DuckDuckGo was founded by Gabriel Weinberg,
an entrepreneur whose last venture, The Names Database
, was acquired by United Online
in 2006 for $10 million.
Initially self-funded by Weinberg, DuckDuckGo is now advertising-supported.
The search engine is written in Perl
and runs on nginx
DuckDuckGo is built primarily upon search APIs
from various vendors. Because
of this, TechCrunch
characterized the service as a "hybrid" search engine.
At the same time, it produces its own content pages, and thus is similar to Mahalo
The name of the search engine has been called "silly" by Frederic Lardinois of Read Write Web
Weinberg explained the beginnings of the name with respect to the children's game duck, duck, goose
. He said of the origin of the name, "Really 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."
DuckDuckGo has been featured on TechCrunch
Elevator Pitch Friday
and it was a finalist in the
We didn’t invest in it because we thought it would beat Google. We invested in it because there is a need for a private search engine. We did it for the Internet anarchists, people
that hang out on Reddit
and Hacker News
In July 2010, Weinberg started a DuckDuckGo community website to allow the public to report problems, discuss means of spreading the use of the search engine, request features, and discuss open
sourcing the code.
In September 2011 DuckDuckGo hired its first employee, Caine Tighe.
The next month, 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."
In addition, Trisquel
and the Midori
web browser switched to use DuckDuckGo as their default search engine.
By May 2012, the search engine was attracting 1.5 million searches a day. Weinberg reported that it had earned US$115,000
in revenue in 2011 and had
three employees, plus a small number of contractors. Compete.com
monthly visitors to the site in August 2012.
On April 12, 2011, Alexa
reported a 3-month growth rate of 51%.
DuckDuckGo's own traffic statistics show that in August 2012 there were 1,393,644 visits per day, up from an average of
39,406 visits per day in April 2010 (the earliest data available).
In a lengthy profile in November 2012, the Washington Post
indicated that searches on
DuckDuckGo numbered up to 45,000,000 per month in October 2012. The article concluded "Weinberg's non-ambitious goals make him a particularly odd and dangerous competitor online. He can do almost
everything that Google
can’t because it could
damage their business models, and if users figure out that they like the DuckDuckGo way better, Weinberg could damage the big boys without even really trying. It's asymmetrical digital warfare,
and his backers at Union Square Ventures say Google is vulnerable."
replaced Google Search with DuckDuckGo as the default search engine in Web
, the default GNOME web browser, starting with version 3.10, which was released on September 26,
At its keynote at WWDC 2014, Apple announced that DuckDuckGo would be included as an option for search
on both iOS 8
and OS X Yosemite
On March 10, 2014 the Pale Moon
web browser, starting with version 24.4.0, included
DuckDuckGo as its default search engine as at its homepage.
May 2014 redesign
In May 2014, DuckDuckGo released a redesigned version to beta testers through DuckDuckHack.
On 21 May 2014, DuckDuckGo officially released the redesigned version that focused on smarter answers and a more refined
look. The new version added many new features such as images, local search, auto-suggest, weather, recipes and more.
This section requires expansion.
DuckDuckGo's results are a compilation of "about 50" sources,
including Yahoo! Search
; Wolfram Alpha
; its own Web crawler
, the DuckDuckBot
It also uses data from crowdsourced
sites, including Wikipedia, to populate "Zero-click Info" boxes – grey boxes
above the results that display topic summaries and related topics.
offers the ability to show mostly shopping sites or mostly info (non-shopping) websites via search buttons on its home
Weinberg has refined the quality of his search engine results by deleting search results for companies he believes are content mills
, like Demand Media
, which publishes 4000 articles per day produced by paid freelance writers, which Weinberg says is, "...low-quality content designed specifically to rank highly in Google's search
index." DuckDuckGo also filters pages with substantial advertising.
In August 2010, DuckDuckGo introduced anonymous searching, including an exit enclave, for its search engine traffic using
and enabling access through a Tor hidden
This allows anonymity by routing traffic through a series of encrypted relays. Weinberg stated: "I believe this fits right in
In 2011, DuckDuckGo introduced voice search for users of the Google Chrome
's voice search
DuckDuckGo includes "!Bang" commands, which give users the ability to redirect a search to specific websites.
In a June 2011 article, Harry McCracken of Time Magazine
commended 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 DuckDuckGo...is really good at bringing back useful sites. It all feels meaty and straightforward and
McCracken also included
the site in the Time
list of "50 Best Websites of 2011".
Thom Holwerda, who reviewed the search engine for OSNews
, praised its privacy features and shortcuts to site-specific searches as
well as criticizing Google for, "...track[ing] pretty much everything you do", particularly because of the risk of such information being subject to a U.S. government subpoena.
In 2012, in response to accusations that it was a
identified DuckDuckGo as a competitor. Weinberg was reportedly "pleased and entertained" by that
In June 2013, DuckDuckGo indicated that it had seen a significant traffic increase; according to the website's Twitter account, on Monday June 17, 2013, it had three million daily direct
searches. In all of May 2013 it had 1.8 million direct searches. Some
this claim to the exposure of PRISM
and to the fact that other programs operated
by the National Security Agency
(NSA) were leaked by Edward Snowden
. Danny Sullivan
wrote on Search Engine Land
that despite the search engine's growth "it's not grown anywhere near the amount to reflect any substantial
or even mildly notable switching by the searching public" for reasons due to privacy, and he concluded "No One Cares About "Private" Search".
In response, Caleb Garling of the San Francisco Chronicle
argued "I think this thesis suffers from a few key failures in logic" because a traffic increase had occurred and because there was a
lack of widespread awareness of the existence of DuckDuckGo.
September 2013, the search engine hit 4 million searches per day.
On November 11 of 2014, more than 8 million searches were performed in a single day.
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