‘Tis the season for giving things up—at least among the Catholic ilk (and apparently Facebook, which gave up working for about 14 hours this week in its longest downtime spell yet).

For the uninitiated, a sizeable chunk of all Christian adherents relinquish an indulgence of their choosing for 40 days during Lent, like beer, or everything but beer as one Ohio man has done.

That got us thinking: Who among you is brave enough to give up Google for 40 days? Or really, any amount of days?

The world’s favorite search engine commands about 70 percent of the search-engine market (80 percent on mobile), and many among us scoff at the idea of using anything but Google on a daily basis.

Cue DuckDuckGo.

The search engine has been around since 2008, but only recently exploded onto everyone’s radar. Why? I chalk it up to timing. The infamous Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal kicked up a lot of dust, and it’s settling over us as a cloud of distrust. Suddenly, the idea of a private search engine seems like the hero Gotham needs.

DuckDuckGo search engine

Which brings us back to Google, and the fact that for the first time in a long time, more people are willingly abandoning the search engine in favor of DuckDuckGo …

DuckDuckGo a New ‘Default Search’ Option for Chrome, Is It Time to Start Paying Attention?

Google Chrome quietly made DuckDuckGo one of its default search engines in more than 60 global markets this week alongside the likes of Bing and Yahoo.

Users have always had the option to add DuckDuckGo, but it’s hard to see this inclusion in Chrome as anything other than recognition of the search engine’s ascent.

Search Engine Land even suggested that DuckDuckGo could exceed Yahoo’s market share, and noted that SEO agencies may want to start paying closer attention to DuckDuckGo traffic and thinking about whether they should be attempting to optimize for it.

With that in mind, you still need to create a filter if you want Google Analytics to register DuckDuckGo traffic as organic traffic instead of referral traffic.

For now, we don’t expect anyone to come to us with hopes of optimizing content for DuckDuckGo, and it’s possible that pro-privacy search engines are just having a moment in the sun.

But who knows? This could very well spark of a much bigger conversation about privacy on the web (more on this in just a bit).

Read the full story at Search Engine Land.

Google Update Florida 2 – It’s a Big One

We interrupt this post about DuckDuckGo to announce that the world’s largest and most relevant search engine released a huge update to its broad core algorithm this week.

As of this writing, the details are sparse. All we know for sure is that it’s called “Update Florida 2,” it will probably affect your search rankings and, according to Search Engine Journal, it’s “one of the biggest updates in years.”

Broad core algorithm updates happen a few times a year, and they can and often do directly affect how pages rank.

But don’t lose any sleep over it yet.

The main purpose of broad core algorithms is to better match search queries to search results. So, for example, part of last year’s update was the introduction of Neural Matching, which helped Google better understand the meaning of content, so as to generate SERPs that are more relevant to queries.

Simply put, there’s really not much you can do right now other than continue to create content that is highly relevant to the types of queries being made in a Google search bar.

Read the full and very enlightening article on the subject at Search Engine Journal.

DuckDuckGo CEO Testifies: Privacy Legislation Isn’t ‘Anti-Advertising’

Circling back to DuckDuckGo, the search engine’s CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week about online privacy legislation.

During the hearing, Weinberg argued that DuckDuckGo was doing just fine using contextual instead of behavioral advertising. The former matches ad content to the web page while the latter attempts to match it to the user based on browsing history.

Weinberg also said that consumers are drawn to brands they trust, and he’s not wrong. A clear majority of respondents to an Axios survey said they’re in favor of more consumer privacy protections (Exhibit A: DuckDuckGo’s new-found relevance).

consumer view of online privacy searchengineland

More importantly, Weinberg argued that privacy legislation would force competition because “monopoly platforms could be prohibited from combining data across their different business lines.”

Each of his arguments is clearly aimed at the possibility of consumer privacy protections in the U.S., which, as Search Engine Land noted, “appears to be gaining momentum in Congress and the media.”

Love it or hate it, DuckDuckGo is shaking a huge tree, and we’re not entirely sure what, if anything, will fall out of it.

Read more about Weinberg’s testimony at Search Engine Land.

As for our no-Google challenge?

We encourage the bold to try, and to share their experiences with us in the comments section.

And if you’re really brazen, try going without search engines altogether for a few weeks.

If nothing else, that ought to put the power of search into perspective.

Dominick Sorrentino is a senior writer in Chicago. He's a wordsmith who endeavors to use language, story-telling and creativity to solve problems. He enjoys pizza, the musical styling of A Tribe Called Quest, traveling, a good conversation and, of course, putting pen to paper.