Google’s status as the internet’s most-used search engine is nothing new. Over the years, the tech giant has come out on top over Yahoo, Bing, and even long-forgotten competitors such as Ask Jeeves. For all its helpful search features and its wide network of Google-branded software and services, it’s clear to see why Google has dominated in the top spot for so long. But now there’s a new kid on the block, so to speak: DuckDuckGo. Google might be more popular, but when it comes to DuckDuckGo vs Google, which offers more security and which offers more features for everyday use? Let’s dive deep to find some answers.
DuckDuckGo vs Google Explained
Below, we will put DuckDuckGo and Google head-to-head in an attempt to determine which is safer and which is better for everyday use. Beyond security and features, we’ll take a look at things like individual specs, the pros, and cons of each site, the similarities and differences between the two search engines, and how each handles privacy and censorship. We’ll start with a side-by-side comparison of specs, then go from there.
DuckDuckGo vs Google: Side by Side Comparison
|Launch Date||September 25th, 2008||September 4th, 1998|
|Headquarters||Paoli, Pennsylvania||Mountain View, California|
|Founder(s)||Gabriel Weinberg||Larry Page, Sergey Brin|
|Employees||Approx. 150||Approx. 140,000|
|Daily Searches||More than 100 million||More than 5.5 billion|
|Annual Revenue||$100 million (2020)||$256.7 billion (2021)|
DuckDuckGo vs Google: What Are the Differences?
The similarities between DuckDuckGo and Google are pretty clear to see. Both are search engines, and both make their money off of ads and affiliates. But we’re not here to discuss similarities. We’re here to explore the differences and distinctions between the two (and their respective pros and cons).
Judging by the specs, it’s clear that Google has far more employees, daily searches, and revenue to report annually. Google also has a whole suite of features and services that DuckDuckGo can’t compete with at this point in time. This includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, and the like. These are some of Google’s most distinctive accomplishments. No one else in the industry can even come close to comparing. There are both pros and cons to this kind of status. (And, as a matter of fact, some of those cons are pretty significant.)
See, the key difference between DuckDuckGo and Google has to do with security and censorship. DuckDuckGo prioritizes security and does away with censorship, while Google sacrifices security in exchange for censorship and — most importantly — profit. Both earn the bulk of their revenue from advertising. The difference is that DuckDuckGo does not base its advertisements on targeted data obtained through less-than-ethical practices like certain other search engines. DuckDuckGo’s entire mission statement as a search engine is to keep user data private and do away with personalized search results to keep the search engine totally anonymous. Some might prefer Google’s personalized results, even knowing that they’re choosing to sacrifice safety and privacy for the convenience of personalized results. However, anyone with an understanding of how invasive some other search engines can be will likely opt for DuckDuckGo every time.
DuckDuckGo vs Google: 5 Must-Know Facts
- DuckDuckGo is currently the second most-used mobile search engine in North America, second only to Google.
- DuckDuckGo excludes content farms and clickbait sites from its search results.
- Advertisements on DuckDuckGo come from search keywords and terms, unlike Google, which targets users with advertisements based on your search history, browser activity, personal location, and even your online purchases. For this reason, advertising on DuckDuckGo is as much as ten times cheaper.
- Google has faced as much as $5 billion in lawsuits over its tracking of private internet user data.
- Google is notorious for collecting data on practically everything you do on their site, from scanning the emails in your Gmail inbox to tracking where you go on Google Maps to listening to what you say far longer than necessary when using Google Assistant. DuckDuckGo does none of this.
History of DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo was founded by Gabriel Weinberg, an entrepreneur who was no stranger to internet startups. Prior to DuckDuckGo, he had tried and failed to launch a social network called Names Database. He launched DuckDuckGo in the fall of 2008 and actually self-funded the site for several years. Then, come 2011, Weinberg opted to bring a few angel investors into the fold (namely Union Square Ventures, among others.) While DuckDuckGo had some followers in those early years, it wasn’t until these investors hopped on that the site truly began to soar. From then on, several sites and services began switching to DuckDuckGo for their default engine. This included Trisquel, Linux Mint, Midori, and more.
By the spring of 2012, DuckDuckGo was bringing in more than 1.5 million daily searches. Weinberg himself claimed that the site had brought in over $115,000 in annual revenue the year before. With just three employees and a small group of contractors, the site’s ability to become profitable so quickly is truly remarkable. The key to this profit is in private advertisements and partnerships with DuckDuckGo affiliates (compare this to Google, whose profit derives from targeted ads).
A couple of years later, in 2014, DuckDuckGo grew even bigger. It began with a massive redesign in the spring of that year, with DuckDuckGo now leaning into smarter, safer searches with a nice, clean look. Additionally, the search engine could now deliver images, local searches, auto-suggestions, weather reports, step-by-step recipes, and more. From there, DuckDuckGo was legitimized by some of the biggest tech titans like Apple and Mozilla, who included the search engine in their list of default search engine options.
By 2016, DuckDuckGo had formed a solid partnership with Yahoo. This allowed DuckDuckGo to make even more improvements to its search, with new features such as date filtering and improved links now integrated into the engine. This year also saw DuckDuckGo strengthening bonds with Bing and Wikipedia, among others. This further solidified its status as a legitimate search engine that takes its users’ privacy very seriously. Their success proved that you didn’t have to disclose users’ private information to third parties in order to make a profit — a seriously effective counter-argument to Google’s main business model.
As the years went on, DuckDuckGo only continued to get better (and more popular). Another revitalization of the site came in early 2018, and by 2021, over 100 million searches were taking place on the site each day.
While DuckDuckGo has shown a lot of promise to a lot of people, Google is still far and away the most popular search engine on the internet. This doesn’t automatically mean that Google is superior, though. It seems like it really boils down to features and seniority. Google had grown and boomed for an entire decade before DuckDuckGo emerged. They continued to do so while the new kid on the block dealt with various kinks and bugs.
What’s more, Google offers far more features than DuckDuckGo at this point in time. Software such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar all play a vital role in many users’ daily online activity. DuckDuckGo just doesn’t have any software that compares to Google’s, making it impossible for them to compete in this regard. It’s a real underdog scenario. Google might dominate as the world’s most-used search engine today, but there’s a reality where DuckDuckGo comes out on top eventually.
DuckDuckGo vs. Google: Which is Safer, and Which is Better for Everyday Use?
While Google is far and away the most popular and most untouchable search engine on the internet, they aren’t necessarily the best. For all the tracking they do, for all the data they sell, and for all the privacy they invade, Google is quickly losing more and more of the public’s trust with each new day. DuckDuckGo is far safer than Google (and proud of it, too). By refusing to personalize searches, making it a priority to protect users’ safety, and doing away with the kind of ad-based censorship that pushes certain results higher or lower on Google’s results, DuckDuckGo wins the prize for safest search engine by a significant margin.
As far as which is better for everyday use? Well, it really depends on what you do on a daily basis. If Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Maps, and other Google software play an important part in your day-to-day, then it’s obvious you’re stuck with Google until DuckDuckGo creates its own software suite. If you don’t need any of these features, then DuckDuckGo is your best bet for everyday use.