By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The little search engine from Chester County that could’ has really come into its own: DuckDuckGo hit a billion searches last year in the fallout from NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations. And the privacy-protecting site is now rolling out new features.

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It’s nothing compared to Google’s numbers, but notching more than five million searches every day is big for DuckDuckGo, and founder Gabriel Weinberg:

“We’ve been growing a lot, and we think that what we do — real privacy and smarter answers — appeals to a decent percentage of people.”

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The Paoli company considers itself essential in an age when more of us are taking stock of our digital lives as everyone from the government to hackers are trying to catch a glimpse. Why, he asks, would we just let the Googles and Bings of the world stand over our shoulders?

“The only thing you can really do to be safe is to reduce your digital footprint in general and then the information isn’t there for people to steal and for marketers to use and so that’s really our core proposition when it comes to privacy is we just don’t store or collect personal information.”

DuckDuckGo this past week added image, local, recipe, and auto-suggest searches so it looks more like what’s familiar.

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