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DuckDuckGo, Google+ Among TIME's Top 50 Best Websites of 2011

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DuckDuckGo, the startup search engine that emphasizes user privacy, has been named as one of TIME's Top 50 websites of 2011, and DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg shared the why and how of how this came to be. Google+ was also a named a top social media website.

DuckDuckGo Tops in Financial and Productivity

DuckDuckGo TIME Best Website of 2011

We've mentioned DuckDuckGo several times before, but here's the brief recap on who they are as a company. Launched back in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg, the search engine has a direct approach to search that emphasizes one key point: they don't record your information. From billboards that remind users that "Google tracks you" to a page talking about how DuckDuckGo allows you "escape the filter bubble," the company's approach has been all about this singular advantage.

For Harry McCracken, the TIME reporter who compiled the list, that was enough. He described DuckDuckGo as "a simple, straightforward search engine that's reminiscent of early Google, with a no-nonsense privacy policy." On the full Top 50 list, DuckDuckGo was the first entry under "Financial and Productivity."

McCracken may not be the only person who noticed DuckDuckGo's approach. It may even be that Google is paying attention, with some recent changes from Google looking strikingly familiar to those introduced by DuckDuckGo.

How DuckDuckGo Earned the Attention

McCracken may have found respect for DuckDuckGo upon examining the company, but why did he examine it in the first place? DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinburg isn't keeping the story a secret.

In addition to reaching out to journalists, Weinburg enlisted the help of the DuckDuckGo community to get word out about the site. He emphasizes the role played by Twitter, but notes that "there are lots of other ways to [build relationships] as well." In the end, he states that it's largely about the product itself.

Google+ Tops in Social Media

Despite being invite only and borrowing heavily from Facebook and Twitter, TIME also named Google+ as one of their top five social media sites of 2011. 

"G+ feels a lot like Facebook and a little like Twitter, and adds some twists of its own, including video chats called Hangouts and an interface that lets you drag your pals into groups called Circles," McCracken wrote. "It's still not officially open to the public, but tens of millions of people have wangled an invite and joined the club. The quality of the conversation remains high; here's hoping it remains so even if the community grows to Facebook-like proportions."

TIME's other top social media picks: Klout, Pinterest, Quora, and Storify.


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