DuckDuckGo’s New Video Targets Google’s “Filter Bubble” Of Personalized Results

duckduckgo-logoDuckDuckGo’s ongoing mission to challenge Google (and other search engines, but mainly Google) on privacy issues has taken another turn with the recent launch of a video that accuses Google of putting searchers in a “bubble” of personalized results.

The video hits on a few of DuckDuckGo’s consistent talking points in its ongoing battle to educate searchers on privacy issues and, more specifically, what it considers to be the benefits of using its own search engine instead of Google. Almost two years ago, DuckDuckGo launched, a website that details how Google tracks its users and how DuckDuckGo doesn’t.

As TPM reported today, DuckDuckGo recently did a small study with 131 volunteers, asking them to search for three current U.S. political terms — “abortion,” “gun control” and “Obama” — and then comparing the results. The results are highlighted in DuckDuckGo’s new video.

“Filter bubble” is a term that author Eli Pariser coined in his book of the same name last year. Pariser keynoted our SMX East 2011 conference; you can read a recap of that here: SMX East Keynote: A Conversation With Eli Pariser.

DuckDuckGo’s usage is a tiny fraction of the major search engines, but it’s gaining traction. The site’s public traffic page shows that it’s currently getting about 1.3 to 1.4 million searches per day.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | DuckDuckGo | Google: Personalized Search | Google: Web Search | Search Features: Search History & Personalization


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Tyler Herrick

    I personally can’t stand DuckDuckGo, it makes me think “Why use a graphing calculator when you can use an abacus!” Well yeah, sure it works, but why would I switch from results that are relevant to me, to being non-relevant to me?

  • Matt McGee

    If you don’t like it, you don’t use it – pretty simple. I’m actually about 4 days in to testing it as my primary search engine and am relatively pleased with the results. It’s not at all bad for a one-man company. :-)

  • Tyler Herrick

    True, and that’s what I love about the internet; that a different choice is a click away. However in an interconnected world that is clearly moving towards personalization, It’s worth noting that nothing can be equally important to all people. Granted, there are probably tons of opportunities where DuckDuckGo or Bing or even Ask gets it right in certain situations. The general philosophy being though, that I want a service that can sift through the millions of results and give me the most accurate and relevant answer to my query.

    “At Google, relevance is a religion. The Golden Triangle is sacred. Nothing can appear here if it’s not, in Google’s judgment, absolutely relevant to the user. Both Yahoo and Microsoft said similar things, but in each case, the importance of relevance was always counterbalanced with other factors. At Google, relevance is the only thing that mattered. Everything else took a backseat to it.” (via

    I think it’s great that we can have both sides of the privacy spectrum; I just wonder why someone would choose something inherently not tailored to them. With a simple keystroke in Chrome you can instantly drop your personalization (Ctrl+Shift+N).

  • Matt McGee

    Tyler – I would suggest that someone concerned about Google and privacy is probably not using Chrome in the first place. :-)

  • Kenneth von Rauch

    I really think that Google needs a strong competitor. I’m getting sick how they do business. Gonna use Duckduckgo as my default search engine :)

  • Chris Green

    Having finished Pariser’s book recently I would recommend that those interested in the filter bubble debate have a read. Duckduckgo do present an alternative of sorts, however it is still small steps at this stage.

  • sarrah miller

    I personally use AOL

    I am very disappointed in google for about 3-4 months.

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