Did Edward Snowden Kill Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)?

Private Search Engines on the Rise

By Jason Stutman   

Pardon my hypocrisy for just one second, but everyone needs to shut up about Edward Snowden.

Don't get me wrong – the man did a service to the American people. He exposed the raping of our Constitution and deserves a metal, as far as I'm concerned. Despite what the government wants you to think, Snowden is not a traitor: he is a patriot.

But after all is said and done, Edward Snowden is nothing more than a smoke screen in the face of the American people and only serves as an example of how apathetic the American public has become.

Real Crime

Politicians are pick-pockets – it's all about keeping the attention focused elsewhere. A good pick-pocket will bump you with his shoulder or place his palm on your back as his other hand steals your wallet right from under your nose. Even if you do notice what just happened, the criminal has already passed off the stolen goods to his partner walking in the other direction.

You can fret and fuss, but after all is said and done, you're not going to get your wallet back.

This is exactly what is going on with the whole PRISM scandal. We have been told, "Look over there!" and have already forgotten about the government's total disregard for privacy and probable cause.

I guess a manhunt is more important than our basic liberties...

If you are wondering what the hell happened to this country, I can answer that question in one word: complacency.

As a whole, this nation has become far too comfortable. We are very good at achieving temporary outrage, but after all the hype dies down, we forget about the issue every time. The bottom line is, despite freedom being an inherent right, someone is going to take it away if you don't fight for it.

But change requires action, and that's apparently too much work for most Americans.

The fact is, Edward Snowden didn't give Americans their privacy back – he's only proven how much they don't actually care about it.

The Search for Privacy

I had someone tell me this weekend that Edward Snowden has unintentionally destroyed Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). He pointed out that private search engine traffic has increased surrounding the PRISM scandal. People are seeking more ways to search the web without being tracked by the NSA.

Unlike Google, private search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Ixquick do not save data that can be linked to users. These companies do keep data to improve their engines, but no information is ever linked to an IP address.

If you use one of these search engines, feel free and clear; the NSA cannot track your data. In fact, it won't even try at all. Google, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), and Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) have admittedly received thousands of government inquiries regarding information stored in their databases, while DuckDuckGo has received zero.

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DuckDuckGo has made sure to take advantage of this recent hype and has even been poking fun at Google in some advertisements.

duckduckgo advertisement

The tactic does seem to be working – DuckDuckGo has reached over 3 million direct queries per day for the first time in the company's history. Traffic on the website saw an increase of 50 percent in just a little over a week.

ducktraffic

DuckDuckGo's 50 percent jump in a week is pretty impressive. But what does that really mean for Google? In short, absolutely nothing.

Assuming that DuckDuckGo can maintain this new mark of 3 million searches per day, the company will now be looking at 90 million searches a month. In terms of Internet searching, that figure is a tiny drop in a giant bucket – Google sees 13.3 billion searches every month. In other words, DuckDuckGO needs to grow another 15,000 percent to catch up.

Google is an absolute giant, and its users are obviously loyal. Sadly enough, almost no one cares if the NSA can check search history. That privacy apparently isn't even worth the effort of typing a different address in web browsers.

Google doesn't face any risk from competitors in the search engine department. Google knocked down Yahoo and fended off Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). DuckDuckGo isn't even in the same league. So whatever you do, don't go shorting Google because of a short-lived trend in private searching. 

Turning progress to profits,

  JS Sig

Jason Stutman

follow basic @JasonStutman on Twitter

Energy and Capital's tech expert, Jason Stutman has worked as an educator in mathematics, technology, and science... Before joining the Energy and Capital team, Jason served on multiple technology development committees, writing and earning grants in educational and behavioral technologies. Jason offers readers keen insights on prominent tech trends while exposing otherwise unnoticed opportunities.

 

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