If you’ve always wanted Google to stop sending you weirdly targeted ads, good news is on the horizon. Google and Facebook have recently come under scrutiny for allegedly sale user metadata (possibly China) and on a large scale data breaches. Facebook, in particular, got into hot water for data tracking with the Facebook app even when the app was out of order. The large majority (93 percent) Internet users want more control over their data and information. Enter DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo is a web browsing service that upholds user privacy. The search engine service has been profitable for years and DuckDuckGo is looking to expand its reach. A new room of WIRED explains why DuckDuckGo is ready for growth in the tech industry:
Like Google Search, DuckDuckGo makes money by selling ads in addition to search results. The difference is that while the ads you see in a Google search typically target you in part based on your past searches, as well as what Google knows about your behavior more broadly, DuckDuckGo’s ads are purely ” contextual ”, that is, they are based only on the search term. It’s because DuckDuckGo doesn’t know anything about you. It does not assign you a username and does not keep track of your search history in order to personalize your results.
Unfortunately, search engines like DuckDuckGo still do not protect users from data collected by Internet search providers or web browsers like Firefox or Chrome. This is relevant because Google specifically integrates trackers and cookies into websites, allowing them to better target you for advertisements.
Gabriel Weinberg, the founder and CEO of DuckDuckGo, said in the WIRED article which:
Monitoring is so built into the web’s infrastructure that many sites will stop functioning if you block all cookies. Take Google Analytics, which is found on the vast majority of websites. “If you block Google Analytics directly, you are breaking sites,” Weinberg says.
For those who wish to maintain their privacy, this makes it even more difficult to walk away from Google. This is why DuckDuckGo is considering offering a Chrome competitor to provide more security for users. The search engine is stronger and stronger, but DuckDuckGo isn’t the only brand that seeks to win over users by prioritizing privacy. Apple has launched a new privacy initiative that users are adopting at high rates.
Google still dominates the internet search space, and big tech companies are still collecting data for marketing purposes. However, the trend towards a more private Internet is encouraging. While some argue that tech companies need to be dismantled to meet consumer needs, we still have an essentially free market, which means when consumers want something, they usually get it. Positive technological innovation can come from an unlikely place: a duck bow tie.