DuckDuckGo has this to say.
Let’s think about what this means for a second.
- If DuckDuckGo can make enough money to turn a profit, then imagine what Google could earn even if they did the same as DuckDuckGo. Given Google’s vastly larger resources, reach, brand and advertiser relations, they might even be earning as much as they do now.
- Personal information collection is most useful in the cases where the user has not explicitly expressed intent. For example, personal information can be used to choose which ads to show a user in a banner ad or a feed. Since the user will already have provided intent in a search, the additional benefit of personal information is actually quite small, as demonstrated by the solidness of DuckDuckGo’s revenues.
- Google makes money most off search. Their display ads (AdSense) are barely growing and only a small fraction of total ad revenue.
Apparently, Google could be almost as profitable as it is now even without personal data collection.
Then why do they do it? What would happen if certain regulations like the GPDR come in effect and outlaw rampant data collection? What would happen if Apple continued to improve its privacy protecting features and prevented Google from collecting this?
DuckDuckGo shows us that Google’s revenues might not be harmed at all.