Home Technology Top Stories Business Most Featured Sports Social Issues Animals News Fashion Crypto Featured Music & Pop Culture Travel & Tourism

DuckDuckGo's 15th Anniversary: 15 Must Know Facts About This Search Engine

Author Avatar
By Brennan Forrest - - 5 Mins Read
Photo | Shutterstock

In 2008, DuckDuckGo Search engine began in a basement in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, as an alternative to Google. Initially, growth was slow, with the founder working solo, building the search engine and gathering feedback. This was even before people fully grasped the extent of online surveillance.


In 2011, DuckDuckGo browser gained traction, prompting the formation of a dedicated team. The company's vision was clear: to raise trust standards on the internet. Fifteen years later, DuckDuckGo stands as a rare tech success story - a profitable company that safeguards user privacy instead of exploiting it.


Privacy matters to people. According to Forrester, 87% of US online adults use privacy or security tools while browsing. DuckDuckGo's journey started as a search engine but evolved into a free browser for mobile and desktop. It comes with a private search engine and over a dozen tracking protections, some exclusive to DuckDuckGo. All this, combined with a promise in their Privacy Policy - they won't track you.


The seamless user experience of DuckDuckGo makes privacy easy. No technical know-how or complicated settings are needed — just switch to DuckDuckGo on all your devices.


Simplicity drives DuckDuckGo's mission. Their browser and extensions have been downloaded over 250 million times. This has propelled them to the #2 spot in mobile market share and #3 overall in the US and over 20 other major markets worldwide. In three years, over 100 billion private searches were made on DuckDuckGo.


There's a growing demand for privacy-focused alternatives to Google, but switching can be challenging. DuckDuckGo believes they could be even more significant if it weren't for Google's anti-competitive tactics. Regardless, in an era of increasing data exploitation by big tech companies, DuckDuckGo remains committed to being the "easy button" for privacy.


Online tracking can be annoying. You search for a product, and suddenly ads chase you everywhere. DuckDuckGo steps in as your ally, promising to keep your searches anonymous and shield you from online tracking. It's not the only player in the privacy game, but it sees itself as a direct competitor to Google, offering a mobile app and browser extensions for various platforms.


In a world where data privacy is paramount, DuckDuckGo's popularity has surged. After incidents like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, more people want to protect their personal information. In fact, between July 2020 and June 2021, DuckDuckGo's app was downloaded over 50 million times - more than all previous years combined since its launch in 2008.

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine available as a mobile browser app and a desktop extension. Its aim is simple: browse the internet without companies harvesting your data. DuckDuckGo guarantees private, anonymous searches and built-in tracker blocking to conceal your online activities.


DuckDuckGo's logo and search engine displayed on a desktop and a smartphone screen respectively
Photo | Shutterstock


15 DuckDuckFacts for 15 years of DuckDuckGo

As DuckDuck browser turns 15 years old, we're happy to share with you 15 cool things about the company:


  1. Independence from the Start: Since its inception in 2008, DuckDuckGo has remained an independent company.


  1. Family Involvement: The company's original logo was created by the founder's sister and was later refined by his wife before the launch. The iconic duck mascot featured in their logo goes by the name Dax Brown.


  1. Humble Beginnings: In the early days, DuckDuckGo operated from the founder's basement, where the servers that powered the search engine were also maintained.


  1. Run-ins with the FBI: During the initial web crawling days, the founder had an unexpected visit from the FBI because the search engine had crawled a site they were monitoring.


  1. Innovators in Search: DuckDuckGo has been a pioneer in search innovations, with several of its features, such as Instant Answers, favicons next to results, infinite scroll, default encrypted search, and more, being adopted by Google and other search engines.


  1. Search Bangs: DuckDuckGo introduced search bangs, which are shortcuts that swiftly take users to search results on other websites. For instance, typing "!w mallard" directly leads you to the Wikipedia page for mallards.


  1. Privacy-First Testing: The company has developed methods to test and enhance its products while preserving user privacy. This includes anonymous split testing and displaying local results.


  1. Extensive Codebase: DuckDuckGo boasts over 1 million lines of active code, much of which is open source.


  1. Profitable since 2014: DuckDuckGo achieved profitability in 2014 through private search ads, which are based on the search results page users are viewing rather than personal user data.


  1. Advocates for Digital Rights: The company has been a prominent advocate for digital rights for over a decade, contributing to initiatives like the Global Privacy Control standard and supporting organizations with millions of dollars in donations.


  1. Blocked in China: DuckDuckGo has been inaccessible in China since 2014.


  1. Domain Dispute with Google: The company had to persuade Google to relinquish the domain duck.com after years of confusion. This misunderstanding led to the false rumor that DuckDuckGo was owned by Google.


  1. Distributed Team: DuckDuckGo's team has been fully distributed from the beginning, with "headquarters" in Paoli, Pennsylvania, though the majority of the team members and users are located outside the U.S.


  1. Unique Work Policy: The company has a distinct policy of not holding any meetings on Wednesdays, fostering a unique, fully remote work culture.


  1. Growing Team: With approximately 250 people on board, DuckDuckGo continues to expand its team, all dedicated to building the "easy button" for privacy.



In celebrating DuckDuckGo's 15th birthday, we've revealed 15 amazing facts about this privacy-focused search engine and browser that has swept the internet by rejecting the trend of data exploitation; DuckDuckGo's rise from a basement startup to a competitive digital competitor demonstrates a dedication to preserving user privacy.


Despite opposition from powerful competitors, DuckDuckGo is persistent in its commitment to serve as the "easy button" for privacy. The company's dedication to user security, tracker blocking, and anonymity shows a deeper appreciation for the value of online privacy in the modern world.


The growing importance of data privacy has led to a surge in popularity for DuckDuckGo, as millions of users have turned to its app and browser extensions. DuckDuckGo's 15-year history is a shining example of independence, innovation, and advocacy for digital rights. It demonstrates the power of clarity, simplicity, and a steadfast belief that privacy is a fundamental right in the digital age. We extend our congratulations to DuckDuckGo for 15 years of pioneering privacy protection!