Weinberg didn't originally set out to build a search engine. After shuttering one failed startup and selling another to Classmates.com for $10 million in 2006, the MIT grad found himself exploring several new ideas. Across multiple projects, he focused on structured data, Quora-style Q&A, and programmatically combating spam.
"I started all of these projects independently and none of them really took off," Weinberg says. "Then I realized, maybe if I put them all together, there might be an interesting search experience there."
The result was DuckDuckGo, a search engine offering direct answers to people's queries, rather than merely delivering a list of links. Below these so-called "Instant Answers," the site still displays traditional, link-by-link search results syndicated from third parties like Bing and Yandex but, crucially, they're filtered and reorganized to reduce spam.
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