Why I’m Using DuckDuckGo Instead of Google & Why You Should Too

What’s wrong with Google?

Nothing. It’s a good search engine with one of the best search algorithms. But then one can start to question some of its privacy related practices, especially personalized advertisements and stuff like SPYW. In the Internet the best solution is as good as the next best alternative around, meaning if you have a good enough alternative to a product you’re starting to despise then you’re sure to drop it and go to the alternative. That is what happened to Google in my case. It wasn’t good enough for me (and it seems there are serious consequences to personalized search results) so I went searching for an alternative.

Enter DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a start-up (solo until 2011) search engine that builds upon simplicity and privacy. It doesn’t track you across web sites, it doesn’t record your web history and most importantly it doesn’t personalize anything. It provides the same simple search results to you, to your grandmother and to your gay cousin. It doesn’t try to build a profile on you trying to guess whether you’re a male aged between 25-30  or not.

Is Google Evil?

Probably not. I’m not sure about DDG’s business model (it has sponsored search results), but Google’s business is its search clients, i.e. us. So when we agree to their EULA thingy we submit ourselves to being manipulated so they can earn money. They don’t hide this fact. So I’d say Google is just business. Some people are happy with it, hell I’m still stuck in Gmail, some are not. And I’m of the latter group.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. DDG is simple, and to the point. No fancy page previews and stuff to distract you from the actual content.
  2. It doesn’t track you.
  3. Zero-Click results are really good, especially ones from Wikipedia and StackOverFlow.
  4. No Spam.
  5. No auto-complete suggestions so again distraction free and prevents you from being manipulated like a rat in a maze.
  6. Goodies so that you won’t miss Google Hacks
  7. Contribute yourself at GitHub.

Cons

  1. Didn’t find an image search yet. and no Image based search too.
  2. There is a possibility that Google or Microsoft would acquire this start-up.
  3. No real time search.
  4. And no auto-completion comics for DDG.
I somehow had to include this in the post.

Taking the Red Pill

So if you’re thinking of subscribing to the Privacy-First camp, let me help you get started on using DDG.

  1. Firefox: Go to https://duckduckgo.com  and select “Add DuckDuckGo” under the search box in Firefox.
  2. Chrome: Under Settings page you’ll see the Search section. Click “Manage Search Engines” and add DDG at the bottom of the list. Enter “https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s” as the url. Make it the default.
  3. IE: You’re still using this shit? O_o
  4. Additionally for Firefox: Type about:config in the address bar and search for “keyword.url”. Double click it and enter “https://duckduckgo.com/?q=” as the value.

That’s it. Now you’re a Ducker and no longer a Googler. Shed a tear for the decade long service you did at Google and move on.

7 thoughts on “Why I’m Using DuckDuckGo Instead of Google & Why You Should Too

  1. අනේ මන්ද කාලයක් විජය පරිඝනකයේ තිබුන සර්ච් එන්ජිමක් මොකද්ද නමකින් ඒකෙන් සර්ච් කලාම එන්නෙ හෙමින්..
    බලමු මේකත් ටැස් කරල…2011 රිලිස් කරා කියන්නෙ අවුරුද්දක් විතර ඇති නේ…

    • නෑ මචං. මේක 2007 ඉඳන්ද කොහෙද තියෙනව. 2011 තමයි මුන්ට venture funding ලැබිලා නැගල ගිහින් තියෙන්නෙ. Results හොඳයි. Speed එකත් අවුලක් නෑ.

  2. Hi Chamila, nice to see that at least some people are concerned about their privacy here in SL.

    I tried to switch to DuckDuckGo a while back, but I felt that Google gave me much better results for my search terms. There was a search engine called Scroogle.org which routed your searches anonymously to Google’s search engine, but Google made sure that Scroogle got screwed and I hear the site is no longer available.

    On the protecting-my-data-from-evil-Google front, I’ve switched to using SRWare Iron as my browser in place of Chrome. It’s based on the same open source project Chromium that Google Chrome is based on, so it’s the same browser minus the tracking by Google.

    • Hehe, the main reason that us Lankans are not concerned about these kinda things is that we are not the usual worthy target market for the manipulators. But it doesn’t mean that day wouldn’t come. I’d rather be ready than “personalized” :D

      I also saw what happened to Scroogle. Personal attacks until the guy finally gave up. We’ve seen that here too haven’t we. But still there are some ways to use Google without being profiled, like using a separate non-logged in browser to do the searching, but I thought it’s not worth the hassle. And in DDG I haven’t gone beyond the first page yet. So I’m guessing it has upped its effectiveness in relevancy.

      Didn’t know about the SRWare browser. Giving it a try now. Thanks for that tip! :)

  3. Google can track us only if we do the searches while logged in right? Otherwise the results will get the desired. Since I’m not sharing my privacy anywhere I feel harmful (actually I’m not sharing any), I’m still fine with G! And for the stuff I want to do hidden, I’m using a different browser without logging ;-)

Return Fire!