Apple search partner DuckDuckGo takes shots at Google, says tracking isn't needed to profit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
Search alternative DuckDuckGo, which is available as a default search option in Apple's Safari browser, is profitable without tracking user behavior, the company's CEO has revealed.




Gabriel Weinberg participated in an Q&A session at Hacker News this week where one person expressed concern that DuckDuckGo could disappear if it doesn't make money. In response, Weinberg explained that the company is already profitable -- and took a shot at search giant Google in the process.

"It is a myth that you need to track people to make money in Web search," he said. "Most of the money is still made without tracking people by showing you ads based on your keyword, i.e. type in car and get a car ad.

"These ads are lucrative because people have buying intent. All that tracking is for the rest of the Internet without this search intent, and that's why you're tracked across the Internet with those same ads."

Google remains the default search engine on Apple's Safari browser, but starting with iOS 8, the company began offering a new built-in alternative with DuckDuckGo. Other options in Safari are Yahoo and Bing.

To change your default search provided to DuckDuckGo on iPhone or iPad, open the iOS Settings application and choose Safari, then Search Engine.

Though Google is still the out-of-the-box option for Safari, Apple has switched to Microsoft's Bing for queries returned through Siri, as well as Spotlight search on both iOS and OS X.

In the Q&A, Weinberg also revealed that disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden helped to accelerate the growth of DuckDuckGo. But he also revealed that other events have resulted in growth spikes --?such as in 2012 when Google changed their privacy policy to allow tracking across all of their online services.

"There are still no good limits on online tracking and as a result it continues to get crazier and crazier and more people are reacting," he said. "It was already heading in that direction pre-Snowden."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    Search alternative DuckDuckGo, which is available as a default search option in Apple's Safari browser, is profitable without tracking user behavior, the company's CEO has revealed.
    Will DDG ads be blocked by the iOS adblockers too? Not sure. . .
  • Reply 2 of 62
    Duck Duck Go works just fine on my desktop and phone. I like being able to support them without feeling like I'm taking a hit in the process.
  • Reply 3 of 62
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    Duck Duck Go works just fine on my desktop and phone. I like being able to support them without feeling like I'm taking a hit in the process.
    Do you have an adblocker installed and if so are DDG ads blocked?
  • Reply 4 of 62
    I'm surprised Apple hasn't bought Duck Duck Go..yet
    Seems like a no-brainer acquisition given how they've been beefing up Siri and search.
  • Reply 5 of 62
    igxqrrligxqrrl Posts: 105member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by battiato1981 View Post



    Duck Duck Go works just fine on my desktop and phone. I like being able to support them without feeling like I'm taking a hit in the process.

    I like DDG, I use DDG and have been for years, but about 50% of the time I wind up having to search with google because DDG's search quality just isn't that good yet. It's like the Apple Maps of search. So close, but far enough from 'good' that you can't quite abandon the big G yet.

  • Reply 6 of 62
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    sog35 wrote: »
    I hope Apple eventually buys DuckDuckGo and turns it into AppleSearch.

    Time for Tim to fullfill Steve Jobs thermo nuclear plans

    1. Make spyware/trackware block on as a default on iOS (this will block all ads that have spyware)
    2. Remove Google as the default Search for Safari
    3. Keep growing iAd with News and a new Apple share video site


    I do wish people start calling these tracking scrips Spyware.  Tracking does not sound so devious but Spyware does.
    Unless DDG really and truly is as good as Google, and is perceived as such this strategy could backfire as it could jus drive millions of people over to Chrome. I like DDG but I still find Google better. DDG is very US centric (last time I tried it which admittedly was a while back)
  • Reply 7 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Do you have an adblocker installed and if so are DDG ads blocked?

     

    I haven't tried any adblockers yet, so can't comment on that. 

  • Reply 8 of 62
    igxqrrl wrote: »
    I like DDG, I use DDG and have been for years, but about 50% of the time I wind up having to search with google because DDG's search quality just isn't that good yet. It's like the Apple Maps of search. So close, but far enough from 'good' that you can't quite abandon the big G yet.

    That actually has nothing to do with search algorerhythm quality, and everything to do with the database Google has built up on you. They serve you results you're more likely to want, so you think it's better, and then are more likely to keep using it, feeding the pig even more.
  • Reply 9 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post

     

    I like DDG, I use DDG and have been for years, but about 50% of the time I wind up having to search with google because DDG's search quality just isn't that good yet. It's like the Apple Maps of search. So close, but far enough from 'good' that you can't quite abandon the big G yet.




    I get that DDG isn't as powerful, but 95% of my searches are pretty darn basic, so it works for me as it would for most people, at least stateside. With all these search engines (and maps), the more people use it the smarter it gets, so might as well use it when you can. There might be more technical, foreign or academic queries where DDG wouldn't cut it, yet.

  • Reply 10 of 62
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Will DDG ads be blocked by the iOS adblockers too? Not sure. . .

    Yes, they are. However, you can add it to whitelists in eg Blockr.

    DDG is my default SE on iOS. But honestly, for many specific searches I hate to have to revert to google as DDG's results are useless. I wonder if that's connected to my location on Germany.
  • Reply 11 of 62
    DDG is useless outside the US
  • Reply 12 of 62
    mrboba1mrboba1 Posts: 267member

    I'm also US bound - and I have no problems finding what I need from DDG, whether I'm on my Mac, phone or PC at work.

    Just today I searched for a strange MS Access importing Excel file problem and DDG found a relevant thread and I solved it within 2 minutes.

  • Reply 13 of 62
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,414member
    First it is a shame that it took Snowden to wame up people to realized Google was tracking everything they did. I realized what they were doing back in 2007 and started to change how I used Google than.

    To those who say the other search tools are not as good as Google, part of the reason is most people do not know how search. Google know this thus the reason for natural language search, but Google will always show you what they want you to see first but not always what you really need to see. I have use the other search tools and have no problems but I use the old style of searching of using the exact words I want and the "" where necessary. I got so tired of Google pushing me to there paid customers.
  • Reply 14 of 62
    igxqrrligxqrrl Posts: 105member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    That actually has nothing to do with search algorerhythm quality, and everything to do with the database Google has built up on you. They serve you results you're more likely to want, so you think it's better, and then are more likely to keep using it, feeding the pig even more.

     

    That is not correct. My browsers are set to clear all cookies and browser data on exit. I block all third-party cookies. I'm frequently on my company's VPN, so IP address tracking would not help them. When I search I am effectively anonymous. Google's algorithm is better independent of their tracking.

  • Reply 15 of 62
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    I agree that DDG searches are too USA based. I am in the UK and have tried resetting DDG to the UK many times but it still seems to give mainly USA results.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post



    I'm surprised Apple hasn't bought Duck Duck Go..yet

    Seems like a no-brainer acquisition given how they've been beefing up Siri and search.

     

    Apple may want to continue paying Microsoft for Bing so that Microsoft continue making money from the iOS ecosystem.  Microsoft continues investing R&D dollars in its apps for iOS and OS X, so it's in Apple's interest that Microsoft continues to view the overall Apple ecosystem as financially attractive.  Just my speculation, of course!

  • Reply 17 of 62
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,804member
    I changed the default to Bing a long time ago. At least I get $5 gift cards from them every month or so.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    That actually has nothing to do with search algorerhythm quality, and everything to do with the database Google has built up on you. They serve you results you're more likely to want, so you think it's better, and then are more likely to keep using it, feeding the pig even more.
    I don't think that's correct. I use a VPN alongside Ghostery for a lot of my on-line time. Always that way at home as a matter of fact. Google still offers me the more pertinent search results. I think your anonymized "profile" is used more for advertising rather than search. Just a guess.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    mike1 wrote: »
    I changed the default to Bing a long time ago. At least I get $5 gift cards from them every month or so.
    Wow. You're heavily tracked then, and more personally identifiable than via Google as a a rule.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    First it is a shame that it took Snowden to wame up people to realized Google was tracking everything they did. I realized what they were doing back in 2007 and started to change how I used Google than.

    To those who say the other search tools are not as good as Google, part of the reason is most people do not know how search. Google know this thus the reason for natural language search, but Google will always show you what they want you to see first but not always what you really need to see. I have use the other search tools and have no problems but I use the old style of searching of using the exact words I want and the "" where necessary. I got so tired of Google pushing me to there paid customers.
    You're working too hard at it IMHO. I find results pretty fast (obviously ;) ) without having to resort of "if" and "then". The results I get are not pushed from "paid customers" of theirs as far as I can tell. Perhaps you're confusing the well-marked "Sponsored Results" with the others?
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