I tried DDG a few time, but Google knew too much about me, my intent and what sites I liked.
Now I find its all ads and other google services.
Thus DDG has become perfectly serviceable now and I am very happy with it.
Although, I have an idea that the web has changed also. Web pages are different, QA sites like StackOverflow have spammed results, the rise and relentless march of commercial focused SEO, and the death of blogs and personal websites has created a real problem in search.
I somewhat wish Microsoft would sponsor DDG but not necessarily a buyout cause people will freak out. Or if they did a buyout that they would do with it as they did with Minecraft. They didnt make things worse just provided more resources to the developers.
In an ideal world someone like Apple could take DDG even but they are so unlikely to but it would further push their privacy branding. Heck DDG now owns duck.com thanks to google... So it could have a sleek marketable name.
Once you get over the initial UI muscle memory shock you eventually realize that the results aren’t as good and you jump back.
I can rarely find what I need with DDG and usually always find it instantly with google.
They certainly don’t have related/similar images, which I find useful.
But in general, it is good enough that I switched and stayed switched. The most eerie thing, actually, is that so many ads have become de-contextualized. I no longer see ads for things I've recently searched for and it's so obvious that it's a little weird.
> To do that, we've developed an open source Instant Answer platform called DuckDuckHack,
which links to https://duckduckhack.com/ which says "DuckDuckHack is now in Maintenance Mode".
And the "four hundred sources" link links to 400 special case replies. They are probably useful, but fire rarely. It's basically Bing, and that page is a bunch of spin.
Then I looked it up(using Google - haha)
Well I'll be dammed, DDG does use Bing. Wow.
With this ~95% of my searches avoid google and as DDG keeps improving that percentage will get higher.
With regard to UI, it’s quite nice that DDG supports dark mode automatically.
For example, if I'm looking for technical information on a bug Google will probably give me pages worth of Krebs On Security articles while DDG will give me POC repos on Github which I prefer.
The paranoid in me wants to believe this is deliberate by Google. That they selectively disseminate certain information and withhold others.
The top result in a Google search for [crows in portland] is a snippet that answers my question with zero additional clicks required. If I want more info, I can click through the top result to a perfect, in-depth explanation.
It's the Audubon Society, a source I consider authoritative on this topic.
The top result on DDG requires me to click through to a shitty local news site with an extremely lightweight story.
I'd have to click multiple DDG links to find what Google presented as the top result, and summarized nicely so I probably don't even need to click through.
I typed the same terms on DDG, and clicked "more results" and scrolled down. The first relevant hit is #84, which is a link to a generic product listing page on an Australian online store. So DDG found 83 incorrect interpretations of "duck" before the rope fall protection one that I intended. The one it did find is pretty obscure. It's located neither in the country I live in, nor the country the device is made in.
Curiously, hit #80 is for google.com itself, so it seems even DDG gave up and pointed me to Google before finding a directly useful answer.
I like DDG's principles, but as a search engine, it's just not practical for me.
That is a good example. However, if I may...
You used a device and wanted to learn more about it, you searched using some general terms, as you say Google's top result was the product...but it was the Amazon page that "lets you buy it." Now you could have skipped the Google middleman if you wanted to buy the product and just gone to Amazon (you will find their search isn't much better than DDG based on your search term). All in all you didn't say you wanted to buy it you wanted to learn more, and yet we see Google's biased results is: 1) pushing the sale of the product; 2) their #1 result is Amazon which is loaded with fake results about the product (and honestly would you really trust buying your climbing equipment from Amazon)? All in all they got you a relevant result as the #1 result, but beyond that IMO its a terrible result.
I finally took the plunge and replaced google with ddg in my browser omnibar last week.
After a couple of days I switched back after having to search on google too many times.
So for example, I might search for a class name and Googole will know what language / environment I'm working it, but I'll need to tell that to DDG when searching.
Recently this has become pretty annoying in some cases : if I search the name of a sports team even though I mean something totally different, Google will start sending me notifications about that team. To make it worse, how to remove that team from your 'interests' is a bit convoluted.
I also have to go out of my way to make google understand that I am sometimes looking for a result in my native language (I live abroad).
Most of the time it is on point though. It does indeed seem that it taylors dev questions to the languages I use or more generally my interests.
If this kind of logic could be somehow stored on device instead of being something that Google (or Apple or whatever other company I don't have infinite trust in) owns, that would be a killer search product.
It’s a pain, but I’d say Qwant works about 60% of the time, usually for basic stuff. I find DDG to generally be more relevant than Qwant, but Qwant to be a bit more novel, which is part of why it’s my mobile default.
But take that with a MASSIVE grain of salt. I can’t say I’ve done any thorough analysis or paid close enough attention to judge that well. I’ll probably switch to DDG again regardless, as Qwant thinks I’m a bot fairly regularly.
add !g somewhere in your ddg query to search google
https://www.startpage.com/ works. DDG does not.
The most I've had to do is search the bangs documentation if i can't find the search engine i want. (for Terraria stuff i sometimes wanted `!terrg` rather than `!terraria`, and ended up searching to find the former)
The point is that with DDG, you have a uniform syntax for searching multiple services that doesn't require any special cooperation from your browser or those services, doesn't require any setup apart from using DDG and only requires you to learn one new concept.
And this will work anywhere where webpages work (like, say, lynx), and will work consistently. There are thousands of !bangs, from things ranging from amazon, to wikipedia, to maps, to dictionary definitions... You aren't limited to a handful of hand picked services that your browser decided to support out of the box, or that you decided to manually configure.
Also, there is generally decent support to switch languages and regions for services that support it. For example, "!w" gets you "wikipedia", "!wsimple" gets you the "Simple English" version and "!wpt" gets you the Portuguese version.
IMHO, this is all extremely convenient.
At the end of the day, though, it's a personal choice I make. I put in a small sliver of extra effort and get in return a big boost in privacy. It's worth it for me, but perhaps not for everyone.
If you don't care about your privacy and don't want to dealing with learning a new search engine to the level you've learned google, then this article probably isn't for you.
The idea you wouldn't be able to do your job or that it would be impacted in a nontrivial way by switching to a different search bar in your browser seems ridiculous, correct me if I'm wrong.
Never had a single issue finding even the obscure stuff I look for when I get rid of Google habits and use habits of web 1.0
Me neither. That's why I use https://www.startpage.com/
I suppose I consider it like this, Google's results might also be better if they didn't show me so much spam. I don't know. My life isn't that much improved due to them. I don't know what I don't know.
I'm okay not having a 10% faster car as well. I'm okay with that. I'm willing to drive a slower car to save the environment. I'm willing to make that personal decision for what I think will be a better internet too.
We can't constantly say, what's best for me, what's best for me without expecting that everyone on the planet doing that will never lead to a planet that's best for all of us. My search results might be 10 or 20 or even 30%, without Google, but the world is better without Google, IMO.
But my experience has been that it really depends on what you're doing. There are a number of projects I've researched where the duck has provided better information.
For now, it's worth trying both. That can be seen as a disadvantage because it's twice the work, or as progress because competition is a good thing.
For example, I shouldn't need to add extra context to "elm dict" to get to Elm's Dict package documentation. And I'm not even sure what I need to add to get DDG to know what I'm talking about. Google knows.
DDG is pretty much always worse query-for-query than Google in my experience especially for anything long-tail or in a different language. I don't think there's any nuance to add here. Presumably you're using DDG for other perfectly valid reasons which is where I'd focus my evangelism than "it's just as good if you know how to use it" which is simply wrong because it (basically Bing) is just not as good.
I'd have to disagree here. Search can be a great example of a power tool. Sure you may have to learn a bit of search knowledge, but the added flexibility can make you a much more efficient searcher.
When I tried "elm dict class" in DDG I got links to elm docs as the first hit, plus a SO snippet. Not exactly a hardship.
- Google - first hit
- Yandex - first hit
- DDG - Not on first page
- Bing - Not on first page
Curiously, putting the canonical partner string in puts elm-lang.org as the first hit!
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=elm+dict - 4th hit
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=elm+dict&t=canonical - 1st hit
Maybe it is a coincidence? ddg does sometime return inconsistent ordering of search results for reasons that I have not been able to sort out.
Google - 99.9% ads
So you are going to not go back to google by using google?
I can bang google the tool along with wiki or whatever and still avoid the invasive practices the company uses. I don’t think that’s a complicated concept.
Either way, I use DDG by default on all my devices. I support as many companies as I can that don’t sell my data.
In case you meant search results that are ads: When I google for "computer", I get Wikipedia first, some quick answers (no ads there), a B.Sc. in computer sciences from a local university and only after that some results of online shops to buy computers. But I guess if someone googles "computer", they are maybe looking to buy one.
"As a result, I’ve had a fairly tedious but important revelation: I search for really obvious stuff. Google’s own data backs this up. Its annual round-up of the most searched-for terms is basically a list of names and events: World Cup, Avicii, Mac Miller, Stan Lee, Black Panther, Megan Markle. The list goes on. And I don’t need to buy into Google’s leviathan network of privacy-invading trackers to find out what Black Panther is and when I can go and see it at my local cinema."
"I had, based on zero evidence, convinced myself that finding things on the internet was hard and, inevitably, involved a fair amount of tracking. After two years of not being tracked and targeted, I have slowly come to realize that this is nonsense."
Every user is different. What is appealing to the author may not be appealing to the reader. The author was searching for obvious things. HN readers and commenters may have more difficult searches.
Outside of HN, it appears there is a very large quantity of users who search for the same "obvious stuff".
Agreed that every user is different. I think the overall verdict is that DDG is certainly not as good at Google on an overall number-of-people-always-satisfied scale, but it does quite a good job for most people.
Maybe it’s because I mostly browse with private pages, never sign in to Chrome, always deny requests for location, etc and my results were never particularly tailored to me in the first place?
While I find DDG to be equally good for most "dry facts" searches, it stinks for the sort of thing that I'm usually looking for on the road — "best Sichuan in Chinatown" or "glossier sticker blackberry" (long story).
Ironically, I could probably get by just fine with DDG on the laptop where I'm mostly using search as a proxy for Stack Overflow and Wikipedia, and Google on the mobile for shopping and esoterica.
Just the facts ma'am.
You may enjoy having a less menacing overlord in your browser.
If you've themed your whole OS, terminal, text editor, etc to your favorite theme (solarized, nord, etc), then DDG is the search engine for you.
Solarized Dark Dark Go, for example... https://start.duckduckgo.com/?kae=%23073642&kj=%23073642++&k...
Google has had some very public news stories of manipulating search results, tracking users, and profiling users -- people en mass left google's news site when they started manipulating it, profiling results for total control of Chinese population is pretty recent too, there are dozens of examples. And google profiling users and trying to guess what they are researching or thinking about it is too easy.
And face it, google no longer has a way to innovate but go the way of tracking, monitoring, and theft.
Sometimes DDG is worse, just generally, and sometimes much worse.
Either way, I think DuckDuckGo needs a different and simpler brand. DuckDuckGo does not roll off the tongue, it's not a verb or even verbable, and outside of the tech world very few have heard of it. Call it Duck, call it Go, call it something simpler and memorable.
> Once you realize most things you search for online are boring and obvious, you realize you don't really need Google in your life.
Yes! DDG really does work just as well as any other search engine for most day-to-day things, and then there's always the !g prefix. The first page of Google search results are half Amp and YouTube carousels anyway...
On technical topics, recent news and local sites I built a muscle memory to just add !g at the end of the search.
For everything else DDG more or less does the job.
And I believe this is because Google is much more context aware.
A fake example: if you search "lounge new york" DDG might show you lounge seats and things from New York, while Google 'understands' that you are looking for a place to chill in New York.
But while this gives better results for lets say 80% of the time in Google, the other 20% of the time it's very hard to search for things in Google if it uses the wrong context. At those times DDG is way better.
Then I switched to ecosia.org, I know it is a front-end for Bing. But it is clean interface and the search results are more in-line with what Google would return. In months I have had to use Google for search arount ten times in the last month. And that was to find stuff I already searched on Google. But I knew what I was looking for was obvious.
Most users, once they experience just a few instances of worse results will just switch back to google.
I already use DDG everywhere, but I was having an issue with a site in Firefox, it just refused to work, so I launched chrome and entered the same term in the box.
Google popped up with the privacy/terms field thing it does and refuses to let you pass this modal popup until you satisfy them.
Immediately, with the results sitting behind it, I realised, all I had to do was stick .com on the end and I don't have any of this to deal with, I was just being lazy.
I remember the early 2000s when we would press CTRL(?)+<something> to complete the www. and .com etc...
I entered the site address in the address bar and hit enter, realising I should really try to be less lazy, or at least set a book mark.
The !bang commands are DDGs killer feature. Why would you only use google when you can use google and every other searchable resource very conveniently.
[edit: link to ddg bang docs; https://duckduckgo.com/bang]
If you really want to get out of US censorship & political correctness influenced search bubble try Yandex (at least sometimes). One example: Just compare specific NSFW results in image search on these search engines. It's also a blessing to use search engines which are not that much SEO hacked as Google sometimes.
Having been a DDG user since pretty much the beginning, I watched their zero-click results evolve, and it very much looks to me like this innovation drove much of Google's current search experience.
Eh? Maybe you are saying that because they serve ads from Bing?
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DuckDuckGo :
>DuckDuckGo earns revenue by serving ads from the Yahoo-Bing search alliance network and through affiliate relationships with Amazon and eBay.
>In July 2016, DuckDuckGo officially announced the extension of its partnership with Yahoo! that brought new features to all users of the search engine, including date filtering of results and additional site links. It also partners with Bing, Yandex, and Wikipedia to produce results or make use of features offered. The company also confirmed that it does not share user information with partner companies, as has always been its policy.
With that said, I do believe they have a special deal with Microsoft to not pass along any information. Instead, the only information Microsoft sees is DDG requesting the results on behalf of the users (aka Bing/MS just sees DDG’s IP, etc. which can be seen sometimes in the results, not the knowledge card, when you search for “what’s my IP” in DDG). My one gripe though is that they’re definitely not as transparent as they could be about where and how they source results.
Maybe someone from DDG could clarify this?
DDG claims to aggregate Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex, but Yahoo switched to Bing a decade ago, and Yandex is only really relevant for Russian-localized websites.
Unfortunately getting concrete information about this is oddly difficult. Anecdotally just from comparing a couple of sample searches ddg seems to be based on Bing, but not exactly, and their own faq claims they use other sources too.
(Same story, same site, different TLD)
I tried to use DDG consistently a few months ago and didn't always get what I wanted, so I found Startpage.
I'll give DDG another try.
"I quit eating beef and switched to eat veggies only because meat is bad. Whenever veggies don't fill me up, I put beef steak in the bowl and it satisfies my hunger."
Imagine hearing that whenever the topic of vegetarian comes up. It's not very useful, and it dilutes the message.
most of the time, I have a pretty good meal out of just veggies and try to be vegan with my diet most of the time. Sometimes I want a steak or some BBQ, so I do it.
That's actually a message that a lot of my vegan friends push out, because like most things life doesn't have to be absolute. It has massively reduced my meat intake, that's for sure.
I find it is the same with google. 99% of the time ddg is a-okay, but sometimes I'm not getting an answer so I google something, and the g! thing is how I do it.
I am using substantially less google search this way... why is that a worse situation than the alternative of either just using ddg and not finding stuff or just using google and having fewer options?
>Imagine hearing that whenever the topic of vegetarian comes up. It's not very useful, and it dilutes the message.
What kind of a message does sacrificing nutrition for hunger send?
Using POST instead of GET is an option DDG provides. Startpage uses HTTP POST as well.
DDG is way better and no reason to stick with google, its gone to the dogs, just thank go we have a replacement.
It does seem to treat "torus" and all uses of "tori" as synonyms, giving lots of images of people named Tori, or taken/written by people by that name, rather than more-than-one-torus.
Google Image Search doesn't make that association between the singular and plural. You'll need to search for "filled tori" to see plenty of people named Tori.
I had assumed it was some combination of a bad synonym, partial matching, and a sort order that depended too heavily on site popularity and too little on query relevance, but the torus -> tori rewrite never even occurred to me.
It actually occurred to me that the search might be that smarty-stupid before being exposed to the idea that the plural of torus is actually the same as the proper first name of a lot of immodest image models. That made me feel a bit smarty-stupid myself.
Example for the latter: searched for "quadriplegic" recently (came up in the home assistant discussion on HN and I wanted to check if I remembered correctly what it means, not being a native English speaker). Comparing the top 10 results: Both Google and DDG bring up dictionaries. Both suggest videos about life as a quadriplegic. Google finds the wikipedia article, DDG doesn't. DDG has in spot 3, 8, 9 and 10 articles/videos about how quadriplegics have sex.
(Google also isn't perfect: way to many dictionary results IMHO, although it is set to search both German and English)