True story: just yesterday I had a meeting with an entrepreneur, looked up something on his computer and noticed that he was using alternative search engine DuckDuckGo rather than Google or Bing. And, as pointed out on Hacker News yesterday, he’s apparently far from the only one using it.

As you can tell from the chart below, DuckDuckGo’s daily search traffic is seeing hockey stick growth so far this year, with average daily search queries up roughly 227 percent, to just south of 1.5 million today, since the end of last year.

The huge spike that started last January was driven by a visual redesign and apparently spurred by the attention given to the service on Data Privacy Day.

Heck, even hacker collective Anonymous is using it.

ddg Look at that DuckDuckGo! Daily search traffic is ballooning, up 227% in 3 months

So should Google be worried, as someone oddly suggested yesterday?

Of course not, at least not yet. There are other, bigger threats Google should be paying attention to right now. And that’s obviously a good thing for DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo has positioned itself as the privacy-friendly neighborhood search engine in a time where that’s becoming a big deal for a lot of people. It doesn’t need to kill, let alone duke it out with today’s search incumbents, but it should push forward in the direction it is heading (which is, apparently, up and to the right).

The company raised funding from Union Square Ventures and angel investors like Scott Banister, Jim Young, Jeff Miller, Joshua Schachter, Kal Vepuri, Joshua Stylman and Peter Hershberg back in October 2011, buying it time to grow steadily.

In the comment thread of the Hacker News discussion, DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg says the startup is currently focused on ‘better programming queries’ and speed enhancements.

I, for one, am going to give it another DuckDuckGo (pardon the pun). You?

Related: Guess who owns Duck.com?

How to change your default search engine in Google Chrome