By Dawn Pennington
Google parent Alphabet suffered a decline in search for the first time in its 22-year history in the second quarter.
Still, with 92.5% share of the global search engine market in 2019, none of Google’s /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +1.00% /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +0.79% competitors come close.
Microsoft’s /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +1.47% Bing and Verizon’s /zigman2/quotes/204980236/composite VZ -3.36% Yahoo together can’t even come up with 5%. Baidu /zigman2/quotes/209050136/composite BIDU -2.31% was created for the Chinese market, and Yandex /zigman2/quotes/204821865/composite YNDX +0.28% was created for the Russian market.
But take a look at No. 6 on that list: DuckDuckGo. Google sure is. That’s because it offers something the king of search does not: Privacy.
Now that we’re all spending more time on the internet, we see ads and search results so personalized, it’s easy to wonder if our web browsers are reading our minds. Consumers realize that companies value their personal data more than gold these days. And companies like Google make it incredibly easy to exchange our privacy for convenience.
Millions of dollars are made every year from selling the personal data of people just trying to navigate the web. And consumers have all but come to terms with that reality.
But DuckDuckGo instead asks a simple question: “Tired of being tracked online?”
The company, based outside Philadelphia, prides itself on protecting searchers’ privacy. You might have even seen one of its 2,245 billboards in the U.S. or 2,261 billboards in Europe with the same message.
It doesn’t collect, store, or pass along any personal information about its users. And it avoids the filter of personalized results by showing all users the same results for a given search term. That’s important because your personal data can remain on sites and other search engines indefinitely. It can even be subpoenaed by lawyers.
DuckDuckGo does not collect any info from users. That includes not going back to websites and reporting which search terms led users there.
Although privacy seems like something so simple, it really is a novel concept when being applied to search engines.
More users are catching on. Look at these stats:
• In May 2012, the search engine was attracting 1.5 million searches a day.
• By May 2020, 66 million searches occurred every day on DuckDuckGo.