Pa. search engine benefits from Google privacy spotlight

    Duck Duck Go, a search engine that doesn’t store a user’s search history or IP addresses, has experienced a boost in visitors since Google announced its new privacy policy, which took effect last week.

    Valley Forge-based founder Gabriel Weinberg said the combination of a Duck Duck Go redesign and the start of Google’s new policy has doubled the search engine’s traffic in the past two months.

    “There was a lot of press around Google’s changes and we were mentioned a lot,” Weinberg said. “I think that had a lot to do with it.”

    Weinberg moved operations out of his basement and into an office in Paoli in December, and now has the equivalent of five full-time employees.

    In January, Google announced it would place all of its services under one privacy policy. That means the company can combine information from smartphones, email, YouTube and search history, and use that information to target ads.

    Barry Schwartz, editor of the site Search Engine Land, said he expects the interest in search engines such as Duck Duck Go is driven more by media mentions than true privacy concerns.

    “I think if you go ahead and ask (Weinberg) in, I don’t know, three months from now, if things have leveled off and went back to the way they were, I’d assume he’d say yes,” Schwartz said.

    For all the coverage the search behemoth’s changes received, Schwartz said he has seen very little concern among average Google users.

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