DuckDuckGo sees a major increase in search queries, Apple hands out bonuses to its engineers and NASA makes history on Christmas day.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday, December 31, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Internet search engine DuckDuckGo’s daily search queries have surpassed 100 million. It has grown nearly 47 per cent this year. While Google remains the dominant search engine, many people are experimenting with DuckDuckGo due to its privacy features. According to a report from Spread Privacy, Google tracks users when they use its search engine while DuckDuckGo doesn’t. In addition, DuckDuckGo’s Android ecosystem includes “App Tracking” protection, which prevents third-party trackers from being used.

In an effort to retain talent and ward off competition, Apple Inc. has issued unusual and significant stock bonuses to some engineers. The surprise bonuses have ranged from about $50,000 to as much as $180,000. According to Bloomberg, several of the engineers received amounts of about $80,000, $100,000 or $120,000 in shares. Recently, Meta and Apple have been in a talent war as Meta hired about 100 engineers from Apple in the last few months. However, Apple has also picked up some former Meta employees. This competition is most likely due to the fact that both companies are planning on rolling out augmented-and virtual-reality headsets as well as smartwatches in the coming year.

And lastly, on Christmas morning history was made with the James Webb telescope launched into space. The Webb telescope will be able to peer into the deeper abyss of our universe. It also has the ability to prove whether we’ve correctly documented the events that took place immediately after the Big Bang. Most importantly, the Webb telescope features a Near-infrared camera or NIRCam, a primary imager that can detect the earliest stars and galaxies formed. In addition, according to a CNET article, the smooth launch of the telescope that occurred on December 25th could help it remain in orbit for more than a decade.

And now for something a little different. After finding out how much it would cost to repair his Tesla vehicle, one Tesla owner decided the next thing to do is blow up the car out of spite. Tuomas Katainen blew up his 2013 Tesla Model S after learning he would have to pay $22,600 for a full battery replacement. His car started showing errors after just 1000 miles. A repair shop held on to the Tesla for a month only to tell him that the only solution would involve replacing the entire battery. So, Katainen decides to blow up the car and turn it into an explosion video for YouTube. Plenty of cameras was installed to capture the explosions in detail as well as slow-motion features.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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