The DuckDuckGo search engine has one major advantage over Google: it never stores your personal information. If privacy is a concern to you, then consider giving DuckDuckGo a spin.

As a follow up to my post about what Google knows about you, I thought it would be appropriate to share details of the search engine DuckDuckGo.

Founded in 2008 with 93 employees, DuckDuckGo has created a search engine to challenge Google. Coincidentally, the company is based just a few miles from my own home town in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in the USA.

DuckDuckGo’s USP is its privacy pledge:  it doesn’t collect, store, share any personal data. It doesn’t track or store your search history. It’s doesn’t sell your personal data or make it available to advertisers. It blocks advertising trackers.

It is fully committed to privacy protection, and in addition to the search engine, Duck Duck go also provides training and education, as well as tools to help protect your privacy.

In terms of its size, DuckDuckGo gets about 65 million searches per day which is small beer compared to Google’s 92% global market share amounting to 3.5 billion searches per day. Stat Counter’s WorldWide Search Engine Market Share slips DuckDuckGo into the “Other” bucket.

But this small but mighty search engine is working hard to raise its profile, and I spotted this (rather tatty) billboard here in Nottingham, UK:

Duck Duck Go Billboard Nottingham UK

What is different about DuckDuckGo?

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.

I thought I would run a side by side comparison for the phrase “remortgage” and highlight some of the differences in how the results are presented between Google and DuckDuckGo.

1. Fewer ads

For the search phrase remortgage, Duck Duck Go has two ads at the top of the page (powered by Microsoft’s ad network,) with the first organic result being Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert’s advice and guidance post about remortgaging:

duck duck go ads

By way of comparison, Google’s top 4 results are advertisements, with a further 3 advertisements at the bottom of the page.  Thee top organic result is being the mortgage sales site MoneySupermarket.com, and the page dominated by “People Also Ask” suggestions
google remortgage

3. The DuckDuckGo search results are not personalised

A search on Google brings up results that are personalised in a number of ways, based on

  • your location
  • your search and browsing history
  • the information Google knows about you
  • the other Google products you use

Duck Duck Go does not personalise the results in any way. This, of course, is great for your protecting your privacy, but keep in mind there might be tradeoffs.

There is a very useful option to enable your location to personalise local searches find businesses closer to you.

duck duck go set your location

 

 

4. The DuckDuckGo experience is different

And there are some small things you might really like about Duck Duck Go… or you may find you don’t like so much

DuckDuckGo has the option of infinite scroll, meaning no clicking through to the next page to see the next 10 results.  I really like that

You have the option to turn off advertising entirely,  but do keep in mind that reduces the funding Duck Duck Go needs to continue to innovate and improve.

You have a huge amount of flexibility to control how the page displays from choosing your own fonts to setting your colour scheme, and even deciding if you want the URL to appear above or below the snippet:

below

above

5. DuckDuckGo Bang Commands

Now moving into the real geeky search space: Duck Duck Go makes use of “bang commands” which are shortcuts to take you to search results on other sites.

“Bang” by the way is geek speak for exclamation mark or exclamation point.

For example, if you want to search Twitter  just search preface your search for the bang for Twitter, which happens to be the letters !tw followed by your key phrase:

duck duck go twiter search

I think you get the idea. There are more than a thousand 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.

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