Last year, I switched to DuckDuckGo for my primary search engine, in all browsers (Mac, iOS, Windows). I have tried to do it before, but the results were not quite there.
After using it for a almost a year now, I do think it is ready for being primary search engine.
There are two main reasons for using DuckDuckGo.
- Help break the monopoly
Google is dominating search industry over 90% market share, while also collecting all the possible data about that. I think it is extremely healthy to have competitors in this space.
DuckDuckGo does not collect any private data, and this is a big deal for me. It is not very nice thing that some company is in control of everything you have ever searched for.
As for ads, both of them do have ads. The big difference is that with google everything is linked to your profile and email, while DuckDuckGo does not track you through ads.
Before DuckDuckGo used to be bad for certain things such as programming answers and Japanese searches, but I think it’s improved a lot in those.
It even has very handy Japan on/off switch for regional search results, presumably changing based on the country you are in.
It does have similar images, videos and news searches to Google, and . The map links are to OpenStreetMap instead of Google Maps. It might be inferior to Google Maps, but same privacy principle applies.
With Google, all the links are routed through google.com url forwarder to get all the data they want. With DuckDuckGo the links are directly to the site. It’s nice to be able to right click the link and copy the actual link
instead of this kind of shit
And if I don’t get proper search results, I can always just type google.com and search through that. Lately I haven’t had to do that more than maybe 2-3 times a week.
Google’s deteriorating search results
There has been articles about google forgetting search results, and I have noticed something similar before.
I also think that google has lots of bad results lately, and often ignore the long tail. You usually just get the big articles in major news outlets. Just try to see page 3 of some query and you might get some automatically aggregated same content again and again on spammy sites.
For things that you search often, you just the same results always, which can be good or not. I often don’t want and resort to using private window/another browser. I think this is the sad thing about AI and personalization. If you like X once, in future you get more X, but never Y.
I haven’t done any extensive research whether this is better in DuckDuckGo, but it’s at least nice to get something different.
How to switch?
Just change your default search engine into DuckDuckGo. Any browser supports that, even on smartphones.
You can find more info here: https://duckduckgo.com/
At first you might see some unfamiliarity, but in some time you might get fresh look for results. It might, or might not work well for your purposes, but you should give it a try at least.