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
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?
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.