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DuckDuckGo Founder Makes the Case For His Search Engine (vs. Google)

Gabriel Weinberg: I'm Not Anti-Google

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Gabriel Weinberg, founder of alterative search engine DuckDuckGo sat down to talk with WebProNews about what people can get out of DuckDuckGo that they can’t get from the Google experience. 

"I’m not anti-Google," he says. "I know that they take privacy very seriously, and I respect what they’re doing, but they’re doing a few things that – one they can avoid, and one they can’t avoid – and both of which, we don’t do."

"The first is, literally, they save your searches when you search Google, whether you’re logged in or not, and we don’t log any of that information," he continues. "When you search at DuckDuckGo, we literally don’t save the information about your computer that you send to us, which is…your IP address and your user agent. So there’s no way to tie your searches to you, or even to tie your searches together. Whereas on Google, you can do that, so if law enforcement, say, comes and asks for your searches, they can be retrieved and used against you. In Google’s defense, they use that to help track you to make your searches better, and to target advertising to you across the web."

"The other way is (which part of my campaign is hoping that Google will fix this, because I don’t think it’s necessary for them to do this), is when you click on a link in Google, your search terms are sent to the site you click on," he adds. "It’s this technical thing that got started when the Internet got started, but nowadays, ad networks will aggregate that information, and third-parties can sell your profiles to other people that use your searches. That’s completely unnecessary. At DuckDuckGo, we don’t do that. We do this special kind of technical re-direct thing to make sure your searches aren’t passed to other sites."

Weinberg maintains that DuckDuckGo’s results are just as relevant without tracking your search history.  

"The proof is in the results…they use that as one of like a thousand signals, and it just seems like it’s not a very useful signal," he says. "They say it’s used a lot to make your results relevant, and they do change a bit (you can tell by logging out and logging in), but it’s mainly more used to target advertising to you across the web, because Google runs a huge ad network. AdSense runs on millions of sites, and so it’s mainly more used for that when you’re off the search page [when] you’re on another website – to get good ads. We have no need to do that. We don’t run an ad network across the world, so we don’t need to save your searches for that reason."

Weinberg also talked about DuckDuckGo’s approach to content farms and search quality. You can watch the above video for more on that. We also discuss that more in a separate article.

DuckDuckGo Founder Makes the Case For His Search Engine (vs. Google)
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  • http://www.rjdinternational.com RJD Intl

    So I should switch only if I’m doing illegal activity. Got it. Good luck getting people to change without adding any features.

  • Guest

    Well… I am not really familiar with the selling of referral search term traffic, but I should hope they don’t strip the referral string out entirely, because that would really hurt them as far as webmasters seeing a referral from duck duck go…

  • Zend

    Not passing the referral keywords to sites is a put off and won’t sit well with webmasters which are supposed to be the fuel to any search engine. What’s in it for us? Without us, DDG is nothing and will turn out another Cuil. The rest of the privacy protection is fine and extremely attractive, but they went way too far by not passing referral keywords. Every site owner needs that. There is no harm in doing that if you don’t log the ip and other info. to comply with privacy. Hope you guys reconsider.

  • http://www.afrofabri.com Therese Coker

    I checked out these guy at duckduckgo and it looks like it has got some muscles. The results look very relevant but I am worried how they are financing a search engine that does not have ads, maybe just yet. the concerns they raise about privacy are the type I never knew or even thought about.

  • http://www.jobs4teens.co.nz Sambling

    How will the founder make money from this. They have no ads on the side and given that advertisers get better information from google, duckduckgo doesn’t stand a chance. How much money do you reckon it takes to run duckduckgo?

    Duckduckgo for users is GREAT except it has no regional service (I am a New Zealander) and ranks (ranked I mean before my website crashed and I lost being on the front page) my website, www.jobs4teens.co.nz, lower than google (although that is probably part of the regional thing.

    • c

      Give it time. This company is new and most likely will be a big player in the future. Very promising.

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