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Privacy Businesses The Internet Apple

DuckDuckGo Sees Massive Growth In Post-Snowden World 112

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-oriented search engine, has been around for over six years. But when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in 2013, DuckDuckGo started a period of strong growth that hasn't slowed yet. The search engine has seen a 600% increase in traffic over the past two years, and they're now serving 3 billion searches a year. This shouldn't be a surprise — last month, a Pew survey found that 40% of American adults didn't want their search engine to retain information about them. But members of the general public are notoriously slow to change their privacy-related behavior. DuckDuckGo's growing popularity has led them to double their employee count since early 2014, now totaling 28 people. Their success is beginning to fuel speculation about an acquisition, with Apple's name being tossed around as a potential buyer.
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DuckDuckGo Sees Massive Growth In Post-Snowden World

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 19, 2015 @05:33PM (#49948875)

    But will they add convenient share buttons for all the social media sites? As Dice Holdings, Incorporated has shown us, that is what makes a website great.

  • Take that Google... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Another good private search engine is Sequoiam [], no IP addresses or search history is recorded.
    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      sorry ive got to ask who runs Sequoiam it doesn't show up on google or ddg any more info? i see it uses piwik for analytics

  • Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @05:36PM (#49948897)

    I changed several browsers to use DDG as the default search. If I can't find something, I can always to go and look for it.

    Hey Dice, pay close attention to this part! I don't want to have everything I do tracked and analyzed. Not by a Government nor by a company. They don't have my best interests in mind, they have _their_ best interests in mind.

    I block a lot of content today that 5 years ago I never had to worry about. I'm blocking 3 sites that Dice attempts to push through their default content because two of them are under the same owner.. a former Israeli Intel head who opened social media and content sharing sites.. out of the goodness of their hearts right? Pfffft..

    Using "Social Media" only increases people's ability to track. Like the new shitty "share" button where "comment" use to be. I refuse to use social media sites for the same reason I am using DDG.

    • by koan ( 80826 )

      The name of Mossad head you're talking about and one of the social sites would be nice to know.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by s.petry ( 762400 )

        I attempt to keep bashing to reasonable levels, so I'll give you the information and you can find things on your own. Run NoScript and load Slashdot. Note every site that attempts to talk to your browser, and start looking for company information and whois data.

        I highly recommend people run NoScript all the time. You may be surprised at who you are being connected when visiting what you believe one site and maybe an add channel. Some sites are huge balls of spaghetti serving one little meatball.

    • This goes completely against the spirit of your post in favor of anonymity.

      Notice: If you post anonymously do not expect a reply.

      For the first time ever I am posting logged in just to remove the positive mod I gave you.

    • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @07:12PM (#49949389)

      If I can't find something, I can always to go and look for it.

      DDG can even handle that part for you. Check into their bangs []. They have "!g" to automatically run your search through Google for you, saving you the hassle of navigating there yourself. I miss the inline map results when searching for addresses, so I'll use a !g on those to save myself the hassle of pulling up Google Maps directly...and I just noticed they have a !gmap, so I'll likely start using that instead.

    • Not by a Government nor by a company.

      Which is effectively the same today, due to third-party doctrine ...

  • Apple may buy a search engine used by people who like privacy!
    • by slazzy ( 864185 )
      I don't think Apple would care about the privacy part, but they may buy a company which has a good backend crawler.
      • Re:Ha? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <> on Friday June 19, 2015 @06:02PM (#49949079) Homepage Journal

        DuckDuckGo doesn't have a crawler. Well, they say they do, and I'm sure they have some basic crawling, but they only say that so they don't look silly for being a search engine that doesn't actually do search. They buy their results from Bing, and then do some value added stuff like munging in Wikipedia results. I doubt Apple wants to buy something that sends money to Microsoft, and they certainly won't back Google. And Apple doesn't have the expertise to build an effective search engine on their own.

        • Maybe not, but they can still buy Yahoo!, salvage the pre-Bing search engine and build on that?
        • I doubt Apple wants to buy something that sends money to Microsoft, and they certainly won't back Google. And Apple doesn't have the expertise to build an effective search engine on their own.

          Apple would contend that nothing outside of the beautiful walled garden of is worth searching for in the first place.

    • No, Apple isn't looking to buy it nor does the article that Soulskill linked even say that. Soulskill made up the claim entirely.

      • No, Apple isn't looking to buy it nor does the article that Soulskill linked even say that. Soulskill made up the claim entirely.

        It's good that we have an older than i am Slashdoter like you writing how an "Apple should just buy DuckDuckGo" post become "Apple a top contender to buy DuckDuckGo"...

    • Apple may buy a search engine used by people who like privacy!

      Yeah, that hardly sounds credible. Apple would buy a service that offers a wide range of services. At one point, Yahoo! would have been a good target, but given the number of services they have shed, such as Yahoo! Maps, Hotjobs, et al, it's probably not as attractive now.

      But DDG is hardly Apple's type. They're offering privacy to users, but that goes against the grain of even Apple - remember the Genius Bar, anybody? Apple would LOVE plenty of analytics on what their users do - they just don't packag

    • Pretty much my thoughts. People use that search engine exactly because it doesn't track them. That's pretty much the only reason there is. It's slower than google, its results are far less accurate, its interface is dated, it has no, not a single, feature that reaches the levels of the big squid. Its only redeeming feature (and just think what people are willing to put up with just to get that one!) is that it does not track.

      And now a company wants to buy it that has a ... let's say not toooooo awesome trac

  • by koan ( 80826 )

    with Apple a top contender to buy DuckDuckGo.

    If you can't corrupt them buy them.

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      Yes. DuckDuckGo bought by Apple due to increasing popularity due to DDG's privacy stance. DDG's privacy stance immediately undermined by being owned by Apple.

      It may not be as bad as being acquired by the NSA, but let's face it, no matter how much Apple tries to suggest that they won't change anything... they're going to change things.

    • Except there is no evidence that Apple isn't looking to buy them. Soulskill was just making things up.

  • Umm, bullshit. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @05:47PM (#49948987)

    Their success is beginning to fuel speculation about an acquisition, with Apple a top contender to buy DuckDuckGo.

    Except that there is no such speculation. No where in the link does it say that there are acquisition talks. It is just someone's opinion that Apple should buy them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jjeffries ( 17675 )

      Except that there is no such speculation.

      Well, there is now!

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      As far as I can tell, DuckDuckGo is a private company and so not vulnerable to a hostile takeover. If they were, it would kind of defeat their purpose. The second they got bought out by the likes of Apple, privacy would go down the shitter.

  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @05:54PM (#49949037)

    Don't forget their short url its as easy to type as or

  • To anyone. Certainly not to anyone who's got such varied motives as Apple.

    Providing good, untracked, unbubbled search is its own worthy end; please let's not distort it by bending it to serve the latest iFad or getting all wrapped up in some specific ecosystem. How about we continue to build on open standards and make stuff that's useful for everyone? Apple used to understand that (so did Google) but the whole point is that their like can't be trusted at this point.

    Anyway DuckDuckGo has been my default e

    • You should read the article. It doesn't say what Soulskill is claiming.

    • by catsRus ( 548036 )
      I doubt Apple would buy it, the growth would reverse in a day since Apple is no friend of privacy. (Unless i suppose they need a quick tax write off but they got that with Beats)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      To anyone. Certainly not to anyone who's got such varied motives as Apple.

      I'm pretty sure they can't - as in if Apple bought them Google would shut it down.

      DuckDuckGo is just using Google in the end, after all. And I'm sure Google's agreements with Apple would preclude Apple from starting up a similar service using Google's search results. (Remember, Google still pays Apple a few billion dollars to be the default search engine).

      Anyhow, doesn't iOS offer DDG as a search engine option besides Google and Yahoo

  • by Stan92057 ( 737634 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @06:09PM (#49949119)
    How can we block the share button i use Ublock Ive tried may different options to block every social button i am not a member of twitter,fartboox so they are 10000%useless to me. Ublock is ..a pain. but the only AB i have found that lets me decide what i want to block by right click block. Ad blocker plus once allowed it now that feature is gone. and no learning to be a web coder isn't in the books ever lol Is there a site i can go to to learn how and what to block?

    and yes i do use duckduckgo its not as good as google but anything past the first page on all the search engines is useless garbage IMO and for my search that's the only opinion that matters :}
  • Who's behind DDG? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @06:24PM (#49949183)

    Do we have any independent way of verifying that DDG is not an NSA honeypot, or is this another case of Internet hipsters declaring their own set of cultural prejudices to be TRVTH because they say it is?

    • Re:Who's behind DDG? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @09:35PM (#49949993) Homepage Journal
      I'm always cognizant of that. How do we know DuckDuckGo is not simply lying?
    • I've always wondered that. It would certainly be an efficient method for the NSA to track searches of people who are trying to hide. Trust is such a fascinating issue, and it comes down to this:
      Do you trust, say, Google, who have stated privacy policies, some track record of resisting the NSA (likely unsuccessfully) or the dude who started DuckDuckGo, Gabriel Weinberg ( who kinda looks friendly and geeky, but could literally be anyone.

      Seriously, it's kind of nuts that the best tool available f

      • One test would be to enter a number of DDG searches using trigger words that might catch the NSA's interest. If you get "swatted," my point is proven.

        Nobody would actually want to try that, though.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yandex. Russian.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't know what happened to Yahoo numbers when Firefox switched, but I expect they went up at least a little.
    Yahoo's search results are not as good as Google's. When my Google search includes the word "binding" the results bring up program language bindings. On Yahoo, they bring up a lot of weird things I have no interest in.

    I have kept Yahoo as my default search engine with the idea that if they get enough traffic, they will get trained and some day be as good as Google.

    But this is a silly thought. Googl

  • startpage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @06:48PM (#49949289)

    >"DuckDuckGo, the privacy-oriented search engine"

    Actually, I think of as the privacy-oriented search engine. Same results as Google, but no Google tracking and it is NOT hosted in the USA. I have been using it for years now. []

  • Should we trust Apple?
    • Well, Apple has been consistent about what it sells and it is not data to aggregators.

      • FYI, Google doesn't sell user data to aggregators either, or to advertisers. You may know that, but I mention it because it's a common misunderstanding of Google's advertising business model.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Fuck google's business model.

          • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Friday June 19, 2015 @08:44PM (#49949803) Homepage Journal

            Fuck google's business model.

            Really? Keep in mind that without it Google search wouldn't exist... and neither would DDG, because most of DDG's sources are other engines that are also funded by advertising. Odds are that without Google's business model you'd also be seeing a lot more, and a lot more intrusive ads. You are probably too young to remember what the commercial side of the web looked like in the mid to late 90s, but I'm sure you've seen the "one weird trick" sites with pages and pages to present a small amount of content buried in mountains of ads. That was pretty much where we were headed until targeted advertising came along.

            • Fuck google's business model.

              Really? Keep in mind that without it Google search wouldn't exist...

              Google Search existed before Google settled on their business model...

    • And if you are doing nefarious business, Apple plainly states they need a proper court warrant to turn over any data.

  • I think in an ideal solution to privacy-friendly search would involve a product. Why can't search, mapping software, and similar be localized? Why shouldn't I simply connect to my own personal server which contains all the information needed to do the search locally? In theory all you'd need to do is get a couple terabytes (probably significantly less really) and sync the databases these search engines are built off. Your actual search can then be done locally without ever sending search terms to a third pa

  • I switched from Google because I began to notice that their results seemed to be skewed. Certain types of results were not coming up in my searches, even when that was specifically what I was looking for. While it mostly appeared in politically loaded searches (although the nature of the skew makes it hard for me to determine the nature of the bias...I found both "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints dropped from results) it also occurred in some searches for answers on technical issues.
  • ...StartPage/IXQuick just "upgraded" and thereby royally fucked up their interface (now requires javascript AND the search box no longer accepts paste, at least for me). I'd preferred StartPage, but have now switched to DuckDuckGo in sheer desperation for a search engine that doesn't argue with me, never mind tracking me... that's almost a secondary issue in the face of usability, or lack thereof.

  • 3 billion searches a year works out to 95/second by my estimations. Which is laughably insignificant. Why on earth would Apple be interested in that?

  • I just found out that if you search "xkcd" in DuckDuckGo, it will show you the latest XKCD in the search results, plus a link to the ExplainXKCD page for it. Awesome!
  • Then your browser will not give your search agent of much of a chance to track you, and in most cases you have the source code to verify that. Search engines don't bother to track by IP because it's both unreliable and you will likely be pissed off if you see ads which are too relevant when you take such precautions.

    Presumably most of your searches are not privacy sensitive and you might even appreciate the ads that show what you are looking for right at the moment. And when you are seriously looking into

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.