launched DDG in 2008 with the intent to provide Internet users with a truly “private” way to browse the Internet. With nearly 1.4 million searches per day – up from less than 50,000 searches per day back in mid-2010 (“DuckDuckGo Official Traffic”) – it is clear that people are catching on.

Most search engines record your search data, capturing your computer’s IP address (a computer’s unique identifier), and make a record of the terms you have searched, the date and time of your visit, and every link you click and website you visit. That information is then stored in giant databases to be referenced and used at a later date for other marketing purposes.

The search issue that DDG addresses is what they refer to as “search leakage.” When users are performing what they think is a private search on most search engines, that search is actually not so private.

If you’ve ever received a random email, or had an ad for a product or service for which you’ve searched suddenly pop-up or randomly appear on your computer screen as you are searching for something else, you know what we’re talking about.

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