There has been so much discussion over the past few year about social media and how it's influencing our lives. We talk about an echo chamber on these social platforms that only show us what we like to see, in hopes that we'll engage more.
This has brought up discussions of worry with people wondering if these tailored results are doing more harm than good. There are some platforms looking to turn away from this, but people still don't have full trust on who owns them. Does Google own DuckDuckGo the search engine? If not, who does?
Does Google own DuckDuckGo?
Ask anyone to search for something on the internet and the phrase is literally "Google it." That's how infiltrated the search engine has become into our lives and it's hard to believe anything will change that. Google, the search engine, has been around since August 1996 and there is no question that it's not the top search engine.
There are some issues people have with it — mainly the fact that it tracks what you look for and serves up an algorithm that may or may not be the same as everyone else. The worry is this creates an echo chamber, where we only hear and see things that we're used to and this can breed conspiracy theories and other dangerous phenomenon.
In an effort to offer another option for everyday people who don't want to feed into the algorithm, an alternative search engine was designed called DuckDuckGo. "The Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs," the company's website reads.
"You deserve privacy. Companies are making money off of your private information online without your consent. At DuckDuckGo, we don’t think the Internet should feel so creepy and getting the privacy you deserve online should be as simple as closing the blinds."
The company's philosophy is that no one owns your data, and what it is you search for should not be disclosed to anyone, let alone a company to profit off of it. With this in mind, the company was launched to give consumers a search engine that doesn't serve individuals results based on an algorithm. Basically, it's the opposite of the Google search engine.
But does Google own DuckDuckGo? Nope. It's not affiliated with Google and started in 2008 with a desire to give people another option. One of its first advertisements was urging people to look at Google with the slogan, “Google tracks you. We don’t,” on a billboard in San Francisco's tech-heavy SOMA district in 2011.
Google has never owned nor had any part in DuckDuckGo, but some confusion arose with Google's ownership over the domain Duck.com which, at that time, was set to redirect anyone who visited the site to Google's search engine.
"Google kindly tried to clear up this confusion in July by adding a DuckDuckGo link to the page," The Verge reported in 2018. "Visiting Duck.com now redirects users straight to DuckDuckGo." That wasn't enough for DuckDuckGo who sought to, and were successful at, purchasing the domain off Google to avoid any further confusion.
DuckDuckGo is owned by Duck Duck Go, Inc. which was started by Gabriel Weinberg.
Anyone who wants to use DuckDuckGo can be assured they're not using a Google product in doing so.