DuckDuckGo Search Engine

A couple of days ago I was talking about whether it was a good thing or not to trust companies that end up being too big. I mentioned Google specifically because these days they’re in the news almost as often as Facebook. I wondered if there was an alternative to some of these large companies.

Of course I already knew of one when it comes to search engines, and it’s called Duck Duck Go. It sounds like a silly name but it’s a serious search engine and fast becoming the nerds option for searches where they don’t want to be tracked by cookies. Indeed, it’s what Google used to be at the beginning; a clean interface that only does searches, with no advertising, no tracking, and sometimes more accurate results than what you might find on Google. Sometimes, that is.

You’re asking about the “more accurate” part I assume (of course you are lol). I did a test by running a search term for one of my business sites. On Google I’m not even listed in the top 100 for the term; on Duck Duck Go I came up at #22. Why I say it’s more accurate is because on Google all these sites come up that aren’t local, that somewhere on their site might have “Syracuse” listed but, because it’s a large site, they end up outranking me for the term. On The Duck (I think I’m going to call it that) it eliminated almost all of those sites, although there were still a bunch in front of me. Still, more sites that were above me were local, even if they don’t do one of the terms I mentioned, using it a much different way than I meant it.

You want to talk tracking? They have a link where they tell you how they don’t track you. They also have a privacy policy that’s much easier to understand.

Now, before you say you like something like this and will leave Google forever, there are some things you need to know. Right now it only does searches for pages. If you want to search for images, news, blogs, etc, it doesn’t do any of that. That’s why I have them side by side in my toolbar, so I can select which one I want to use for which purpose. And there seems to be some relationship between them and the Mozilla folks, but since I’m a major Firefox fan I don’t have a problem with that.

Anyway, it’s a nice alternative, and one I’ll be using more often. One can only hope that when they get bigger, and they will, that they hold true to their mission in some fashion. I will never have a problem with them adding advertising, but I don’t want to be tracked and, well, imposed upon all the time.

40 thoughts on “DuckDuckGo Search Engine”

  1. good to know! on duck duck go, my site came up #1. on google it was #3, and i’m not sure if it was 3 only because i’m searching on my pc. i’m going to try what you do, and put them side by side.

  2. never heard of duckduck go but will check it our more, i like the name itΒ΄s really easy to remember….cheers mate

  3. I’ve tried a couple of alternative search sites: Bing & DogPile spring to mind. Never heard of this one. I’ll give it a whirl. Thanks!

  4. I have been having the hardest time finding some stuff on Google lately. Here’s an example and why I think they’re losing their edge…

    I needed to know something about my truck engine last weekend. I was looking for a low pressure port on the AC, so I typed the relevant info in to Google. It was a very specific search including the truck model, engine size, and exactly which AC port I was looking for.

    The results? Junk. was at the top 3 spots, but the closest it got was someone who was asking the same question – and an empty answer spot (be the first to answer this question!)

    Next up was Wikipedia, with a history of Dodge engines. Useless and rather unrelated. Further down, I got an article about gas mileage and some Youtube videos that weren’t related to my specific questions, either.

    Anyway, I popped the same search query in to DuckDuckGo and guess what? The top result was the exact answer to my question, even though it was buried on page 17 of a 23 page forum thread.

    So why is Google losing it? Well, IMO, they’ve spent so long chasing after “authority” and “brands” that they’ve forgotten about relevancy. It’s great that Wikipedia is such a trusted authority on so many topics, but that doesn’t mean they have the *exact* topic I’m looking for, or that they have the best coverage of that topic!

    1. Thanks for your comment John, and you’re absolutely correct. Whereas it’s kind of nice having a source like Wikipedia that seems to be able to answer so many questions, if we get specific about a search then we should get what we’re searching for and not a lot of garbage in the middle. I like this DuckDuckGo thing, and it’s better than Bing because Bing mirrors Google so often that they might as well be the same search engine. And it proves that there are legitimate alternatives with goofy names. lol

  5. Interesting, just checked it out, nice clean design. Some of our sites did not come up that do on Google on page 1. Wondering how they index and how often. They also don’t seem to have page 2 and 3, page one just keeps going on? Thanks for sharing this one. Had not heard of it before πŸ™‚

    1. Lisa, I actually kind of like that they don’t have official pages because it means all you have to do is keep scrolling down and the links just show up. The thing is that it offers an alternative to people like me who worry about being tracked when I’m not expecting it and thus having all these ads show up. None on DuckDuckGo to date, and I like that.

  6. I’m running 9th on The Duck for blogging tips and 7th for just blog tips. Not too bad, I’m sure my positions will improve as they grow and improve. lol ~ Joking.

    Shouldn’t we embrace Google’s obsession to track the World and digitally bottle it up? There are some benefits to the personalized search results but you never know what’s being omitted. The Duck seems like a good alternative.

    1. Actually Brian, I’d like to have the choice, and not have the choice be their way or the highway, which is their present privacy policy. So, for them to not track me at all I have to give up my phone, Adsense, Adwords, Gmail, G+, +1’ing anyone else’s site because I liked what they wrote, YouTube, Picasa, and wherever else they’ve gotten themselves into? By the way, I don’t use all that stuff, just using it as an example. And then, because of either those things or using Google for search, that gives them the right to track me the rest of my day everywhere I go? No, I don’t think I want to fully embrace that.

      Glad the Duck is giving you some props. πŸ™‚

  7. That’s new too me, and I don’t think people will actually leave Google and go for Duck.

    1. Why not Ferb? Just asking, but when did you leave to start using Google, if you remember? We all leave something when we find something else that fits us better, and if DuckDuckGo does that for some people, they could easily convince other people to do the same.

  8. Being technical – cookies are part of internet and there will be always cookies or way of tracking results. Google tracking is more like statistical tracking and way to improve result. There are probably more than 5000 search engines, but for sure those can’t be called alternatives of major search engines and I personally doubt that major part of website is even indexed there, a good reason why small websites or blogs are ranking higher. To be honest, Google results have never been so accurate. The only downside is that Big “G” still includes Wikipedia in more than 50% of top 10 results for every possible keyword combination which I think is unnecessary.

    1. Carl, I’m not so sure they’re always so accurate. If I can’t find what I need then it’s not accurate, and I know few people that know how to search for things as good as myself. I think every search engine is an alternative, and I truly believe that one of these will one day become Google’s main competitor and that will be the day Google stops tracking us as they do. For right now though, I know that they’ll at least be tracking me much less.

      1. Google is not tracking anybody personally, this is just statistical data, Mitch. And quite sure that this information is not read by people, but other algorithms.
        Getting back to the search, do you use search operators when you can not find something?
        Alternative search engines doesn’t give any information how to optimize a website for it. As well as most of those search engines are based on free open source scripts and Google custom search API.

      2. Carl, whether it seems personal or not, they do track everywhere people go and thus that makes it personal. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track anyone; no cookies or anything. Frankly, that makes me feel a bit more secure right now. I have a post coming up that will tell something more; can’t give it up just yet.

        As to the rest, I almost always find what I’m looking for, so no problems there.

  9. Hey Mitch,

    I have used Duck Duck Go before as well, there results are quite accurate and relevant but I don’t like their scroll down the page to see more and more results. Plus sometimes I find really difficult to recognize the position of any website.

    1. Aasma, if you’re expecting it to be just like Google then it won’t live up to it. Frankly, this is what Google used to be, and so far I’m finding stuff I really want a lot quicker than on Google, other than the images.

      1. I’m not saying that DuckDuckGo should copy Google, but instead it should make easy to recognize the position of any website.

      2. Aasma, I think it does what it can. Remember, even Google didn’t do that initially, and no other search engine does it either. My feeling is that it gives you the best information available based on search criteria, and thus it is indicating what it feels are the positions of websites based on what you’ve asked for.

  10. Well, ain’t that something. Within a day of each other we both come up with a post on a new form of search engine. Out of the too mine has a name that makes more sense and also provides more information, all on the same page. Maybe you have to run that one alongside your other two πŸ˜‰

    1. Sire, yours barely makes more sense, and they’re really two totally different animals. I’m not sure wordonthewire counts as a true search engine because it’s pulling up lots of stuff that’s not quite search engine material and you can’t scroll any further than the information it gives you the first time around. If you can then I didn’t find it. It’s more of a social sharing site, which even allows you to share its link on places like Twitter and the like; certainly not a traditional search engine, though it’s kind of fun.

      Nope, DuckDuckGo is just what I need, since I can’t figure out why I’d be wanting to share my searches with anyone else in that fashion.

      1. True, but then it is still in the development stages so that may change in future updates.

        As to more pages of data, I rarely go past the first page of Google anyway.

      2. And you know I do. Matter of fact, I often have to look through anywhere from 150 to 200 links to hopefully find what I’m looking for because they give a lot of junk, and I’m hoping The Duck doesn’t ever make me have to dig that deep for anything.

  11. Very interesting, I will check this later.. Seems so good for most of the comments gives a good words about it, I will definitely try this! Thanks for sharing… πŸ™‚

  12. Never heard Duck Duck Go before. It sounds funny but I’m sure
    it does help our business.thanks for the info,we’ll check it out.

  13. Duck duck go is a lot better than Google because it shows good content compare to Google but the only problem is that world is more in touch with Google at the moment specially when Google plus arrive.

    1. That’s true Dioce, but relate it to Internet Explorer, which used to dominate the market with more than 85% of users, and now is sometimes not even #1. All it’ll take is one or two credible options for them to come back down to Earth a little bit.

  14. I did a search on “Monday Comics” on The Duck (like that name, too!) and I came up seventh for one article. In Google I’m at positions 3-6 (if you exclude the image result at the top).

    Damn you, DUCK!

    For the term “Vuze PS3”. I’m number 1 in Google and 3 on The Duck. Not bad! (but how dare official forums be recognized over my own unrelated site!? lol)

    I also ran a few local area searches on somethings I usually look for. The Duck out-performed Google handily in this area. I usually use Yahoo for local searches but I think I’ll give Duck Duck Go a shot in that arena in the future.

    1. Glad you tested it John. The thing is that it’s not going to be Google, and it’ll rank things in its own way. But it offers a legitimate option for those who are worried about being tracked everywhere.

  15. That is a handy search engine Mitch, from the few queries I submitted, the results were highly relevant, and easily the equal of Google. I guess I am showing my age, but I remember when Google was launched, and it was breath of fresh air. Engine’s like AltaVista were cluttered and spam filled. Nowadays I do think Google is too big, if a mistake is made and your sites get chucked out of the index, you are up the creek without a paddle. I’d much prefer 4-5 engines with a 20% share of the market.

    1. Richard, I feel old myself because I remember thinking at the time “what an interesting name for a search engine, learning of the word originally from Peanuts. It may not last but right now I’m enjoying The Duck.

  16. Same here. I don’t want to be tracked all the time. Do we have a choice? I’m not sure though if we can resist not being tracked in our virtual life with the mighty Google dominating the internet.


    1. Actually Margarita, there are lots of choices. There’s software out there that can mask where you are and make you virtually untrackable except for the uber-sophisticated. Thing is it can slow your computer down if you don’t have enough resources to run it all the time so that can get irritating. And Firefox has some tools that say they’re helping to block some ad companies from tracking us but I’m not sure if they’re working or not.

  17. Nice post which The Duck it eliminated almost all of those sites, although there were still a bunch in front of me. Still, more sites that were above me were local, even if they don’t do one. Thanks a lot for posting.

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