I was helping a client understand how algorithms inform the information that you see when you do an online search with the big search engines, google, bing etc. I mentioned DuckDuckGo, and I immediately felt the side eye and pause in the conversation.
I wasn’t going mad, DuckDuckGo is a little known search engine who’s tagline is “privacy simplified”. Their whole approach is to provide an Internet search engine that protects your search privacy and avoids the filter bubble of personalised search results. In basic terms, it returns the same results to everyone who searches the same words or phrases.
Q. Did you know, based on your previous search history, the results you see will be different to someone else?
A. Yes, Every time you search, information is stored about where you have been and what you have clicked on and and an algorithm determines which websites you are more likely to visit. It’s how the big search engines make money. So how does that inform your view of the world?
DDG Growth - Up Up & Away
Now, with the media making people more aware of dark web activities, and an instilling an overall distrust of servers and big corporations, more and more people are moving over to more secure methods of what I like to call “internet travel”.
People are people, and most are unaware of the ins and outs of technology so they will often gravitate towards free solutions.
This is partially why DuckDuckGo (DDG) has experienced massive growth in the last few years. Users want to enjoy their internet travel and not worry about what corporation has stamped their virtual passport and tracked their movements.
Ducks on the Table - DDG’s Market Share
So, compared to Google, Youtube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo and a few others, DDG only occupied less than 1% of the search engine market share in 2018. So google doesn’t need to worry just yet.
However, people still use DDG to the tune of 39 million daily searches with that number set to rise.
Our society is on the cusp of a huge paradigm shift culturally (I won’t go into that too much here). With Cambridge Analytics, Collection #1 and the current POTUS we will see a shift of more people moving to these free services that allow for what’s billed as a more secure method of Internet Travel.
So why should you care?
Yes, I agree, in the big scheme of things, the number of people looking for your business on DDG may be small at the moment, but are you ready if more people move to this type of search?
It won’t matter where they have been, what interests people have or their previous purchase history. Your business will need to stand on its own against everyone else.
So with this little bit of information how are you going to prepare for a more secure world where information is restricted? Have you thought about it in the long term, did you piece together the potential trend in security and how that affects your business?
A Little "Byte"
Search Engine Global Market Share.
How many of these search engines have you heard of or used?
We all knew GDPR was coming, and yet many businesses I work with still failed to build processes and customer engagement practices to continue to build their customer lists. Pretty frustrating for many SME’s
1% at 39 Million searches isn’t much, but a 50% growth in usage is something to pay attention to. If the cultural shift continues, and people continue to look for the cheapest way to stay anonymous DDG may soon nip on the heels of the big dogs.
Something to nibble
There are other ways to secure you and your business against security threats.
Have you heard of personal Virtual Private Tunnels (VPN)?
Without a VPN, your service provider can see what your doing, where you are visiting and if asked, can hand over your information to government agencies, third parties or advertisers.
Providers like Sky broadcasting and other Internet services can limit where you visit and what services you can access.
Here’s how a VPN works in basic terms. The VPN redirects your internet traffic through a specially configured server and creates a jumping off point for all your activity. This hides your IP address and encrypts all the data that is sent or received. The encrypted data is essentially gibberish to anyone who intercepts it, making it impossible to read.
Personal VPN’s are also great for securing your data when using public WIFI networks. VPN’s add a extra layer of security to your internet travel and is worth investing in. Two great personal VPN’s are Nord VPN starting at £2.29 per month and PIA VPN for around the same price.
Now, if you have a business, and want to ensure your remote employees are secure and are applying the correct policies at the right time then it would be prudent to seek professional help from experts in their field.
I can personally recommend EPX Technical Services based in stafford for all your security and managed IT service needs. EPX have years of security experience and offer a whole range of security services to ensure you are protected. If you do contact EPX, let them know that Martyn Jennings Consulting recommended them.