DuckDuckGo: The private search engine

September 11th, 2010 § 0 comments

So. DuckDuckGo. A hybrid search engine. This one though, doesn’t collect personal data. Which many people would say is A Good Thing.

What DuckDuckGo also does is prevent what they call ‘search leakage‘…

At other search engines, when you do a search and then click on a link, your search terms are sent to that site you clicked on (in the HTTP referrer header). We call this sharing of personal information “search leakage.”

For example, when you search for something private, you are sharing that private search not only with your search engine, but also with all the sites that you clicked on (for that search).

In addition, when you visit any site, your computer automatically sends information about it to that site (including your User agent and IP address). This information can often be used to identify you directly.

So when you do that private search, not only can those other sites know your search terms, but they can also know that you searched it. It is this combination of available information about you that raises privacy concerns.

Because DuckDuckGo prevents ‘search leakage’, by redirecting your click on a result in a way…

…that it does not send your search terms to other sites. The other sites will still know that you visited them, but they will not know what search you entered beforehand.

No information about your computer is sent to the site you click on via a DuckDuckGo search. Not even the search terms. The very thing that tells you in your analytics package what someone was looking for.

This could present a problem for Search Engine Optimisers/Marketers if this type of ethos gains traction*. Not being able to tell what operating system someone was using when they landed on your site is one thing, but not knowing what someone was looking for when they got there is another.

*I don’t think it will as the money to be made from this information is too great an opportunity to pass up for some people.
**Discovered via Tygerland.

Tagged , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What's this?

You are currently reading DuckDuckGo: The private search engine at Sim-O.