Can a privacy-focused search engine survive on the Internet today? It looks like it could, as DuckDuckGo looks to end 2021 with another record increase in traffic.
I’ve been following the rise of DuckDuckGo since 2012, when I announced here on this site that it was becoming my primary search engine. I had plenty of reasons for this, but privacy was the main one.
Then came PRISM, and DuckDuckGo’s traffic started to increase a lot. In 2013, traffic reached over 2 million queries per day, a small number for search engine heavyweight Google Search, but a milestone for search engine DuckDuckGo.
In 2015, DuckDuckGo reported crossing the 10 million daily searches mark, and this year (2021), it managed to cross the 100 million searches mark for the first time.
If you look at the reported traffic numbers for 2019 and 2020, you get around 15 billion queries in 2019 and 23.6 billion in 2020.
Here is the list by year from 2015 to 2020.
- 2015 — 3.1 billion
- 2016 — 4.0 billion
- 2017 — 5.9 billion
- 2018 — 9.2 billion
- 2019 — 15.0 billion
- 2020 –23.6 billion
Now, in 2021, it looks like the search engine will report another banner year. It’s mid-June right now and traffic is already at 16.0 billion queries. Six months from the end, it is very likely that the 30 billion mark will be crossed in the year and that the traffic will probably end between 32 and 34 billion requests in the year.
The search engine announcement now expects to further accelerate growth. The company plans to release its first desktop app, which it claims can be used as a primary browser. DuckDuckGo did not reveal any details about its new browser project. It is likely to be based on Chromium, but it is also possible that Firefox is its base. If the first is true, it will be interesting to see how it performs against other privacy browsers such as Brave or Vivaldi. Brave, meanwhile, is testing its own privacy-focused search engine.
Additionally, it wants to add “new privacy protections” to its portfolio of features and tools, including a “cross-platform email privacy solution” and “app tracking blocking on Android devices.” later this year to provide even more privacy services to its users. (and new ones).
DuckDuckGo has been profitable since 2014 and now generates over US$100 million in revenue.
Now you: Which search engine do you mainly use?