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Duck Duck Go(oose)

So I’ve been using Google for years with my loyalty to other search engines being fairly poor – just like the search engines themselves. The only one I stuck with for a length of time was the distributed search engine, Majestic 12 OffSite Link, mainly because I was part of the search team for a while.

However, recently I was introduced to Duck Duck GoOffSite Link by reddit OffSite Link.

I’ve been using it for a while now and I’ll give my view here (as well as enter the Reddit competition!)

Background

So I’ve been going off Google for a while. I like it, and the services they offer are great but was I putting to much info into one basket? Possibly. Hence when iCloud was released, I moved all my calendars, mail and contacts to iCloud. One, it made sense – easy sync for both my Mac’s and my iPhone. Secondly, it kept my details (and my friends) separate from my search results. I knew Google filtered results individually for people (Filter Bubble OffSite Link) and I wasn’t hugely keen on the idea.

Duck Duck Go promise not to filter and not to store data on it’s users meant I instantly loved the philosophy behind DDG.

Initial Impressions

So the site looks a little sparse but then that’s the direction that Google’s taken as well so it was now surprise. Play about in the settings and you can change the colour scheme and background etc so you can make the page look like you want it to. However, lets be far, who, searches from the main page much anymore? Maybe to refine a search I’ve already done but that initial search is either done using a search bar in my browser (i.e. the super bar in Chrome, the search bar in Safari or Firefox or even using Alfred OffSite Link.

Searching

Remember the refinement bit above? Refinement of search results is important – often I might not find what I’m looking for or realise I’ve missed a search term. Duck Duck Go, unlike Google recognises this and offers me a side menu to add extra keywords to my search.

This is a fantastic feature to have and one that Google would be good to use.

The red box you see at the top of the page is the one click results. Most often this seems to explain exactly what I’m searching for and I just click this link, otherwise I go searching down the list. It’s a nice touch.

Advance Uses

Duck Duck Go allows uses to not just search the Duck Duck Go enginer but using the syntax open to users, they can search specific sites such as Amazon and Youtube as well as rival search engines. A full (and long!) list can be found here OffSite Link. This is a really good feature and saves creating search engines on each new install/different browser you use (Chrome does this automatically to a degree I guess but at least it makes it easier to search more sites on Safari which doesn’t support custom searches).

Switching

If you want to switch to Duck Duck Go, then it’s fairly easy, depending on what browser you use.

On Safari, you’ll have to download the Safari Duck Duck Go extension from here OffSite Link which will add a search bar.

If you’re using Firefox, you can use the Duck Duck Go plugin which makes it selectable in your search bar – find it here OffSite Link.

Chrome – You can either use the unofficial Chrome extension or add Duck Duck Go to the Chrome search list. This can be done by searching for a term on the Duck Duck Go website and then going to your preferences and on the Basics tab – select Manage Search Engines and make Duck Duck Go you’re default. Alterantively, if it’s not there, you can add

http://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s

to the search engine list and you’re away.

Overall

The search engine manages to answer the questions I ask it, so on that front, it’s a success. Very few searches have resulted in me having to go back to Google. In fact, the only reason I seem to be using Google now is for Image searching!

It’s worth trying for a bit to see what you think but for me, it’s become the main search engine for me.

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