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DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg talks privacy and open source

duckduckgo gabriel weinberg interview privacy open source

The man behind the privacy-focused search engine talks about the benefits of privacy in web search and explains why he recently donated $125,000 to open source projects.


Recently, DuckDuckGo, the Internet search company with a focus on privacy, donated $125,000 towards open source projects. This made me realize that I knew next to nothing about the DuckDuckGo founder, Gabriel Weinberg.

So I emailed the man a few questions. By the time I woke up the next morning, I had answers from him waiting in my inbox. Here are his (unedited) responses provided with absolutely zero commentary from me.

Bryan: Give me the elevator pitch. Put another way: How do you convince people of the value of DuckDuckGo in as short a time as possible?

Gabriel: You can switch your search engine to DuckDuckGo today and get both great results and great privacy. We have everything you expect without all the tracking that leads to all those ads that follow you around the Internet. We focus on an overall better search experience with smarter instant answers, less clutter, and real privacy.

Bryan: Both Firefox and Safari have made DuckDuckGo a search option, and you recently crossed the 9 million searches per day line. Do you foresee that rapid growth in search traffic slowing at all?

Gabriel: We think that people generally do not want to be tracked, and if they can get both a great experience and great privacy then they will make the switch. We offer that alternative in search.

Pew recently released a new survey that shows significantly more behavior change with regards to online privacy, indicating many more users looking for privacy based alternatives.

While it is difficult to forecast future growth, all the signals look good. Our main issue is getting the word out about our existence.

Bryan: Some companies (which will remain nameless) began in search and then branched out into everything from operating systems to social networks. Does DuckDuckGo have similar world domination plans?

Gabriel: We have no such plans at the moment. We're a small company with limited resources focused on making search better.

Bryan: DuckDuckGo recently donated $125k to open source projects. That's no small chunk of change. What prompted you to make this donation instead of, say, hire another full time developer?

Gabriel: We've actually been making donations to free and open source projects for the past five years. The motivation is straight forward: since we rely on a lot of great free and open-source projects to run our company, it makes sense to contribute and help these projects grow and flourish.

We donate a much as we can, and since we've grown we've been able to donate more. We plan to continue to do these donations every year.

Bryan: As the leader of one of the most prominent privacy-focused companies out there... I have to ask: What Operating System and web browser do you use?

Gabriel: OS X with GPG tools. Safari & Firefox with Privacy Badger & HTTPS Everywhere.

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