Mar 26, 2014

The David vs. Goliath of Search


No LEAP gathering in recent memory has been free of a conversation about information collection, metadata, and search. And not just in the context of our digital agency and the work that we do. We’re consumers, too, and we wonder where all of this information is going and how it’s being used. Those types of questions—and a googol more—are making “privacy” one of the hottest trending topics in social media.

That’s why a simmering battle between DuckDuckGo versus Google has caught our eye.

It’s a classic tale of scrappy newcomer taking on a seemingly unstoppable behemoth. On paper—not a fair fight. But we’ve noticed some fascinating aspects to DuckDuckGo that could help it gain traction.

Google profits from their data collection, where as DuckDuckGo deletes all of it. Did you catch that? ALL OF IT. And that’s helping them gain fans. A recent traffic chart shows that DuckDuckGo’s highest spike in search queries came last July, right after a certain Mr. Snowden revealed the NSA’s extensive digital surveillance program. And, apparently, its traffic has since continued its upward trajectory. This recent article by FastCoLabs gives a bit of insight into DuckDuckGo’s history while speculating what could be so attractive about this fierce newcomer.  

Why does it matter?

With search engines like DuckDuckGo raising their hand and saying STOP, we the people don’t have to be held hostage to the rules and rigor set forth by Google. Is this the new normal? Or are there still opportunities to participate online while remaining private? More and more people are asking.

But—are the masses really ready to give up Google? Anecdotally, there’s still a long way to go, as we’ve used Google countless times to simply research for this blog post. And consider how limited information could affect relevancy. Type in “car wash” on DuckDuckGO and nothing in your area will pop up. To give up privacy, we may have to re-learn how to search. Is it worth it?

We’re interested in seeing how this battle unfolds. Let us know if you’re curious enough to take part in a seven-day Google-cleanse and test out DuckDuckGo. Think you could do it? We’d love to see how it goes.

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