Why you might like DuckDuckGo

2013-06-18 / Sebastian Morr / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 / tech

DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine. I’ve made it my default search recently. Let me tell you about the differences to Google, Bing and the like – and why you should care.

Privacy concerns

Search leakage

Normally, when you click on a link, the browser transmits the URL you came from to the visited site. This is called referer information, and it’s nice for a website owner to see where his visitors are coming from. But likewise, when you click on a link after a Google search, the site you visit will see your search query - because it was part of the URL. You might not want them to know that you stumbled across their site while searching for “cheap viagra”.

DDG prevents this so-called search leakage by default. The sites will know that you visited them, but they won’t know your search term.

See donttrack.us for more information about this problem.

Information not collected

DDG does not collect any information about you. It does not build up a search history, does not create profiles about you. You should care about this especially because of two reasons:

First, DDG cannot give information about you to law enforcement, because no information exists. You don’t have to fear “accidents” or malicious hackers, too.

Second, it helps to reduce the filter bubble effect. Because Google knows what you like, it will display results that comply with your beliefs on the top. You are trapped in a “bubble” and will never see other opinions. Do you want this?

For an illustrated explanation of this topic, see dontbubble.us.

Practical benefits

Goodies

DDG has some major time-savers built in. Try to search for

All querys add a helpful “instant result box” to the top of the search results. And there are so many of them. Oh, and you can create your own plugins, of course.

!Bangs

For searching on sites directly, you probably have some search plugins in your browser, maybe in some kind of dropdown menu? Yeah, well, DDG has those built-in. Simply prefix your search term with “!sitename “. Examples:

This is especially awesome when DDG is the default search engine for your address bar. Instant search everywhere, on every device! And there are OVER 3000 different bangs!

Other random stuff I like

You can navigate your search results with “j” and “k”, like in Vim, and follow a link with “l”. Of course, you can also use the arrow keys.

In the settings, you can set “Advertisements” to “Off”. In this case, they kindly ask you to support them on the microdonation platform Flattr. Awesome move.

When you want to go directly to the first hit, use “I’m feeling ducky” in the dropdown menu or simply prefix your search with “! “ or “\”.

And of course, there’s a Let me DDG that for you!

Conclusion

Give DuckDuckGo a try! Visit their about page for a nice video and basic setup instructions and go to the Support Center for many more details.


Comments?

You can reach me at @blinry or at sebastian@morr.cc, see the about page.

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