How Does DuckDuckGo Know Where I Am?

Filed under DuckDuckGo Q&A

Searching the web with DuckDuckGo is completely anonymous; we simply never collect or share any personal information, in line with our strict privacy policy. For example, we don’t store IP addresses or any other unique identifiers in our server logs. As a result, we don’t even have the ability to create search histories or sessions for any individual. It’s privacy by design.

You might find it curious, then, that we are able to serve you localized results, such as the weather. I’d like to briefly explain how we can do this without tracking you!

Screenshot of localized weather results from DuckDuckGo.

When you hit the search button, your computer sends your search request to us. In that request, your computer embeds additional information. For example, if you opt-in to location sharing for a site, this information includes your approximate location. And even if you don’t, your request includes your IP address, and an approximate location can be inferred from it, though it isn’t always accurate.

What we do is read that embedded information, use the location contained within it to display the weather or other local information requested, and then immediately throw it away — without storing any of your personal information. In that way, we can serve localized results (weather, restaurants, maps, etc.) without tracking you. For all the nitty-gritty technical details, check out our help page.

Our mission is to set a new standard of trust online, and by improving your online experience while at the same time keeping it completely anonymous, we're demonstrating that you don't need to sacrifice convenience for online privacy. We’re proud to have a profitable business model for a web-based business without making your personal information the product. Contrast that with Google, who is trying to track everything you do, including your location, even when you tell them to stop!

For more privacy advice, follow us on Twitter & get our privacy crash course.

How Does DuckDuckGo Know Where I Am?
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