In light of the recent concern over Google's now apparent stance on privacy, which is reflected in both Eric Schmidt being quoted as saying "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place", and in their Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Deal, I think now is a better time than ever to consider the possibility that there are search engines other than Google out there.
One of them is DuckDuckGo. I have been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine for over two weeks and I can honestly say that for all of my web searching, Google is being outperformed.
Why should you try DuckDuckGo?
- Zero-click info — useful info above the links.
- Privacy — we do not track you. Google does.
- Goodies — keyboard shortcuts, answers & more
- Less spam & ads — no ads above results.
- Official sites — labeled and on top.
- Customization — change the fonts and much more.
- Search other sites — check out !bang syntax.
While these are all great, I want to highlight my biggest reasons for using DuckDuckGo.
Google tracks everything that you do. They track your search results, your web browsing history, they analyze your email to display targeted advertisement. They have tracked your WiFi signals, flu outbreaks and earthquake reports. And this touches on a good point - that tracking is not always a bad thing. However, when they're tracking and analyzing your personal searches and emails, it is.
While both DuckDuckGo and Google offer SSL encryption, which will keep your searches private from anyone in the middle - say your ISP or the rouge employee with a packet sniffer - DuckDuckGo also offers a way to prevent your search results from being shared with sites that you visit, which is enabled by default.
DuckDuckGo has an awesome number of features, not only via it's !bang syntax, but also in the way that it displays results. Need a random password? Search for "pw". Want to know your IP address? Search for "ip". A much more complete list of features can be found on their goodies page.
Google's search settings page pales in comparison to DuckDuckGo's. With DuckDuckGo, you can customize your privacy settings, look and feel settings, result settings and interface settings. You can even use URL parameters instead of cookies for your settings.
Time is money, friend
DuckDuckGo is optimized for speed. If you're looking for the characters from Stargate, why not have your search engine give you the results, instead of simply linking you to a page with the results?
Compare the following images:
With DuckDuckGo, you do not have to go to the information - it comes to you.
Look, Ma - no ads.
DuckDuckGo listens to your feedback. While few companies should cater to the needs of every client, it is nice to know that requests are not falling on deaf ears. They even have a nice, big "Give Feedback" image on their main search page.
So why not give DuckDuckGo a try? Wouldn't you like to know what an advertisement-free, private web experience feels like?