After becoming increasingly popular as a privacy-oriented search engine—now the new default for iOS8—DuckDuckGo has been blocked by China
DuckDuckGo may remain in Google’s shadow as far as numbers go, but they’ve joined the search engine giant and many others recently, in the “blocked by China” club. On Sunday Gabriel Weinberg, the founder and CEO of DuckDuckGo, confirmed suspicions that the budding search engine has been blocked from being accessed from within China. He added that he has “no idea” why it happened.
Tests on Great Fire, a site that pings a range of URLs on a regular basis to gauge whether or not they are blocked, suggest that the site was first blocked around September 4th and remains inaccessible in China.
In 2013 DuckDuckGo surpassed 1 billion searches and continued to become an increasingly popular choice for searchers over the past 18 months. The company has established itself as the new alternative to Google, offering more privacy-oriented searching. In other words, they won’t track you. Earlier this summer it was announced that Apple would be adding the search engine as the default for Safari in the new version of Mac OS X “Yosemite” and iOS8, which premiered this month. It is thought that this boost in popularity could have been the cause for DuckDuckGo having been blocked—or maybe China just didn’t like the idea of a search engine that featured privacy as it’s main selling point.
It is still unclear what portion of the search engine’s business came from the China, but most pundits agree it wasn’t a dominant percentage. So despite the fact that iOS8 users in China won’t be able to make it their default search engine, it doesn’t look like DuckDuckGo will be largely affected by the block.
Chinese search engines Baidu and Qihoo currently dominate the market in the region and outsiders Bing and Yahoo have yet to be blocked by China. Bing and Yahoo happen to be the only major foreign search engines with Chinese servers, presumably subjecting themselves to far more governmental control.