We all know that Google used to be just a search engine that was started out from a garage. Now, it has expanded into one of the largest companies in the world, and into many aspects of our lives. As the saying goes, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Goes the same for Google’s services. Want to stop Google from collecting information from you? Try DuckDuckGo, the privacy-first search engine that makes the Internet less creepy.
Switch To DuckDuckGo Now, Details Later.
Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic since 2016. Since then, DDG has evolved from its web-only search engine to browser (Chromium) extensions and mobile apps.
DuckDuckGo on your PC Web Browser
Simply change your default search engine to DuckDuckGo under the Search tab of your browser settings page. If it is not available under the default search engines, you may manually add it with the following settings:
Search Engine: DuckDuckGo.com
URL with %s in place of query: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s
Alternatively… Install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials Extensions on your favourite mainstream browsers. It will automatically switch your default search engine to DDG with ease.
On top of that, the browser extension gives each page that you visit a privacy grade. Privacy protection is automatically turned on, blocking trackers and ads, displaying connection encryption status and listing out privacy practices of the site.
DuckDuckGo on your Android and iOS Phones
Features from the privacy extensions are extended into the mobile app browser. Click on the fire icon upon exit and it will erase all browsing data and shut off all active tabs. Just as envisioned by the team, you can enjoy anonymous search and browsing in DuckDuckGo’s lightweight browser as simple as closing the blinds.
This browser may be too lightweight for some and hence, may not serve as a complete mobile browser replacement. Nevertheless, you can still use DDG on your phones when searching or surfing for sensitive content.
Say no more to creepy trackers on the Internet.
It’s time to take back your privacy online!
Founded in 2008 and described as the “search engine that doesn’t track you”, it is DuckDuckGo’s mission to disagree with naysayers that believe that surfing the Internet can never be a private activity.
DuckDuckGo’s marketing strategy is simple. It simply prevents us, users, from giving off valuable private information to companies without our consent in the simplest way possible. Every time you search on DuckDuckGo is as if you were there for the very first time – .
With data leaks becoming a regular occurrence, it is safe to say that your private information collected by companies online is bound to be leaked one day too. As an increasing number of users are becoming aware of this fact, it is only natural that DuckDuckGo now currently boasts a whopping 1.3 billion searches every month.
Fun Fact: Google Search’s popular instant answer feature (answer boxes that appear on search results to save you clicks) was inspired by DuckDuckGo’s version of it. Yes. That’s right, Google kinda copied it.
Refer to DuckDuckGo’s detailed traffic stats here.
No More Censorship and Filtered Search Results!
It goes without saying that dominating the search engine industry with around 76% market share, Google is the gatekeeper of the Internet. It controls the flow of information of its readers this alone gives it unimaginable power to fuel any agenda.
As numerous news sources stated, large companies like Google have self-appointed themselves to be the arbiters of acceptable thought, discussion and searches online. To put it into perspective, Google’s online censorship practices are currently unregulated.
They call the shots as to whether an online page is compliant with their webmaster quality guidelines, whether a content violation has been committed, and if a page should be ranked first or in search limbo (e.g. page 10 of search results, where few to none even navigates there for answers).
In the scenario where the algorithms have failed Google’s “censorship and editorial responsibilities”, the organisation also has human reviewers to flag specific pages for spam. This is termed by Google, manual actions.
Of course, these censorship policies are in place to combat spam and auto-generated content but many will be unhappy with their practices.
Quoting the USN, it is as if the biggest bully in town suddenly put on a badge and began patrolling, closing businesses down as it pleased, while concurrently peeping into windows, capturing photos and auctioning them to the highest bidder.
If you are one of the users who do not want to be told as to how you should search and rather scrutinize unfiltered search results yourself, make the switch to DuckDuckGo!
DuckDuckGo’s Business Model: How can they sustain in the long run?
Again, no such thing as a free lunch. DuckDuckGo has to be profitable as a company in order to be a sustainable business. Mind you, DuckDuckGo has been profitable since 2014, as stated by Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo’s CEO & Founder, on Quora.
Gabriel Weinberg explains that DuckDuckGo makes its revenue through several streams, which includes keyword advertising, eCommerce affiliate links and more recently experimenting with micro-donations via Flattr.
In short, keyword advertising means that ads will be shown based on what the user searched for, and not based on the data of the user him or herself. Don’t like it? Simply turn it off in the search settings and no ads will be shown at all.
Surprisingly, Google also earns most of its revenue via the same keyword-based advertising that doesn’t require any search-history tracking.
eCommerce affiliate links is a much smaller portion of their revenue, where DuckDuckGo makes a small commission from each Amazon or eBay sale with no exchange of personal information.
Here is the full detailed explanation by Gabriel Weinberg himself:
DuckDuckGo Donating to the Privacy Cause
Every year since 2011, DuckDuckGo has been donating to organisations that contribute to their vision of raising the standard of trust online.
As of 2019, the company has amassed over $1,900,000 in privacy donations, of which $600,000 was done in 2019 alone! Not to mention, DuckDuckGo’s executives are much more active on social media platforms, where they even reach out on Reddit for donation ideas.
Want to take Internet Privacy up a notch but don’t want to lose the functionality of Google Chrome Browser? Try Brave instead, a browser that doesn’t treat you like a product (coming soon…)