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The past few months has seen a surge in the popularity of both private search engines and the best VPN services. DuckDuckGo in particular has skyrocketed to over 3 million users. The combination of points to recent Internet privacy concerns as the catalyst.
Private Search Engine Boom
Since June this year, there has been a shift in the way people are searching for information. The once popular search engines Google and Yahoo! have fallen in the ranks as the alternative search engine DuckDuckGo has enjoyed a record surge in traffic. DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that emphasizes its policy of not collecting users’ information and not recording user searches. In the last two weeks of June alone, DuckDuckGo search traffic increased by 26 per cent, pushing it above 3 million daily queries. Prior to this, the engine’s search volume had reached only 1.6 million since its launch in 2008.
Google still maintains the majority search volume with over 5 million queries per day. But the remarkable surge in DuckDuckGo traffic could continue as Internet users grow more cautious about online privacy. DuckDuckGo understands users concerns about not wanting to be tracked. They knew this long before news of massive surveillance and user tracking hit the press in the middle of this year. Once the public was awakened to the realities of online communications and traffic monitoring, people began to make the switch to private services that gave them real privacy.
DuckDuckGo is the most popular alternative to Google and other big search engines because it provides quality results. What DuckDuckGo does is to allow Google database searches while preventing user tracking. The search engine takes a user’s query and searches Google separately for the results. The results are then fed to the user anonymously. The search is completely disconnected from the user so that there is no information that can tie a user to a search. Anyone trying to infiltrate DuckDuckGo will not be able to get users’ full profiles. DuckDuckGo must comply with any court ordered requests for data, but they do not expect this to happen because they do not store any relevant data.
Best VPN Services Spike
At the same time that DuckDuckGo experienced the unprecedented boom in search volume, the best VPN services also saw a spike in VPN usage and signups. Like DuckDuckGo, these best VPNs individually confirmed that they recorded exceptional increases in demand for services. Users all over the world were sending a large volume of requests for information, service connection, and service upgrades from the best VPNs.
VPNs have long been blacklisted in many countries as tools that online criminals use to hide behind. They have been used by online pirates to evade detection by the copyright police. They are used by hackers and scammers who want to hide their tracks. It is true that even the best VPNs have been used for devious purposes. But they have many other uses that they are only now becoming more well-known for. But in the past few months, VPNs have become known as online privacy tools and Internet traffic anonymizers.
Other VPN services have also reported increases in requests for information about VPNs and how they work. Security experts have long promoted VPNs as tools for online security, and many of the inquiries revolve around the relationship between online security and privacy. The answer to this lies in encryption. To put it simply, data and traffic encryption work together to secure users’ identities and data to achieve both. Encrypting data prevents other people from intercepting, reading, and modifying data. Encrypting traffic works to prevent user tracking that can lead to user profiling and identity theft. As more and more Internet users become informed of the options that are available to them, it is predicted that they will turn to anonymization services for protection. And as VPNs are getting recognition as effective tools, the increase in VPN use is likely to continue.
How Google knows what you are searching for