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.
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
- DDG is simple, and to the point. No fancy page previews and stuff to distract you from the actual content.
- It doesn’t track you.
- Zero-Click results are really good, especially ones from Wikipedia and StackOverFlow.
- No Spam.
- No auto-complete suggestions so again distraction free and prevents you from being manipulated like a rat in a maze.
- Goodies so that you won’t miss Google Hacks
- Contribute yourself at GitHub.
- Didn’t find an image search yet. and no Image based search too.
- There is a possibility that Google or Microsoft would acquire this start-up.
- No real time search.
- And no auto-completion comics for DDG.
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.
- Firefox: Go to https://duckduckgo.com and select “Add DuckDuckGo” under the search box in Firefox.
- 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.
- IE: You’re still using this shit? O_o
- 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.