DuckDuckGo Review: An Alternative to Google

Posted 20/02/2012

Following on form Susan’s post last week on what’s wrong with Google’s personalised results I thought this would be a fitting time to point you towards DuckDuckGo – an alternative to Google that has some really cool features.

Founded by Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo positions itself as a search engine that believes privacy is paramount and never stores IP addresses or logs user information. As the concerns of Google’s recent activity rises and they push advertising and their own products (stand up Google+) in users faces more and more people are looking for alternatives.

Recent statistics have shown that an increasing number of people are turning to DuckDuckGo for their search results – so maybe it is time you gave it a go!

So here is a quick review of DuckDuckGo to get you started

Head on over to the home page (http://duckduckgo.com/) and you will see a sparse, clutter free home page (similar to Google) and all you do is fire away with your query.

You will notice a couple of things:

1. You are not bombarded with a million Adwords Ads

2. At first glance the results are very relevant

3. You get more search suggestions

DuckDuckGo SERP results

So far so good! In the age of information overload it is nice just to get a simple set of results – relevant results – that aren’t surrounded by 20 adverts, multiple sitelinks, maps, shopping results and the like. Often times I feel a little overwhelmed by Google and these kind of results are a refreshing change!

So what else about DuckDuckGo makes it different to Google and the other major search engines?

1. As mentioned earlier it is not personalised in any way – what you see is what everyone sees. If you search for ‘Hotel in London’ you aren’t going to see the hotels that your (non expert) friends have stayed in and mentioned on Google+ back in July (which they hated anyway). If you look at the screen grabs below (DuckDuckGo first followed by Google) which is easier to understand and extract information from quickly?

Google is comprehensive but do you ever get the feeling they may have gone a little far?

DuckDuckGo Results

DuckDuckGo search results page

Google Results

Information overload on Google results

2. It doesn’t have pages. Although Google have played around with this infinite scroll DuckDuckGo already has it in place. Not only does this give the sites that rank lower a better chance of getting clicked (if you don’t physically have to press page 2, 3 etc.) but gives the user a better chance to scan for the information that they are actually trying to find. Have a scroll and see what you think…

3.  It has !bang commands. It has what? I’m a geek but this is probably my favourite feature of DuckDuckGo, essentially DuckDuckGo allows you to search loads of other sites quickly from right in their interface.

Looking for Ricky Martin videos (not that you would or should!) simply enter:

Looking for direction to our office simply enter:

Looking to buy a Pauly Shore DVD (PRO Tip: you don’t really want to do this) simply enter:

I think you get the idea! There are hundreds of these !bangs available (here is the complete list) You may have to search around to find the ones that you want – but when you do you will find that is a refreshing, clutter free and productive way to search!

I really encourage you to give DuckDuckGo a try (remember you are completely anonymous on DuckDuckGo so you can search for what you want ;) and not have it stored). Let us know how you get on and what kind off experience you have in the comments below.

Recommended Reading

What is Wrong with Google Personalised Results

Google Search Personalisation

 

 
 

 
 
Comments
  1. I’m all for innovation, but I feel like a lot of the “features” in technology these days make the assumption the user is an idiot, and actually make things harder to use. I’m always looking for better alternatives. I switched to DuckDuckGo in January 2012; so far it’s been a great alternative to Google. The only thing I really miss is the image search feature, but other than that, I find it much more user friendly. The way everything is laid out is perfect. I need to get into the habit of using the !bang commands more.

    Not only was Google’s privacy policy worrying me, but all of the features were driving me batty. I turned off Google Instant and the local search results (which were annoying), but I still had to deal with it automatically “correcting” my searches so they weren’t what I was trying to search for, or including vaguely related words in my search… which also were not what I was trying to search for. I shouldn’t have to do the same basic search two or three times just to get what I want. Sometimes simpler is so much better.

    Laura

    • Hi Laura,

      Thanks for your commments. Although I am still a constant user of Google I have recently found myself going to alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo for certain research. Google originally took a stand for simplicity and yet some of the results pages are far to cluttered.

      I do recommend that you spend more time with the !bang commands – I have the printed list by my desk and am (slowly) trying to remember all the important ones!

      Wayne Barker

  2. For the last couple of years my site wasn’t ranking well on Google… Today I learnt about the Duck and FMD my site is right up there!! Google can go stick a pole right up its fat corp rear end ….
    The more internet users start using http://duckduckgo.com the free’ier the internet will become (just like it was intended to be)

    Go Ducky GO !!

    Chook

  3. I am so happy to hear that there is a new and improved site that I can go to, I also am tired of Google storing all of the things that I look up and having to weed out all of the minute things I dont want to know just to get to the simplicty of one little fact. I am all for the Duck!!! :) Go duck go!! May you surpass all that Google ever has!

    lula

  4. DDG is impossible top remove from my computer; It keeps intruding into my browser, and is just like a virus. I cannot locate the point of infection even with mega searches, so I can’t erase the brute.

    Anyone been able to remove it fully from their computer?

    Deejay O'Brien

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