DuckDuckGo.com, an alternative search engine to Google, recently increased its searches by 50% within 8 days!
Some speculate the NSA’s PRISM surveillance of 120 million Verizon subscribers is spurring this change. You see, DuckDuckGo keeps all searcher activity completely private, which is not practiced at major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
So, the natural question to ask, of course is: is DuckDuckGo a serious competitor to Google?
Remember back in the days of Yahoo and Excite, when they were 2 of the search giants? If you’re like most people, those days are pretty foggy.
Yes, the search market changes fast, so it’s possible for the giant that is Google to fall.
Reasons DuckDuckGo May Beat Google
1. Privacy – Officially, DuckDuckGo promises not to track your search behavior. Google has repeatedly been accused and found guilty of mishandling people’s private information (see this list at Huffington Post). In an era where it’s easier than ever before to track your behavior, this could be a very powerful marketing tactic.
2. Immediate access to information – Yep, Google isn’t always the best at this. Search on the term “Rangers schedule,” for example. At DuckDuckGo, you get the result nearly at the top of the page. At Google, you get a giant image that shows who they play today, and you also have a menu at the top if you’re already logged into your Google profile. Doesn’t seem like much, but in the world of search, every little step counts.
3. Less clutter when searching on large, generic terms – Type the term “insurance” into both search engines. At Google, you get a ton of PPC ads at the top and flowing down the right of the page. If you’re signed in, you also get a local map at the top right showing insurance companies in your area. At DuckDuckGo, you have some ads, but not nearly as much. At the top, you get a few links from major information sources like Wikipedia, and just below is a sponsored link. That’s it.
Is DuckDuckGo A Threat? Yes. Will it Overtake Google? Only the Market Can Decide
Even though DuckDuckGo handles 3 million searches per day, it’s still just a small fraction of the total searches that Google manages…a very small fraction. But, because of its laser like ability to focus on what Google doesn’t do so well, DuckDuckGo poses a very serious threat to Google.
The main challenge for Google is to focus on users, not revenues, which certainly fuels its desire to splatter ads all over the results pages of lucrative terms.
In the end, it’s all about the market and the ability of Google and DuckDuckGo to meet the true demands of the market.
It’ll be an interesting battle to monitor.