As terms like “NSA” and “PRISM” start to embody the modern-day bogey man for many who take ideas like privacy seriously, a small, but increasing amount of web users alter their behavior accordingly. This means leaving popular services like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook behind in an effort to find a place that respects a user’s right to have a secure, private web existence, something that is becoming increasingly harder and harder to do.
In fact, the idea of private web use might now be the impossible dream.
Nevertheless, services like DuckDuckGo are enjoying a nice little bounce as web users search (figuratively and literally) for the Holy Grail that is searching the web without your searches or any other personal data being saved for future use. It also appears as if the bounce is actually pretty significant. For more on that, we turn to DDG’s Twitter:
100,000,000+ searches in July! To all DuckDuckGo supporters, thank you! You're not alone in wanting great results & great privacy.
— DuckDuckGo (@duckduckgo) August 1, 2013
100 million anything is a lot, to be sure, but where does that rank in relation to Google’s daily haul? According to StasticBrain.com, in 2012, Google executed over 5 billion searches on a daily basis. Meanwhile, it took an entire month for DuckDuckGo to go over the 100 million mark. Furthermore, even if you somehow eliminated the 5 billion and kept the remaining number of daily searches–134 million–Google would still outdo DDG’s July output, which is being celebrated as a record, in 24 hours. This indicates while some are indeed concerned about web security and privacy, many others aren’t or aren’t willing to make changes in that direction.
The same idea is addressed by Danny Sullivan recently, and he also states DuckDuckGo’s growth, while admirable, just doesn’t compare to the engines that rule the seas:
That’s also not counting any worldwide traffic AOL has. Similarly, that 13 billion figure that Google handles is only for searches in the United States, whereas Duck Duck Go’s data is for worldwide traffic. And while the Google traffic is for May 2013, and so potentially doesn’t reflect any post-PRISM loss, it’s pretty clear from Duck Duck Go’s figures that hundreds of millions of people haven’t left Google for it. Tens of millions haven’t. Maybe, at best, one million have.
More to that point, there hasn’t been a mass exodus of any note from any of the services that could be viewed as a privacy risk. People still use Windows and Facebook, despite news that privacy honks would view as troubling. And then there’s that whole mobile phone/location privacy thing no one talks about anymore. Remember all those people who fled the comfort of their iPhones when news of Apple’s location-gathering practices hit?
Yeah, me neither.
Does this mean that, despite our willingness to talk about something trending, thanks in large part to Edward Snowden, we aren’t willing to change the behavior associated with the privacy scare trend? It certainly appears that way.