TMBA 259: What Does Google Know About Us?

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As entrepreneurs, Google has really become a huge part of a lot of our everyday lives. The privacy concerns that have come to light over the last few years are legitimate, and way we think about our internet use is changing. Gabriel Weinberg is the Founder of DuckDuckGo, a search engine that is steadily gaining market share by offering real privacy. He is also an angel investor, and has taken investments from some of the most successful venture capitalists in the world. This week, Gabriel and are going to be talking about what privacy means today and what Google knows about us, along with some really unique strategies for startups.

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • What motivates Gabriel and what he feels like his business is on the cusp of.
  • How DuckDuckGo is able to maintain privacy for their users.
  • What Gabriel has done to differentiate his product from Google.
  • What it is like to take money from venture capitalists and how it has affected the operations of his business.
  • The importance of micro-opportunities and how to capitalize on them.
  • How to step outside of your comfort zone and find the right marketing channels for your business.

People on this episode:

Mentioned in the episode:

DDG Results for TMBA, looks legit.

DDG Results for TMBA, looks legit.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian

Published on 08.28.14
  • bperove

    Another great episode – Google also knows where you’ve been:

    What do they plan to do with this information & who else has access to it?

    Glad to hear about the success of new privacy-based search engines.

  • exapple

    Great episode! I was a DDG early adopter, and now rarely, if ever, use any Google service. People think Google is free — it’s not. You’re trading your personal information for their services. i.e., they’re monetizing YOU.

  • Sean Markey

    Hey man, great episode. Love DDG, and pretty impressed you got an hour with Gabriel.

    Question for you, Dan. You say you switched to DuckDuckGo out of… privacy concerns? Yet you still use Chrome that browser Google OWNS–you know they are tracking every single thing, and using Gmail.

    Just curious if you plan on switching to another browser/email provider?

    I used to use Chrome and Gmail all the time (fricken LOVE Chrome), but don’t use them anymore for… reasons (*cough* SEO *cough*), but also privacy concerns. If you’re considering switching email providers, is the SH*T. Easy to set up your email address through them.

    Rock on

  • exapple

    Even more disturbing: Google self-driving cars that know everywhere you go, and free your eyeballs for more ad impressions, Google (Nest) thermostats and smoke detectors with built-in motion sensors that know how many times you get up in the middle of the night, so they can serve you ads for Super Beta Prostate in the morning. Oh, and Google (Dropcam) cameras to flat-out watch the junk food you eat in your underwear. Scary stuff.

  • Agota Bialobzeskyte

    I think most of us are extremely naive when it comes to things like that.

    We have this idea of “privacy” when in fact it’s safe to say that most of things we do on the Internet are anything but private. Those drunk and angry emails you sent years ago? Google has them. Those weird and/or embarrassing things you researched? Google has your search history. Those porn videos you watched last night that you are ashamed of? Google knows what gets you going. This list goes on and on and on…Now think about how much of the information that Google has access to could be used to blackmail you…and that they have this information on pretty much everyone who uses the Internet. Am I crazy to suggest that this is bound to backfire sooner or later?

    I think that our ever-increasing reliance on technology has terrifying side effects that we rarely consider – parts of our lives that most of us would like to keep private are becoming increasingly accessible to other people. Your computer can be accessed and controlled remotely, which means that someone can,say, watch you having sex (webcam), listen to a private conversion (mic), go through your documents (hard disk), etc. Your online records, your medical records, your financial records, etc. can be accessed without your knowledge. Your cell phone can be tracked without your permission. And so on, and so forth. Privacy? It’s gone forever.

    And it surprises me that many people push for being even more “connected”. Wouldn’t it be cool to have super hi-tech cars, maybe even cars that drive themselves? Um, cars that can be remotely controlled, no thanks. Wouldn’t it be cool to get rid of all that metal and paper and make all our money digital? Um, so that if bank/police/government decides to freeze my accounts, I’d be down and out, no thanks. Why don’t we make sharing friction-less, so that we could share everything about our lives with other people automatically? Um, so that everyone would know everything about me, without me being able to control the flow of information, no thanks. And so on, and so forth. Things are already out of control as they are but people seem to want to make themselves even more dependent on technology.

    People get so blinded by “progress” that they don’t see how fragile things are becoming – and it’s only going to get worse.

    Maybe I should turn my thoughts on this into fiction by writing a sequel to 1984 called 2015 :D

  • is another search engine that crawls the web to create its own index.

  • guest

    Everything on the net and on yr H phone is recorded. Thats been happening for a long long time. There is no safe havens or privacy, I mean its even hard to opt out of most.
    The flockers are being flocked , and they don,t care anyway, as they are oblivious to it.
    The world is different and one must go with the flow or opt out. . its a digital world and mans brains are getting smaller, well the area of the left brain that is used is, as it is getting less exercise. Computers are doing the thinking .
    Imagine if The www went down for a week. halleluiah. Like sheep in the woods.

  • Awesome! That location history tool is really cool, thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks Ben appreciate that!

  • thanks for the link Agota, appreciate it! I agree with your sentiment here, we’re rushed into this tech thing and haven’t properly understood the implications, I think Mark Cuban has summed it up nicely as well in his “Cyber Dust” marketing

  • haha… I like to spend one weekend day without the computer.

  • hey Sean thanks for that thanks for the heads up on the alternatives…

    Gabriel also wrote a good post about it recently…

    I’m not sure I’m going to make the change due to privacy reasons, my priority (and I perhaps am wrong about this!?) is currently product. I’m willing to give Google my data if they give me great product. I’m still not completely clear on all the implications of that but starting to think through them.

  • thanks for that! I’ve been using DDG for the past week and so far so good! Still on other Google services, however.

  • I don’t know about this. Here come sweeping generalizations in 3,2,1…

    If you want privacy get off the web, unplug your phone, lock yourself in a cabin in the woods.

    Half measures seem misguided to me.

    There is no privacy in the digital age, convincing yourself you can achieve it by changing search provider’s seems to be a fool’s errand. Are you using VoIP? DNS services? Domains through ICANN? There is always a footprint to be followed.

    Knowledge of what’s happening with your data is great, but this stuff screams “Sky is falling” Henny Pennyism (yes I just made that phrase up)…


  • haha… I feel ya on this but I also vibe with Cuban when he says that privacy might end up being a luxury item that people have to pay for, with not only some inconvenience but with cash as well.

    to make it not-so-sky-is-falling, if you were to be in some sort of legal hot water with the US government it might make sense to use DDG for your research! that’s an extreme situation that is plausible.

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