DuckDuckGo's growing popularity shows that more people are interested in protecting their privacy when conducting online searches.
DuckDuckGo, the privacy-first search engine, has hit an important milestone by recording more than 14 million searches in one day.
According to statistics released by the search engine, it reached the 14 million mark on January 10. CEO Gabriel Weinberg credits the recent spike in popularity to the growing awareness around data privacy and surveillance motivating people to seek out alternatives to the likes of Google. Very much a pro-privacy and anonymity service, DuckDuckGo does not track or share personal details about its users — like IP addresses — or the content of their searches.
He pointed to a Pew Research study to back up his claim that 40 percent of people think that search engines should not retain any information about what their users search for. That same study found that 90 percent of people believe it is important to control what information is collected about them.
In total, the search engine has exceeded 10 billion searches to date, with four billion of those searches in 2016 alone.
“At DuckDuckGo, our vision is to raise the standard of trust online, and in service of that vision, our mission is to be the world’s most trusted search engine,” he said.
While Weinberg said DuckDuckGo is growing “faster than ever,” it has been expanding its reach gradually since it was founded in 2008.
Following the National Security Agency leaks by Edward Snowden, DuckDuckGo claimed that the controversy had a massive impact on its site’s activity, with a 600 percent increase in searches between 2013 and 2015. “People are finally becoming aware of all the downsides of online tracking,” said Weinberg at the time.
DuckDuckGo also announced that in 2016, it donated $225,000 to nine organizations that promote and preserve online privacy, including Tor Project, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Fight for the Future.
“We are grateful to be able to make such donations yearly to more broadly serve our vision, and are working on considering donations for the new year right now,” said Weinberg, who asked for users to suggest organizations they feel are worthy of donations.