There’s more and more attention being paid to “footprints” we leave when searching websites.  Many consumers are using the “Do Not Track” option on their computer’s browser.  However, consumers have to take the time to do so since “Do Not Track” is not the automatic default.  Also, the “Do Not Track” option, while helpful, only works if the website visited honors the “Do Not Track” setting.

So I want to share another search engine option with you.  Many of you may have already heard of it but I wanted to tell you about it so you can explore it for yourself.

This option is the DuckDuckGo search engine (www.duckduckgo.com).  I haven’t used it so this isn’t an endorsement.  However, it has gotten a good deal of coverage so I wanted to learn more about it.  I went to the DuckDuckGo website and did read some of the more recent articles about it (e.g., October 2012 article in The Washington Post).

What makes DuckDuckGo different than other search engines?  It says it doesn’t track users at all — that “Do Not Track” is it’s default setting. While other search engines will send searches people make to other 3rd party sites, DuckDuckGo says it doesn’t do this.

It also says it doesn’t store people’s personal information. This is important for the “filter bubble” problem.  When consumers search the Internet, the results will differ person to person.  Why?  Because the search engines will pull up results based on consumers’ search history, e.g., the “footprints” left on the Internet. So the results shown will be “filtered” based on each person’s search and/or the “click/like” history. Consumers can’t break out of this “filter bubble” in order to get all, not just some, of the available information about their search request.

As I said, I haven’t used DuckDuckGo but am intrigued by their claims since they sound very privacy enhancing.  I’m going to sign up for the “one week trial” offer to see how I like DuckDuckGo.  I’ll do a follow-up blog after doing so.