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DuckDuckGo vs Google

DuckDuckGo, a new rival on the horizon?

Google has been the unchallenged king of search engines for a long time. Many came and tried to put a dent in its reach (remember Bing) and stumbled. However DuckDuckGo was a year back a whisper we used to often hear. It was a small outfit, which seemed likely to disappear into oblivion like many others, but it has survived and its appeal is on the rise. So what is special about DuckDuckGo?

On its very homepage DuckDuckGo promises you that your searches are not going to be tracked and no targeted ads. This is quite valuable for many who are getting wary of Google omnipresence and a bit fedup of all the news regarding Google and tax evasion scandals. DuckDuckGo’s main ethos is that it will not track you and it takes this very seriously. When you download the mobile app you will see that the app has a very simple and flexible set of privacy settings, quite a step up from Google’s Accounts and Privacy settings.  Also in light of rising privacy concerns DuckDuckGo has an option to enable Tor.  So in short you can search in places where Google won’t take you.

DuckDuckGo and its Bangs

DuckDuckGo comes with one of the best feature called “bangs”. Each website has its own search function. But what if you could just go to their search results from DuckDuckGo homepage? Yes, that is just what “Bangs” let you do.

Simply start with an exclamation mark and write the website’s name that you want to search.

So if I write “!Amazon Marvel Comics”, I will go straight to the search results for “marvel comics” on Amazon. There are currently over 7,800 websites which can be searched via bangs. And the best part is that since DuckDuckGo is a open-source project, you can fill a form and request for the adding of a website that is not covered.

A good thing about these bangs is that they can be used to get Google’s search results too, without all of Google’s  tracking. So you can have the best of both worlds; DuckDuckGo’s privacy and Google accurate results.

The places where Google wins over DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is pretty cool with its Bang features and the promise of safeguarding our privacy but that privacy comes at a cost.

Google tracks a lot of our activity and in return it can deliver results with almost an intuition (it sort of knows what you are trying to search for even with the most jumbled up keywords) and amazing accuracy.  The same results cannot be achieved from DuckDuckGo. This is especially true for searches, which are local in nature. But this is a trade-off. Are you willing for your searches and browsing habits be tracked in exchange for accurate results?

DuckDuckGo is a pretty good search engine, and if you are willing to change your searching habits, that is giving more detailed keywords, in exchange for greater privacy than it’s a pretty good option for you. Also as mentioned above, DuckDuckGo is an open source project, so you can contribute more to get more out of it.

Oh and in the end I must tell you, the equivalent of “Google it” is a “Quick Duck”, when talking about DuckDuckGo.


Author: Tahir Ashraf

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