PRIVACY AWARE SEARCH SERVICE Duckduckgo has enjoyed a spike in user numbers ever since the exposure of the PRISM and Tempora snooping programmes.
Duckduckgo said last summer that it had quickly seen a spike in the number of users, commenting that it was dealing with some 2.5 million direct searches a day. That was more than double the traffic it was handling before PRISM was revealed.
Then the firm said that "off-line word of mouth spread in reaction to the news" helped drive up traffic, and added that while other search alternatives might be open to snoopers, it definitely is not.
"We literally do not store personally identifiable user data," said Duckduckgo's founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg. "So if the NSA were to get a hold of all our data, it would not be useful to them since it is all truly anonymous."
Interviews from that time could be aligned next to spikes in user traffic, suggesting that such comments from the firm were contributing to its gains.
This weekend it revisited its numbers, saying that by the end of 2013 it had dealt with over one billion search queries.
"In 2013, over one billion searches were made on Duckduckgo. Needless to say, it was a great year for us," it said in an online newsletter.
"We're looking forward to similar greatness in 2014. We have a lot of big things planned for this year that we hope will address a lot of the excellent feedback you have been giving us for some time. So please stay tuned." µ