DuckDuckGo Post PRISM Spike

The implications of the PRISM surveillance system uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden have filtered into the world of search, with users a little perturbed by the alleged tracking systems in place to monitor what we’re up to on the internet. Google, Microsoft and Apple were all named as collaborators in this system, which they deny.

The implications of the PRISM surveillance system uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden have filtered into the world of search, with users a little perturbed by the alleged tracking systems in place to monitor what we're up to on the internet. Google, Microsoft and Apple were all named as collaborators in this system, which they deny.

These privacy concerns have had a spin off benefit for another search engine. DuckDuckGo has made a play on the fact that their search is 100% anonymous at all times (DDG doesn't track your IP or your search history). This has led to a pretty startling growth in usage, with searches surpassing 3 million per day for the first time.

Founder Gabriel Weinberg's take on the increase is that: 'Search data is arguably the most personal data people are entering into anything. You're typing in your problems, your desires. It's not the same as things you post publicly on a social network.'

Whilst this is a drop in the ocean compared to Google ( 1 billion searches per day), this is nevertheless an interesting trend in search. As Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land points out, big search engines such as Ask.com and Yahoo have attempted to highlight their privacy approaches in the past and failed to garner much interest from the general public.

However, the unprecedented of publicity around the PRISM revelations and the notable increase for DuckDuckGo demonstrates that some users have at least stopped to consider the implications of which search engine they use.