DuckDuckGo’s Popularity Exploded In 2013 Following The NSA/PRISM Leaks


See that graph up there? Thats a chart of how many queries the privacy-minded search engine DuckDuckGo has seen each day since early 2010.

See that massive growth near the end? That’s when details of the NSA’s PRISM program first leaked. Pretty much overnight, DuckDuckGo more than doubled its traffic.

I don’t think there’s a better way to portray the sudden and massive surge in the public’s desire for Internet privacy than that graph and the accompanying stats. The month before Snowden’s revelations, DuckDuckGo saw 54.4 million requests. The month after, it saw 105.6 million. Incredible.

Wondering what the heck DuckDuckGo is? That’s okay. But once you know, be sure to tell your friends.

DuckDuckGo is sometimes portrayed as the “anti-Google”, but that’s not quite right. It’s more like bizarro-world Google. It looks similar, it acts similar — but in the end, it has totally different motives. DuckDuckGo aims to offer up the simplicity and functionality of the big search engines, minus all the creepy tracking stuff. The company outlines everything they do/don’t store right here, but most importantly: it doesn’t use tracking cookies, and it doesn’t save a record of your IP.
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All in all, DuckDuckGo’s total search count for 2013 came in at just over 1 billion – more than double what it saw in 2012.

There’s still room to grow, though — lots, and lots of room. Even after their monstrous mid-year spike, DuckDuckGo’s numbers are a tiny drop in the worlds biggest bucket when put up against the likes of giants. Google pulled in over 1.2 trillion searches in 2012, for example. That’s 3.2 billion searches, or roughly 3X all of DuckDuckGo’s annual traffic, each day.

DuckDuckGo last raised money ($3M) at the end of 2011, long before Edward Snowden was a household name. With these numbers and the ever-growing demand for privacy online, raising another round would probably be like a walk in the park.