Y0ur P@ssw0rd S*cks is a bi-weekly column that answers the most pressing internet security questions web_crawlr readers have to make sure they can navigate the ‘net safely. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
Today, web_crawlr reader Cat R. asks: “Do browsers like DuckDuckGo really keep my online browsing and surfing safer?”
It’s not surprising that Google has taken the top spot. In my opinion, its search engine works the best in finding relevant content, and I still use it on a daily basis.
DuckDuckGo, as well as a handful of other privacy-focused search engines, promises to let you search just like you do with Google but without all the added baggage.
How does DuckDuckGo actually work?
So how does DuckDuckGo actually work? DuckDuckGo works similarly to Google but pledges to keep your searches private, meaning it won’t link your searches to an account or IP address. DuckDuckGo also offers a browser that enables ad-blocking and other features.
But where does DuckDuckGo get its search results from? Believe it or not, DuckDuckGo relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine to deliver its results. In fact, the company found itself in hot water after researchers found Microsoft tracking scripts while using DuckDuckGo in 2022.
The CEO later explained in a post on Reddit that they are contractually restricted by Microsoft from stopping all of their trackers. Later that year, DuckDuckGo announced that it would further restrict Microsoft’s trackers.
So at the end of the day, is DuckDuckGo worth it? In reality, it’s the very fact that Google collects so much data about you that makes its search engine so good.
You can always use an adblocker, a VPN, and other tools and still use Google. But if privacy is your biggest concern, using DuckDuckGo is definitely a better option than Google.
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