I switched a couple of times to DDG, and the first few false starts I remember coming away from that thinking Google was just better. This time around, DDG stuck. While DDG has been steadily improving, I think the quality of google results has steadily worsened significantly. The focus on top of the page answers and other changes seem to favor commerce vs information. I was recently researching home WiFi gear reviews and google was adamant that I was actually trying to buy WiFi gear. DDG has some of those results, but I also noticed that actual reviews and forum posts were returned instead of amazon and Best Buy links.
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.
Same for me. I find that Google has gotten worse for me over the last two years, and switched to duck-duck-go. It feels like Google is trying to control me and my searches more than it used to. I like my search engine being a tool, not my mom.
My hope is that one day DDG can have its own crawler to improve upon search results as well. Since atm it just tries results from different engines.
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.
I know other people have already echoed your comment, but I feel the same. About a month ago I switched from chrome and google search to firefox and ddg. After about 2 days I completely forgot I was using ddg. It just stuck.
Oh man, I so badly want to use DDG. I was actually using DDG for the past several months and just switched back to Google today. As a developer, I'm constantly searching for things and I just couldn't justify the additional 5-10 seconds it would take me to re-do a search. Say I make 100 searches/day: (.2 * 100 * 7.5)/60 = 12.5min/wk. Not to mention the disruption in flow caused by those repeat searches. I applaud DDG for what they're doing, going up against a behemoth, but I just can't seem to make it work for me.
FWIW, I prefer DDG's UI and instant answers over Google's (and DDG's !bang searches). I dislike how Google will frequently disregard words in my search queries. I only fall back to Google for extremely narrow searches for technical topics or recent events.
The frequency with which google chooses to leave out critical keywords is insane. A huge amount of my experience now with google is: search, search again with quotes because I know what I want, thanks google. Get the results, they are full of garbage.
Google Image Search has been intentionally crippled ever since the Getty vs Google lawsuit. GIS now seems to prefer showing me 'maxresdefault.jpg' YouTube thumbnails for at least 50% of results, presumably because the uploaders of those videos gave Google a license to use/distribute the work. Even for copyrighted works that still gives Google another party to blame.
My understanding of it as an outsider is that Getty Images filed a suit against Google seeking money for their images being displayed in GIS results. They later announced a settlement, and the 'View Image' button disappeared and the search result quality plummeted (my judgement) at exactly the same time. Here's some more reading:
I did a hard cut to DDG almost 4 years ago now, when I last changed jobs. I honestly haven't missed Google as a search engine, with the exception of maps/directions. If anything I've found it easier to get what I want from DDG search than Google, especially on technical subjects.
I was you a few months ago. I had tried DDG on and off for years. It is significantly better now, though I can't say it's quite as good at google. For example, searching reddit is much better done with Google.
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.
This is all that matters. For most users, privacy is simply less important than the quality of search results. DDG is toast unless they can figure out how to match or beat the quality of Google's results with 1/100th of Google's engineering capacity. They've been around for over 10 years and haven't really made much of a dent, so I don't see it happening.
> In fact, DuckDuckGo gets its results from over four hundred sources. These include hundreds of vertical sources delivering niche Instant Answers, DuckDuckBot (our crawler) and crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia, stored in our answer indexes). We also of course have more traditional links in the search results, which we also source from a variety of partners, including Verizon Media (formerly Yahoo) and Bing.
Same here. The big areas where I find DDG lacking and Google to really shine are technical questions (e.g. "what's wrong with my code, I'm getting stack trace X"), live sports coverage, and of course anything to do with maps.
I spent a winter weekend in Portland, Oregon and was surprised by thousands if crows in the sky in the evening.
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.
To be fair, the perfect google result was the #2 result in DDG. If the worst impact of using DDG is that you might have to look over and select from the first 5 results to get the same answer google gives as the first result I'm perfectly fine with that. I'm pretty used to scanning over a list of results to pick the best sources before clicking anything.
I was using a "Duck" device today for the first time, and I wanted to look up some information about it online. I typed the first words that came to mind ("duck rope pro") on Google.com, and the #1 hit is an Amazon.com page that lets me buy it. Now I know the manufacturer and full name and basics specs, and it's now easy to find the manufacturer's webpage and user manual.
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.
>I was using a "Duck" device today for the first time, and I wanted to look up some information about it online. I typed the first words that came to mind ("duck rope pro") on Google.com, and the #1 hit is an Amazon.com page that lets me buy it.
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 switched to DDG a few years ago. I think what I found was that I started being more specific in my search terms. I think its because Google has a profile about me that it applies to my searches but DDG doesn't know as much about me.
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.
The thing i really like about bangs is that i can often just assume one exists, with zero setup, across all my devices. I don't search IMDB frequently enough to bother manually adding it in a menu somewhere, but on both desktop and mobile i can do `!imdb Brad Pitt` and get directly where I intended. It also works with less common sites, like I've been using `!stardew` lately to search the Stardew Valley Wiki directly.
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)
I can type 'ama' + enter and get Amazon instantly. If I need something on wikipedia I can just search for it and the wiki page will generally be in the top 10 results from Google. As for bing... I have never knowingly or consciously used it to search for something.
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.
I don't need to apply it to all my queries, maybe only 5-10% of them. It's a big win if I can easily complete 90-95% of my online queries without needing to worry about Google. Plus I'm used to all the other bang patterns at this point.
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.
You can do your job and type two extra characters, or you could just use it for personal use and not at work. DDG is actually better than google in many cases when it comes to searching for code related things. After a month or so you start to have a sense of what sort of searches need to fall back to using !g (which is pretty much only obscure questions/answers, I find).
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.
> 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.
Personally I would absolutely consider this to be wrong.
There is only so much cognitive energy we all have during the day. You have to spend it wisely. There are certain groups of people on the fringe (early adopters, Linux desktop folks, the people who run their own mail servers, etc...) who have the willpower (and can afford!) to trudge through the transition from one tool to another. Sometimes you can see the value of that transition before you make it, and so it's easier to push through. Other times, there is no light at the end of the tunnel or it's not very bright. The same thing happens when people switch operating systems or programming languages.
So there is always a cost to switching tools. That cost is either going to pay for itself in the end or it's not. I do not see DDG ever paying for itself.
Can you please provide a list of at least 10 examples where ddg doesn‘t work for you but google does? Ideally write an additional line per item what the problem is. I use ddg and have no problems whatsoever but maybe we have a different query profile?
Jumping in here with an example, since I'm in the middle of doing this right now.... I maybe have some ID Theft issues, so I'm doing some searches to try and figure out if I can find anything that might help me answer what's going on. Did this company screw up and confuse my account with someone else or do I have a real problem? I'm doing different searches for names, locations and some other searches for very specific things. Google results are far and away better, in that they are returning things that are useful. DDG results are... different, and when compared to what I'm getting with Google, they are not as good. I don't know how much I can generalize from this one example, I don't normally compare G with DDG, but right now, G is winning. It's really interesting comparing the results though. DDG may indeed find something G didn't since the results are pretty different.
I've been switching to DDG as well and I haven't noticed my life change in any measurable way. You might be right and my results may have been better using Google, but I am willing to make that sacrifice in order to participate in a world I prefer.
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.
I use DDG as my primary engine and my habit is to search there first. I have to say, I often don't get the results I'm looking for. So, I simply "bang" out a google search immediately after using DDG search "!g [search phrase]". My coworkers chastise me for being inefficient, but hey, I see it as a small price to pay to support DDG while still getting the results I need.
It's kind of what I'm also doing
Sometimes I know that the I'll end up using google, so in those cases I just use it from the start (mainly development/coding stuff). But for daily things and personal stuff, like movies, release dates, I just use DDG
From the sound of the comments alot of people don't know how to search in DDG. I have absolutely no problem finding the information I need and would say I'm a pretty serious power user. Or I've just been using it for so long I don't know what I'm missing.
If you have to "know how to search" in DDG, e.g. do something different than your intuition (which Google handles very well), then it's simply a worse search engine.
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.
The trouble with your query is "elm" is an overloaded noun. I tried elm dict and the first few results were the definition of elm in dictionary websites which I would think was pretty reasonable (incognito Google does the same too). I guess when you do elm dict in Google, it is putting you in a filter bubble since it is tracking your previous searches so knows what is more relevant for you personally - this might be seen as a benefit, I personally see it as a reason not to use google.
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.
Ha. Yes it sounds ridiculous on it’s face. But... It’s the privacy thing I’m concerned about. If google the tool was all Google is, then I’d have no problem with it. It’s the rest of Google I have an issue with.
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.
I use Duck Duck Go and I actually find it better than Google Search (better in the sense that there's something refreshing about the results I get as opposed to the stuff I see on Google Search, I can't comment on accuracy). I never read any documentation or a blog on how to use it. Just downloaded it and started typing
To be fair, DDG also has ads. I have them enabled as I realize they have to somehow pay their bills. And the design is somewhat similar to Google's ads (pure text, no images).
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.
"It all started with a realization: Most the things I search for are easy to find. Did I really need the all-seeing, all-knowing algorithms of Google to assist me? Probably not."
"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".
As a HN user and commenter, I've found DDG just fine as a daily driver (switched nearly 2 years ago). I do occasionally have to fall back to Google, but most of my searches are served just fine by DDG.
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.
I switched from Google to DDG on my mobile due to Google AMP pages sometime last summer.
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.
100% agree with this. I switched a while ago and 98% of my searches are easily found through DDG. I use Google's search as a backup when I'm in the rare case of actually searching for something hard to find or very complex. And sometimes it's just something that can't be found or doesn't exist, even on Google. But using it as the backup is perfect.
It doesn't matter how good some results are, if the search engine manipulates the results, tracks the users, and even more so - steals the ideas and profiles the users.
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.
I have been using duckduckgo for years now and Im very satisfied. On google a lot of the search results are ads so they are most of the time useless for me. With ducduckgo I always find what Im looking for and the things I search for dont come back to haunt me in the form of ads.I feel like I have a more "clean" experience of the web. If I do a search for a smartphone I will not have ads trying to sell it to me on every other website I visit afterwards.
Sometimes DDG is better, particularly when google tries to infer intent rather than just searching for the keywords typed.
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...
I use DDG as my main search engine because I like more privacy. But to be fair I think Google is way better most of the time.
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.
I tried DDG within the last year. And I tried really hard. But I used !G about 25% of the time.
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.
DDG is great, and I use it by preference. The only thing I prefer Google for is when I want to search for something in a specific geographical location. Otherwise, I find DuckDuckGo more useful, and I wonder why others don't. Maybe it's residual search mannerisms I've retained from my Altavista days.
It's funny, because I'm finding myself using Google far more after switching to DDG years ago. At this point, more often than not the results I get in DDG make me go "oh ffs, !g", and I really wish that wasn't the case, but here we are. It used to be pretty great, now it's just... not?
I am on DDG, but I think until a search engine gets to at least 20% of the market, it won't make any difference. It's just too niche. Big G can still do whatever they want and lock in more of the internet with services like AMP.
I was a power user of those for awhile, but then I discovered that Firefox's One-Click Search Engines are more convenient, since they search the sites directly, and don't litter my Firefox search history with a remnant entries of DDG's intermediary links.
I switched my work and personal device Firefox settings to have ddg as default. I then use the !google bang to search Google if needed. Usually this is for retail queries. This simple step allows the best of both worlds, although the privacy tradeoff is there cause I'm still using Google.
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.
DDG needs to copy the Google iOS app. The search bar should be the focus of the app and not higher than the middle of the screen so it is easy to reach. Currently the best screen real estate does nothing on the DDG app. That is the only place where I haven’t switched to DDG.
>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.
As far as I know (hence I could be wrong), that’s outdated. Since Yahoo was purchased by Verizon, it is predominately Bing results with some Yahoo/Oath/Verizon Media results sprinkled in, considering it now predominantly uses Bing itself. Yandex is no longer used and Wikipedia is just part of their knowledge cards or whatever they call them, like StackOverflow is. In other words, it’s mainly Bing with DDG’s own crawler used specifically for the knowledge cards and to modify the priority of results pulled from Bing.
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.
I could be wrong, but my understanding is that when DDG sends a search request to Bing, it doesn't include the ip address of the user making the search request. The fact that I have read many articles and hn discussions of DDG, and none of them claimed that it does send the ip addresses on to Bing makes me think I am right.
This is one reason I've been trying out qwant lately over ddg. From what I can gather they generate results from their own crawler rather than relying on Bing.
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.
I'm glad that you and others are happy DDG users. I think the search engine market could use more diversity and competition. However, seeing this comment over and over again on DDG related threads is getting old. It's like saying:
"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.
Given that DDG explicitly states that they don't track you or share your search history, and that they're also listed on privacytools.io as a privacy-respecting option, what's your evidence to back up this claim?
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.
Topologically, humans are usually toruses, ignoring that the digestive tract splits into mouth and two nostrils at the caudal end.
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.
I don't get any porn results in image searched on DDG for "filled torus" when set to Moderate or Strict. I think it's fair to expect it to be on the user when searching for something online to be okay with perhaps seeing pornographic or unwanted search results when set to no filtering.
Also happens with the normal search results (both straight up porn and an odd priority for sex-related results), very peculiar.
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)