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Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo saw record growth in 2021

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo was used for more than 34.8 billion queries in 2021—up more than 47 percent from the previous year—according to its traffic statistics, signaling that many internet users are prioritizing tools that don’t siphon data.  

DuckDuckGo made a name for itself as a search engine without the same tracking mechanisms as competitors, but expanded into other products—including apps and extensions aimed at a more private online browsing experience—in recent years. The company is planning to expand its offerings to include a browser app for desktop users.

In a blog post published earlier this month, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg said the company’s privacy apps and extensions have been downloaded more than 150 million times since 2018. 

Weinberg also revealed a preview of a planned DuckDuckGo desktop browser app in the post.

“It's not a ‘privacy browser’; it's an everyday browsing app that respects your privacy because there's never a bad time to stop companies from spying on your search and browsing history,” Weinberg wrote. 

Google, which relies on user data for its vast and lucrative advertising business, dominates both the search and browser markets. As of November 2021, StatCounter reports that Google controls 91.4% of the global search market, versus the 0.66% using sixth ranked DuckDuckDuckGo. In the same period, Google Chrome controlled 64.06% of the global browser market, per StatCounter. 

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson (they/them) is a longtime cybersecurity journalist who cut their teeth covering technology policy at ThinkProgress (RIP) and The Washington Post before doing deep-dive public records investigations at the Project on Government Oversight and American Oversight.

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