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DuckDuckGo search engine increased its traffic by 62% in 2020 as users seek privacy

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/18/2021 Coral Murphy, USA TODAY

DuckDuckGo, a search engine focused on privacy, increased its average number of daily searches by 62% in 2020 as users seek alternatives to impede data tracking. 

The search engine, founded in 2008, operated nearly 23.7 billion search queries on their platform in 2020, according to their traffic page. On Jan. 11, DuckDuckGo reached its highest number of search queries in one day, with a total of 102,251,307.

DuckDuckGo does not track user searches or share personal data with third-party companies.

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"People are coming to us because they want more privacy, and it's generally spreading through word of mouth," Kamyl Bazbaz, DuckDuckGo vice president of communications, told USA TODAY. "People are looking for alternatives to the surveillance-tech business model."

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Besides DuckDuckGo's website, the platform is also available as an iOS and Android app, as well as a Google Chrome extension.

Because DuckDuckGo doesn’t track users, it’s not clear exactly how many people use it. However, the search engine's CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, estimates that nearly 25 million users use the platform

Google, for example, collects information about the apps, browsers, and devices users use to access Google services, as well as searched terms, videos watched and purchase activity. Google's policy applies to YouTube, Android, and services offered on third-party sites, such as advertising services.

The news comes as more users flock to privacy-focused apps as companies, including Whatsapp, are changing their privacy policies. Signal and Telegram are seeing a rise in users amid these changes and the ban on the social media platform Parler.

"The recent Facebook/WhatsApp privacy policy announcement seems to have had some impact increasing search similar to how it has driven people to private messaging alternatives like Signal," Bazbaz said in a statement. "We've seen this happen before, when a high profile privacy issue is exposed, we generally see an increase in use."

The Justice Department sued Google in October for antitrust violations, alleging it stifled competition and harmed consumers in online search and advertising.

Contributing: Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY 

Follow Coral Murphy on Twitter @CoralMerfi

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: DuckDuckGo search engine increased its traffic by 62% in 2020 as users seek privacy

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