The search engine, Duck Duck Go (DDG) has just taken on an additional $10 million from a Canadian investment fund. The story is interesting for a number of reasons, but the two major ones are –
– DDG did not need the money, and the fund had to convince them to take it.
– DDG’s non-tracking advertising has seen it profitable since 2014.
Both of these reasons point to a phenomenal uptake of the DDG product suite – but why? The answer is all about privacy. Following global concerns in relation to tracking software and pixels, DDG found it’s sweet spot. The search engine does not seek to understand anything about its users, instead, using advanced machine learning to return more relevant generalised queries specific to the question.
For example, if you were to ask a normal search engine “where can I buy a leather jacket?” A personalised and specific response would be offered. This is because the incredibly advanced algorithm will tweak the answers based on your previous searches or even shopping habits. With DDG, similar technology is used to hone the answer to the question, increasing specificity to that specific query, rather than making it specific to the person.
While DDG’s numbers are still a tiny fraction of other, more mainstream search engines, the climate is changing. Users are becoming more aware of how tracking software works, and are keen to protect their privacy. Interestingly, it has been reported that it only takes a single person within a social group to have their privacy breached in order for a significant number of people to immediately take action.
As for the $10 million investment, DDG will be using the money to expand their product range, and improve their global reach. It’s likely that a more all-encompassing range of products will be available in the near future, and if the trend towards intentional privacy continues, expect more people to be using DDG in the near future.