Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why I Switched My Search Engine to DuckDuckGo...

DuckDuckGo: Clean, simple search
Eight months ago, I decided to switch my default search engine away from Google, and to instead try an alternate service.

After some deliberation, I chose DuckDuckGo. What has it been like? Is it worth switching?

Why I Switched

For some time, the purity of Google’s search has been violated and diluted, due to the Filter Bubble effect. This commercial explains what I mean:


I guess I’m not really comfortable with the idea of Google amassing a silent log of my search history, either. I’m a regular Google services user (Gmail, Reader, Photos/Picasa, Blogger, and even Google+, rarely), so granted it’s ridiculous for me to assume this stance -- I’ve already handed over a boatload of personal information to Google. They own my online profile.

Nevertheless, I made the switch (including changing the default search in my browser preferences) and would like to report on the experience.

What it’s like using DuckDuckGo

I’d say overall it’s... tolerable.

The results are clean, and simple, and... usually what I’m looking for. Let’s say 75% of the time. The other 25% I will perform the query again, using the !g command to see what Google has to say. (DuckDuckGo supports a powerful and nerdy ‘bang’ command that can be used to query specific sources, like Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, and, yes, Google.). [the !g initiates an encrypted Google search, by the way, which prevents snooping by third parties, so it’s still better than a ‘naked’ Google search]

That sounds annoying but actually, I find that comparing the two result sets can be instructive -- and Google doesn’t necessarily always find the right stuff. There are times when DuckDuckGo fails to provide good answers for recent items (news-related for example), but I get the feeling it’s been improving gradually...

So am I going to switch back to Google? Nope.

Here is some additional DuckDuckGo propaganda that explains why it’s a great candidate for your default search engine:


Less clutter, user privacy, and non-filtered results. That’s why I’ve switched to DuckDuckGo.

Try it out, you might like it too!