As we start 2018, we're proud to look back on a banner year for DuckDuckGo: 55% growth in daily private searches, $400,000 in donations to privacy organizations, new major partnerships with Samsung and Brave, and a lot of privacy education, all in service of our vision to raise the standard of trust online.
In 2017, people all over the world were greeted with nearly daily reminders in the news and elsewhere that their personal information isn't safe online. As a result, privacy continued its growing relevance among mainstream audiences and people came to DuckDuckGo in search of (pun intended!) peace of mind. Here, they found an improved search engine that kept people coming back, with a continued focus on relevancy, especially in local and news results.
These were just some of the driving factors behind our best year to date with nearly six billion private searches. That's up about 50% from four billion in 2016. 36% of all searches ever entered on DuckDuckGo in our ten-year lifespan were conducted in 2017 alone. We started last year averaging about 12 million private searches daily, and ended the year at about 19 million, an increase of about 55%, averaging over 15 million daily private searches for the year.
All this growth enabled us to support more privacy initiatives than ever before, with donations totaling $400,000 to privacy-advocacy organizations including Freedom of the Press Foundation, World Privacy Forum, Open Whisper Systems, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Tor Project, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). 2017 was our seventh year of making privacy donations, and we're already gearing up for a bigger 2018.
In 2017, we also reached two major partnerships with Samsung and Brave. DuckDuckGo is now a built-in search option within Samsung's Internet browser across all their devices, and also available as an opt-in search engine within Brave private tabs. Most people over-estimate the amount of protection private browsing provides. This Brave integration helps address a top misconception that private browsing mode automatically makes all searches private. It doesn't — you need DuckDuckGo for that!
Finally, we spent a lot of effort last year on privacy education:
- We launched this blog and put out Device Privacy Tips Guides;
- We launched a newsletter explaining privacy concepts (full content here);
- We expanded our social media efforts to bring you daily privacy tips on the major platforms.
So what lies ahead in 2018? You can of course expect more of the same: better search, more privacy donations, more partnerships, more privacy education.
In addition, and in line with our vision of raising the standard of trust online, we have some exciting updates in store for 2018 that will help you protect your privacy beyond search. We can’t wait to share them with you, so stay tuned for announcements. In the meantime, we'd like to thank you all for your continued support and feedback, and wish you a very Happy New Year!