Making a big splash in privacy, the ongoing story that has dominated location data-based marketing buzz in 2019, DuckDuckGo, the search engine that does not store user data in order to sell pricey ads, announced that it is using Apple’s MapKit JS to power searches, Search Engine Land reported.
The choice to partner with Apple, which has captured headlines of its own for an aggressive approach to privacy and some rather public shots at big-tech rivals Google and Facebook for their heel dragging on the issue, is indicative that Apple will indeed lead the charge on privacy in Silicon Valley and that truly privacy-centric companies are willing to link arms with the iPhone maker. (Apple, conveniently, doesn’t depend on advertising and thus the data of its users the way Google, Facebook, and increasingly Amazon do.)
DuckDuckGo had previously fielded local searches with help from OpenStreetMap. With this new announcement, it assured its user base, growing at 50% YOY and logging 30 million queries daily, that it would discard data users opt to share with it and would not share any data with Apple or other third parties.
While the search engine’s results are sought out by far fewer users than search industry leader Google’s, the growth DuckDuckGo is experiencing further validates the impression the tech media has practically been screaming about this year: The winds on privacy are definitively changing, and data-driven companies that fail to heed those changes are in for quite a storm.
Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.