Duck Duck Go.svg
DuckDuckGo Screenshot.png
Commercial? Yes
Type of site search engine
Registration None
Owner DuckDuckGo, Inc.
Created by Gabriel Weinberg
Launched September 25, 2008
Alexa rank increase 6,040 (November 2011)[1]
Current status Active

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that is based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and uses information from crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia) with the aim of augmenting traditional results and improving relevance. The search engine philosophy emphasizes privacy and does not record user information.[2]



Gabriel Weinberg

DuckDuckGo was founded by Gabriel Weinberg, a serial entrepreneur whose last venture, The Names Database, was acquired by United Online (NASDAQ:UNTD) in 2006 for $10M.[3] Weinberg has a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT.[4] The project was initially self-funded by Weinberg and is now occasionally advertising-supported.[5] The search engine is written in Perl and runs on nginx and FreeBSD.[2][6][7] Weinberg also does angel investing, and is part of the Philadelphia startup scene.[6]

DuckDuckGo is built primarily upon search APIs from various major vendors (such as Yahoo! Search BOSS), because of this, TechCrunch characterized the service as a "hybrid" search engine.[8][9] At the same time, it produces its own content pages, and so also is similar to sites like Mahalo, Kosmix and SearchMe.[10]

While the name has been called "silly",[11] when questioned about the name, Weinberg has explained, "[r]eally it just popped in my head one day and I just liked it. It is certainly influenced/derived from Duck Duck Goose, but other than that there is no relation, e.g. a metaphor."[12]

Precise traffic statistics are now public[13] and in 2011 these are of order of 200,000 visits per day. Other sources include which estimated 191,904 monthly visitors in March 2011.[14] On April 12, 2011, Alexa reported a 3 month growth rate of 51%.[15]

DuckDuckGo has been featured on TechCrunch as a part of Elevator Pitch Friday[16] and it was a finalist in the BOSS Mashable Challenge.[17]

In July 2010 Weinberg started a DuckDuckGo community website to allow the public to report problems, discuss means of spreading the search engine, request features and discuss open sourcing the code.[18]

In October 2011 Union Square Ventures invested in DDG. Union Square partner Brad Burnham stated, "We invested in DuckDuckGo because we became convinced that it was not only possible to change the basis of competition in search, it was time to do it."[19]


DuckDuckGo's results are a mashup of many sources, including Yahoo! Search BOSS, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha and its own Web crawler, the DuckDuckBot.[2][20][21] It uses data from crowd-sourced sites, especially Wikipedia, to populate "Zero-click Info" boxes, which are red boxes containing topic summaries and related topics above results.[22] DuckDuckGo also offers the ability to show mostly shopping sites or mostly info (non-shopping) sites via search buttons on its homepage.[23]

DuckDuckGo positions itself as a search engine that puts privacy first and as such it does not store IP addresses, does not log user information and only uses cookies when needed. Weinberg states "By default, DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information. That is our privacy policy in a nutshell."[24]

Weinberg has refined the quality of his search engine results by deleting search results for companies he believes are content mills, like Demand Media's eHow, which publishes 4000 articles per day produced by paid freelance writers, which Weinberg has indicated is "low-quality content designed specifically to rank highly in Google's search index". DuckDuckGo attempts to filter eHow results as well as pages with lots of advertising.[25]

In August 2010 DuckDuckGo introduced anonymous searching, including an exit enclave, for its search engine traffic using Tor. This allows anonymity by routing traffic through a series of encrypted relays. Weinberg stated: "I believe this fits right in line with our privacy policy. Using Tor and DDG, you can now be end to end anonymous with your searching. And if you use our encrypted homepage, you can be end to end encrypted as well."[26]

In 2011, DuckDuckGo introduced voice search for users of the Google Chrome "Voice Search" extension.[27]

DuckDuckGo also features !Bang commands which give the user the ability to use DuckDuckGo and have their search redirected to the relevant site. An example of this is the !wiki command which redirects the search to Wikipedia's English website.[28]


In a June 2011 article, Harry McCracken of Time Magazine was very positive about DuckDuckGo, comparing it to his favorite hamburger restaurant, In-N-Out Burger, "It feels a lot like early Google, with a stripped-down home page. Just as In-N-Out doesn't have lattes or Asian salads or sundaes or scrambled eggs, DDG doesn't try to do news or blogs or books or images. There's no auto-completion or instant results. It just offers core Web search—mostly the "ten blue links" approach that's still really useful, no matter what its critics say...As for the quality, I'm not saying that Weinberg has figured out a way to return more relevant results than Google's mighty search team. But Duck Duck really good at bringing back useful sites. It all feels meaty and straightforward and filler-free..."[29]

Thom Holwerda also reviewed the search engine for OSNews in June 2011 and praised its privacy features, its defeating of the filter bubble and its shortcuts to site specific searches. He stated "...what are some of the reasons you might want to try out DuckDuckGo? First of all, DuckDuckGo doesn't track you, so you get real privacy when you search the web. Google tracks pretty much everything you do so they can better target you with advertisements. I have no problems with targeted advertising...What does bother me, though, is the fact that I wouldn't be able to protect myself if the US government ever subpoena'd Google to gain access to that information....More importantly though (at least for me) - DuckDuckGo tries to pop something called the filter bubble."[30]

See also


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Buys, Jon (July 2010). "DuckDuckGo: A New Search Engine Built from Open Source". Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  3. ^ United Online, Inc. (March 20, 2006). "Acquisition of Expands Company's Classmates Online Social Networking Unit". 
  4. ^ Gabriel Weinberg. "Gabriel Weinberg's Personal Homepage". 
  5. ^ "Duck Duck Go younoodle Startup Profile". 
  6. ^ a b Weinberg, Gabriel. "About Duck Duck Go". Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Warner, Andrew. "How The Founder Of Duck Duck Go Previously Bootstrapped A $10 Mil Company – with Gabriel Weinberg". Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  8. ^ Dan Kimerling. "Duck Duck Go, the Hybrid Search Engine". 
  9. ^ Gabriel Weinberg. "Public remarks by Gabriel Weinberg". 
  10. ^ "Duck Duck Go Company Profile". 
  11. ^ Frederic Lardnois (April 30, 2009). "Duck Duck Go: Silly Name, Interesting Search Engine". 
  12. ^ "Hacker News Thread". 
  13. ^ "DuckDuckGo Official traffic". 
  14. ^ " Analytics Profile". 
  15. ^ " Analytics Profile". 
  16. ^ Dan Kimerling (December 12, 2008). "Duck Duck Go, The Hybrid Search Engine". 
  17. ^ Adam Hirsch (October 7, 2008). "Voting Round for the BOSS Mashable Challenge". 
  18. ^ Weinberg, Gabriel (July 2010). " - The DuckDuckGo Community". Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  19. ^ Burnham, Brad (October 2011). "Duck Duck Go". Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "Duck Duck Go - FAQ". 
  21. ^ "Wolfram". 2011-04-18. 
  22. ^ Duck Duck Go, Inc.. "About Duck Duck Go". 
  23. ^ Duck Duck Go, Inc. (Jun 9, 2009). "Duck Duck Go Launches Shopping Filter". [dead link]
  24. ^ DDG Privacy
  25. ^ Mims, Christopher (July 2010). "The Search Engine Backlash Against 'Content Mills'". Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  26. ^ Weinberg, Gabriel (August 2010). "DuckDuckGo now operates a Tor exit enclave". Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  27. ^ DuckDuckGo Tools
  28. ^ DuckDuckGo (undated). "!Bang". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  29. ^ McCracken, Harry (June 2011). "Duck Duck Go, the In-N-Out Burger of Search Engines". Time Inc. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  30. ^ Holwerda, Thom (June 2011). "DuckDuckGo: The Privacy-centric Alternative to Google". OS News. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 

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Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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