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.