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DuckDuckGo grew more than 70% this year (qz.com)
385 points by nichodges on Dec 18, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 183 comments

> “Our biggest challenge is that most people have not heard of us,” Weinberg says. “We very much want to break out into the mainstream.”

It won't help at all if more people get to know of DDG and then leave it after a single trial because the results are not great.

I value privacy a lot and want something like DDG to succeed and become really big, but I get frustrated very often with DDG. I know many people are very happy with the results from DDG. For most of my searches though (on technical and other matters), I end up doing a second search on Start Page or Google because DDG still does not have search by date and the search results are nowhere close to Google.

I do have and use DDG as my default search engine in the hope that DDG keeps analyzing the volume of !s or !g queries as an indicator of how much DDG is lacking and takes action to improve it.

FWIW, DDG search in my experience has gotten vastly better in the past year or so. It used to be that 90% of my searches ended up repeated with !g to go to google, but nowadys I'd guess that's like 30%, and even among those, half the time google's answer quality ends up the same.

The only cases where Google is predictably and consistenly superior are 1. error/diagnostic messages: DDG still sucks at precision search, and quotes are not always the answer; 2. queries that require Natural Language Processing: Google understands stuff like "the bad moustache guy from XYZ series" where I myself have only a vague idea of what I'm looking for.

And oftentimes the Instant Answers end up offsetting somewhat poorer quality of results, so kudos to DDG for coming up with those.

(None of this is meant to disqualify your experience though, just expressing my own joy at their results having improved for my use case.)

I last tried DDG a few years ago and couldn't get anything done at all as the results were simply not what I needed (PHP / Laravel / WordPress development).

Your comment made me try it again today and after several hours of using it I can definitely say it has vastly improved in results for my particular use case.

While a few hours are obviously not a huge metric it's still satisfying enough so I have switched it to default for now and we'll see how it goes.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Thanks for your feedback pixard, glad to hear you've seen the improvements. While you're right a few hours does not a huge metric make, it's also awesome to hear that the changes were that noticeable.

We've added a new feedback tool in the bottom right of the results page, we encourage you to let us know when results aren't up to snuff (or when we really nail it!)

Also be sure to check out the bangs (https://duckduckgo.com/bang) and settings which can be saved to the cloud or via URL using the bookmarklet tool button (https://duckduckgo.com/settings). Those are some favorite features of a lot of our long time users that we feel really add to the experience.

DDG search in my experience has gotten vastly better in the past year or so.

Had the exact same impression. There are numerous threads on HN involving DDG in the last couple of years and in more than one of them I complained about the results, but slowly yet steadily there are always less reasons to complain it seems. DDG does not yet find everything as quick as I'd want it to but when my go-to would be !g in the past I'm now starting to notice I use it much less (say only 1 out of 20 searches) and when I do chances are high google won't find what I want either, it usually just comes up with the same results but in 'better' order.

Hey Stinos,

Thanks for the feedback - part of the changes you've noticed are simply due to the fact that we do read threads like this, and we do encourage users to send/share their feedback and examples of where we haven't hit the mark for them; and then actively try and improve that experience.

We've recently streamlined this process by adding a feedback tool on the bottom right of the results page. If you feel we don't quite show the results/experience you were expecting (or if we really really nail it) then we encourage you to share that feedback with us! You can opt-in to how much detail you provide, and as always we don't collect, store and share personally identifiable details.

Thanks for your continued support!

by adding a feedback tool on the bottom right of the result

Shame on me, didn't notice this. But thanks for pointing to it: I'll definitely put this to use.

>FWIW, DDG search in my experience has gotten vastly better in the past year or so.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same.

As someone from a smaller and non-English-speaking country, I doubt there'll ever be an effort to improve their results for my language and considering that even Bing does an absolutely terrible job at it, Google is my only choice for when doing local searches.

It's like all search engines apart from Google are stuck 20 years in the past with how bad they are.

This could probably be fairly generalized to "90% of Silly Valley lacks internationalisation experience"... I type this as an Aussie/German/Kiwi on a Thai keyboard (desktop; normally I'm on a French Macbook Pro) here in southwest China.

Hi Temp,

Can you share the region/language you're using and a few sample queries? Feel free to email me at adam@duckduckgo.com if you don't want to share them publicly. We're always looking to improve, and get an understanding of where we're lacking.

We know in this industry there are a lot of challenges surrounding localization and so concrete examples really help!

> 1. error/diagnostic messages: DDG still sucks at precision search, and quotes are not always the answer

Wow _this_ is interesting to hear. I would've thought that this would be the main area where the quality gap would be smallest, since there's such little wiggle room and most results are likely to be relevant. I wonder why this is the case.

> 2. queries that require Natural Language Processing: Google understands stuff like "the bad moustache guy from XYZ series" where I myself have only a vague idea of what I'm looking for.

I suspect that Google has been trained by a bunch of people who just don't know how to search, and that's why natural language works and the + operator failed. Have a look at Reddit's "Tip of my tongue" subreddit for examples.


Doesn't mention that it's a live action movie; doesn't give any clue about time; doesn't mention that it's (probably) an American film; doesn't mention genre of the movie; etc.


It's a pop song. About moving west. Maybe from Georgia.


> I remember this guy who went out to the woods for the day. The guy was pretty young, I want to say late teens. He made some lunch for himself and then got lost on the way back. I found the video on reddit 1 or 2 years ago. The video production style is very Survivorman-esque if that helps at all.

I haven't carefully selected these. I just grabbed a few from New.

About the + operator. Check my math, but only 1 in 600 searches used it correctly. Another 2 in 600 searches used it, but used it incorrectly.


> In the past, we provided users with the “+” operator to help you search for specific terms. However, we found that users typed the “+” operator in less than half a percent of all searches, and two thirds of the time, it was used incorrectly. A couple of weeks ago we removed the “+” operator, encouraging the use of the double quotes, which are more likely to be used correctly.

I'm not sure what DDG is supposed to do here. Are they supposed to target "power users"? People who know what AND and OR and + and "exact phrase" mean? Because that's a niche audience. It would mean DDG is loved by a small group of people, but never breaks into mainstream use.

> I suspect that Google has been trained by a bunch of people who just don't know how to search, and that's why natural language works and the + operator failed. Have a look at Reddit's "Tip of my tongue" subreddit for examples.

I get where you are coming from, but I'm 99% sure it's not just this. I've searched for extremely vague things such as "that movie where there's one guy that shouts funny catchphrase all the time" and was amazed when the first result was the Wikipedia entry for the specific movie I was looking for, even though the Wikipedia entry didn't mention the specific trait being searched. Google really does do natural language processing on the queries.

I use DDG for 100% of searches, and never end up using !g anymore. (It took a while to disentangle how much I'd equated result quality with "formatted exactly like Google results".)

But unfortunately, I still end up using !maps for all my map searches, because 1) DDG defaults to Bing, so no, and 2) DDG doesn't automatically parse anything like "$ADDRESS1 to $ADDRESS2" and provide directions. It'd be nice if DDG managed to get sensible first-party maps and routing, either via OSM data or direct map data licensing.

The issue with DDG : 90% of my queries ends with '!g'.

Most of DDG is awesome[1], except for the results, they set you back to the copernic era.

Very often Google suggestions are already part of the answers I'm looking for. DDG first page is often off point.

I feel tangible frustration every time I use it. Just using a browser not configured with DDG makes me feel calmer.

[1] business reality check, so often I complain about Google UI, layout and stuff. DDG has all of this, lean ui, settings, shortcuts ... but it doesn't matter.

DDG staff here. Thanks for sticking with us. The time/date filtering is being worked on - hopefully we can release it soon. That should make a lot of people happy.

For quality of results, I'm biased but I've found they have improved thanks to a lot of feedback from users providing specific queries that could be investigated one-by-one. There's now a feedback button (desktop only) so if you're able to give more examples of bad results that will help improve further.

I use DDG because of custom search 'bangs'. I have gotten rid of a whole bookmark sub folder of custom keyword searches.

When I want google, which is less and less often, I just add a '!g' to my search. I doubt DDG will ever catchup to the Big G, but It works.

Is that similar to Chrome's "search engines"? They work really well, and I tend to use google's "site:" filter to search sites that have awful search capabilities.

Yes, and also similar to Firefox bookmark keywords.

e.g. a Chrome search engine or Firefox bookmark with URL "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=%s" and keyword "wp" will return the Wikipedia page for Hacker News if you search "wp Hacker News".

Also works for stuff other than searches, e.g. "https://www.reddit.com/r/%s" with keyword "rr" to quickly navigate to the Hacker News subreddit with "rr hackernews".

Chrome automatically adds search engines, while Firefox requires a bit more manual work: https://support.mozilla.org/kb/how-search-from-address-bar

The "!Bang" feature allows you to redirect your searches. For example:

"!w Sam Altman' would instantly return you to the wikipedia page on Sam Altman.

And, "!Amazon shoes" would instantly return you to the Amazon search result page for shoes.

We've got over 7500 !Bangs currently and users can request to add them for any site https://duckduckgo.com/bang - just like our community efforts in 'Instant Answers' on our duckduckhack.com platform, this community driven experience allows you to get involved and shape a search experience you want to see.

If you enjoy DDG (I love it!) consider helping create Instant Answers: https://www.gitbook.com/book/talsraviv/duckduckhackdocs/deta...

(there's a Slack team for this as well)

If any devs would like to join that Slack team please send a mail (empty body is fine) to quackslack@duckduckgo.com and we'll send you an invite.

As some folks have mentioned we're constantly improving our results but one of the best things is when we have a specific results case.

So if you have a result that didn't work for you - share the specific case in our feedback tool or by shooting our team an email (mine is adam@duckduckgo.com). One thing that separates us is the fact that you can get involved in our community, build out instant answers, give us feedback on searches that actually gets integrated and shape a great search experience.

Thanks for the feedback though!

Thanks for the information about the feedback button. I had never noticed it at all!

When people search, they look at the search box and then at what's below it, which tends to be always on the top and towards the left of the screen. Whatever's in the middle or bottom as well as on the right tends to get ignored.

I'd suggest putting the Send Feedback button right below the search box when you display the results so that more people notice it. I've just sent a feedback about this through the Send Feedback button.

I sometimes use !g to fallback to google. But the vast majority of searches, I don't do that. And when I do, I'd estimate that probably 80% of the time, Google doesn't have any better results.

Google usually only has better results when I'm searching for some highly-specific tech thing that is still esoteric enough for DDG to not find it, and I credit that largely to the fact that Google has the filter bubble (which I explicitly try to avoid by using DDG). Beyond that, Google typically has better results for topical searches than DDG does, but I don't do those very often.

> I end up doing a second search on Start Page or Google because DDG still does not have search by date

!gday, !gmonth and !gyear are my main 'exit path' from DDG. I also have a good deal of "site:foo.com !g". Otherwise, I've been reasonably happy with it for the last eight months.

I don't think people realize that DuckDuckGo is a meta search engine, they don't have their own algorithm. Instead they are using whatever is cheapest at the moment. It's very hard to get better results if you can't modify the algorithms core logic.

edit: okay maybe cheapest is a wrong word, the more correct term would be best price/result ratio.

Some time ago they were using Yandex as their result provider, at the moment I don't know who their provider is but I think that could be found by browsing through the about us pages (or not as now they are so big they can negotiate deal where they don't have to disclose their source).

(edit: this is what they disclose at https://duck.co/help/results/sources)

> 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 primarily source from Yahoo!, and in some regions and scenarios, Yandex and Bing.

Why use DDG at all if you're using Startpage/Ixquick?

I get frustrated very often with DDG

I get frustrated with Google (I don't use DDG much, so I'm not that familiar with the limitations). Google has repeatedly crippled search, made it worse than it was.

E.g. you used to be able to say +yesIwantthis and your results definitely included that word. Now, not so much. It's now something to do with Google+. Now, you can't force Google to truly include particular words. You can try, but I don't think it always works. E.g. you can say "yes" "search" "all" "these" "words", and maybe it will and maybe it won't.

Advanced search has definitely gotten worse. Frankly its at the point that I'd be willing to pay someone $10/mo to get a search engine that's a) good and b) truly gives me control.

Meet the new Google, worse than the old Google.

They added a "Verbatim" mode to force all search terms to appear (in the "Search Tools" bar, click "All results" and change it to "Verbatim"). But it's all-or-nothing; it can't be applied to individual terms. It also can't be combined with the timespan searches; changing one resets the other. The old syntax with + was definitely more useful.

Am I nuts, or has DDG been around for a very long time? Wikipedia says it started in 2008, but for some reason it's lodged in my mind along with Excite, Alta-Vista, AskJeeves and the other pre-Google search engines.

https://duckduckgo.com/about says "DuckDuckGo began as an idea" on February 29, 2008, and on September 25, 2008 "DuckDuckGo was announced to the Hacker News and reddit communities".

FWIW, here's the original HN announcement - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=315142 .

You weren't thinking of Dogpile were you? That was a pre Google meta search engine that sent your query to multiple search engines.

metacrawler was another and was what I used prior to Google. Amusingly, it now forwards to a site powered by dogpile.

I was planning on moving to the DDG on my phone because Google Search it's unbearable (or Now or whatever the heck that app is now) and their mobile app sucks. It tries to be a web browser when I just wanted a search engine, I'm perfectly content with my mobile browser. It surprised me that MS Bing also suffers from this (yes, I was that desperately to stop using google search on my mobile). It's ridiculous.

Most of the comments here are complaining that, while people like the idea of DDG, the search results are poor. Two comments regarding that:

1) the only way DDG is going to improve search results is by you using it regularly. Using it regularly drives not only revenue, allowing them to hire additional developers, but it also drives feedback to help DDG improve search results.

2) I suspect that the difference in search results may partly be conditioned responses. We are accustomed to what we find through Google, so when DDG presents something that looks different (e.g. showing a different answers site that has the exact same result), we feel uncomfortable and think it's not what we want. I think this is just something that takes time to adjust to, but also something DDG needs to think about how try to figure out how to overcome.

I think an unavoidable conclusion is that while people may like privacy or some other benefit/function, they are rarely willing to take a hit on the main benefit/function (search results) to get it. It think this is an important thing to learn here as it applies in many cases.

Maybe everyone complains about bad behaviour of their insurance company, but that does not mean they'll take a higher premium. Some people care about autonomy at work, but most will not take a lower salary to get it. People care about the ethics of manufacturing phones, but they won't take a phone that represents a compromise.

There's something here about "consumer" psychology and choices that is hard to capture in the concrete terms economists like to formalize using. I think there are usually some very basic main points that people make decisions based on and some secondary points that people don't make decisions based on. The secondary ones may be the ones they talk about more or care about more, but not in a way that affects their choices.

I think you're fundamentally right, when considering the benefits DDG vs Google offer today, at a static point in time. Remember, however, that the world is dynamic and constantly changing, and things like the Snowden leaks change how much we/consumers value privacy vs easy of use (and certainly factors that affect things in Google's favor can happen too!). I am guessing that most people who get screwed over by their insurance company, even once, are willing to pay a higher premium in the future (assuming they can afford it after suffering the financial damage caused by said insurance company refusing to pay).

My original point was that things are changing, DDG is improving, and some things are purely perception issues. We like to talk about companies and markets in terms of battles, with concrete winners and losers coming out at the end of the day, but things are always changing. Google is the clear winner today (but also had a 10 year head start), but it may or may not always be that way.

>Maybe everyone complains about bad behaviour of their insurance company, but that does not mean they'll take a higher premium


>There's something here about "consumer" psychology and choices that is hard to capture in the concrete terms economists like to formalize using.

That some/most economists like to use. There is a huge field in economics (and econophysics and stuff) that focused on actual irrational behaviour (like trend-following, trying to time the market, predicting the 'mood' of the market). I find this a very interesting field of study. My god the rational agent model is so bloody stupid but it makes calculations feasible, that's literally the only reason we use it nowadays ...

There is one thing you can't buy. You can't buy love*

* with exceptions of course

"My god the rational agent model is so bloody stupid but it makes calculations feasible, that's literally the only reason we use it nowadays ..."

I find myself surprisingly often having to remind people that a world in which 64GB of RAM, 16 cores, a dozen terabytes of storage, and programming environments that let people harness all of these things, can all come out to a budget within reach of a middle-class individual who really wants it, is a VERY recent development, one still sinking in to the rest of the world. Rational agents have really always been known to be false, but good luck in 1980 getting an economist to write any sort of simulation of 100 million agents doing something slightly irrational to see what happens. They're going to face some pretty stiff competition for the supercomputer time that would represent... and the supercomputer in question would still be grossly underpowered compared to modern systems, so it would take some clever programming too.

Even as clock speeds may have frozen, even in the last 5 years there has been a noticeable drop in the price of computing power.

Beating up past economists for using the rational agent model is like getting beaten by people 50 years in our future for not just using AIs to solve problems, just because the phone in their pocket is populated by a couple dozen human-intelligent entities running locally, to say nothing of the civilization in "the cloud".

Agents are not just irrational, but also acting with limited information and limited computation. Amusingly, we have trouble getting a few hundred agents to act reasonably in RTS games, modeling 100's of millions of people for long periods of time is just shy of ludicrous.

But if you want to make pronouncements about how irrational agents actually act, a prerequisite to having any sort of scientific confidence.

People on HN, not being economists and usually in a polemical mood when this topic comes up, generally strike me as thinking that "people are not entirely rational -> people are entirely irrational -> all possible theories of economics have now collapsed to the very simple thing I already believed", especially convenient when the latter amounts to "the benevolent state should manage everything because people are dumb". ("And let's not think about the fact the benevolent state itself is made out of people.") But that's wrong; humans are not "generally" irrational, they are specifically irrational in very human ways, and the introduction of non-rational agents greatly expands the possibility space of economic theories, it does not contract it to an obvious point.

You could narrow it back down to roughly the same sized space as we started with if you could precisely characterize the exact ways in which the agents are irrational, but we can not currently do that. There's a long history of the very irrationality of humans getting in the way of determining what behaviors are irrational! Or, in other words, it is not necessarily obvious what is irrational. A simple example is loss aversion; is it irrational? Well, when you consider that in the real world, "0" can mean "starving to death", suddenly taking small, safe bets in preference to large, unsafe bets even when the latter nominally has a larger expected payoff can end up being rational, inasmuch as the former actually results in a longer expected lifespan. Determining "rational" is really quite hard, and I rather expect more "human irrationalities" to be determined to be "more rational than the putatively-rational simpler model" in the future. Along with a heavy dose of "yes, this is irrational, and we have this in the species because it was harmless up to about 100 years ago".

You can't map irrationalities to macroeconomics with anything less than this scale of simulation; the entire point of the rational agent was to make simple equations model things, the very point of abandoning that model is recognizing that the economy can only be modeled by more complicated models that aren't captured by those equations.

Unfortunately, the universe does not have a law in it that says we will have the power to know what it is we want to know in any practical manner.

And 100s of millions was just an example. Just as rough in the 1980s would have been the lack of practical programming environments. You can still do 100,000 agents today with a reasonable amount of state in a simply NumPy script that runs on your local desktop. That was not true up until fairly recently, because there would have been no solution as powerful as NumPy running on modern hardware.

You missed my point. It's not enough to model a persons bias, you also need to model what they know, when they learned it etc. This information flow has massive scaling problems.

100,000 agents is at least 1 million times easier than 100 million agents and you can't parallelize the problem very well due to speed of light propagation issues.

However, 100,000 agents is enough to do a lot of interesting research.

Former Uruguay president Mujica has some thoughts on your last statement regarding things you can't buy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JXMpQf2XyE)

Thanks. That is a very valuable statement. Something to keep in mind!

Actually people not switching products because they still like one of the major features (being cheap in the insurance case or having personalized results in the Google case) is perfectly compatible with old school economics and the rational agent model.

The reason people complain is simple. They don't actually want to switch to any of the alternatives so they want their current choice to be fixed.

> That some/most economists like to use. There is a huge field in economics (and econophysics and stuff) that focused on actual irrational behaviour (like trend-following, trying to time the market, predicting the 'mood' of the market)

Behavioral economics is really interesting, yes, but this isn't even an example of irrational behavior (in the technical meaning of "rational").

What a consumer says they want isn't necessarily the same as what they do want, as determined by their revealed preferences (ie, what they do with their actions). If those are self-consistent, the behavior is rational, even if it contradicts what they say they want.

And home-grown tomatoes.

It's like people buying beats audio headphones.

Well biggest problem for me with DDG that it does not track me or basic tracking does not cut it.

Maybe I do not like some policies about users of big players, though some intelligence about the user makes service much better (extent of tracking is another question/rant).

I am not from USA, and 30-50% of my searches are not in english and not some international terms. So when I search for something in my country and spelling of that something is the same with not what I am looking for completely on the other side of the globe, DDG becomes completely useless.

Now, I know, DDG can specify where I am (or I can tell it), but the thing is that it still does not work, as I expect.

Also DDG does not work as well (as Google) with some words/terms (e.g. python - snake/programming language). When I am browsing google will know that by `python` I mean programming language, and when my sister browses it means snake.

Maybe you are right, that later it would do better, but for now DDG just does not cut it, and I have been trying to use it for probably 4 years. I try it once in a while and see it getting better, though no near as good as I want and alternatives offer.

Hi Trymas,

Thanks for the feedback - I'd be interested in hearing what language you're searching in. We've taken huge strides this past year in international language, and this is something that will continue to improve, but we always love to know where our weak points are!

As far as the 'python' example, the reason you are experiencing this is two fold. Part of it stems from our approach to not filter bubbling users (http://dontbubble.us/) and of course from the fact we don't record anything about you.

You're totally right that if you search 'python' on Google you'd get info about the programming language, and if my biologist friend searched it on Google she'd see the snake.

On DuckDuckGo that wouldn't be the case (in fact if you search python on DuckDuckGo you get the programming language and nothing about the snake) but a search like 'python food' would return results about the snake.

When we remove filter bubbles and user profiles, search relies a lot more on context, and may expose additional results - it is a different style of searching and one we are trying to continue to improve - and we're really thankful for people who continue to give us a try and give feedback.

We also know that sometimes other varieties of search are what you need and that's why we let you use !Bangs (https://duckduckgo.com/bang) via both our search bar and the URL bar if we're you're default, that re-direct your search to over 7000 different sites!

Thanks for your continued support!

> Maybe I do not like some policies about users of big players, though some intelligence about the user makes service much better (extent of tracking is another question/rant).

This is a double-edged sword.

I've had an issue with Google over-personalizing my search queries to the point they become useless. E.g. I was searching for some technical documentation about SIMD intrinsics, and three out of five top results were stuff written by me (HN comments and such). Certainly not what I was looking for.

Overall, I think that all the blogspam and SEO crap in the world has made web search a more difficult problem than what it was in the early days of PageRank. In my experiences with both, Google and DDG, search results seem to be getting less and less useful year after year.

DDG has a "local search" switch on the top right corner of your search results. It seems to know where you are, you just have to ask for it.

> Now, I know, DDG can specify where I am (or I can tell it), but the thing is that it still does not work, as I expect.

I know that this feature exists, but it does not cut it.

> 2) I suspect that the difference in search results may partly be conditioned responses. We are accustomed to what we find through Google, so when DDG presents something that looks different

It's not just that.

When you search with DDG you may need to structure your search differently than you would do when searching with Google.

People are just so accustomed to using Google-optimized search queries that they don't even consider that they are Google-optimized and thus they don't realize how unreasonable they are when they expect Google-optimized queries to yield equal or better results in non-Google products.

Let me put it the other way: If I use my regular DDG search-terms in Google I get poorer results than I get in DDG, is that Google's fault?

I've been using DDG for almost 2 years, and have never, ever had this issue, unless you consider that when I search for something, I may not find it on the first query, I revise my search query, and search again. This revision process happens with Google searches too, and I'm not convinced I do it any more often, on average with DDG, than I did with Google. I also do lots of technical searches to find programming related information, which other commenters here mentioned was one area DDG was lacking.

In a possible unfair but nonetheless relevant way, yes it is their fault.

Whether it's the intuitive way to ask a search engine a question or just a way that has become intuitive through using googe, it's how people interact with DDG. It doesn't make a difference in any practical way if that intuition has been formed over time by interacting with Google.

If you are inventing a new alternative to spreadsheets, most of your users intuitions will have been informed by excel. You'll need to live/deal with that,

I think there might be a deeper problem. One reason to use DuckDuckGo is to avoid the tracking and data collection that google does. But if that data collection allows Google to provide better search results, e.g. localised results tailored for the user, there is no way for DDG to compete (on search results at least).

People can't add their location in the search terms?

Well lazy users (including myself) do not want to always add some text for their country/language/city. Basically, everyone not from US would need to add their location.

You don't need to, you can activate the region button on the top right [0].

It's not the same as Google, but it's good enough in many cases.

[0] https://duck.co/help/settings/regions

Yes, I do know about that but it still fails.

E.g. I live in country `x` and set my region correctly. I search for `foobarbaz` which is some thing in my country. Though in country `y` there's also a thing called `foobarbaz` and apparently this thing in country `y` is either much more popular of that country is much bigger, so I can't find `foobarbaz` in my country, or I must look deeper into other pages.

Google now works so good, that I do not need to scroll for 9 times out of 10 and almost never go to other pages, whereas with DDG probably 1/3 of local searches ended up in looking in other pages.

Hi Trymas,

Feel free to forward this case to me at adam@duckduckgo.com and I can log it internally. The region toggle has gotten pretty good but we understand there will be fringe cases that need to be looked into - and small cases like this getting fixed can help positively impact the entire system!

>the only way DDG is going to improve search results is by you using it regularly.

For what company or product is that not the case? Unfortunately, most people (myself included) aren't interested in integrating inferior products into our lives with the hope that "one day" they might be as good.

I decided to default to DDG last year to see how it was, and because my online privacy is worth something. I found the results lacking, having to Google things anyway, and eventually just went back to Google.

Hi forgetsusername,

The results have come along way over the past year, and we've also added a feedback tool that lets you share with us when you feel an answer was lacking.

If you are interested in trying us again sometime I know we'd love to hear the feedback as we aim to provide a great search experience without sacrificing your privacy.

We also have our "!Bangs" (https://duckduckgo.com/bang) which allow you to re-direct your search directly to over 7000 providers including sites like Amazon, Twitter, Stack overflow and even Google. In those cases you find a result lacking you can quickly forward the search to another provider without manually navigating or switching your default. We understand there will be times you want to search other sites and so we make that easy to do. (Although we do hope to continue to lower the need for that in the future).

Bangs are honestly one of my favorite parts of Duck Duck Go and I actually found out about it from a friend a while after I switched from Google. It completely changed how I used DDG.

I use DDG as my default search engine, but I created a bookmarklet that adds g! to my DDG query. I know you don't track users, but do you track queries that are reposted with a bang? It seems like it might give you an indication that the results are not what was expected.

> most people (myself included) aren't interested in integrating inferior products into our lives

Sure search results are the most important aspect of a search engine, but it's not the only one. Saying simply that it's an inferior product is very one-dimensional. It might be inferior in one aspect (I too experienced this just after the switch, but not as much anymore), but it's vastly superior in another. As long as the main functionality is good enough, privacy evidently does seem to matter enough to outweigh the shortcomings for a sizable minority.

Keep in mind that people start using a new product because it solves a problem for them, in DDG's case it's privacy issues with other search engines (and apparently exposing yourself to information outside of your filter bubble, which I didn't think about before this thread, but could be an interesting marketing avenue for DDG employees here ;-) ). For a new product, these people are early adopters, because the product is generally still raw or rough around the edges (or in your words, inferior), but it still solves a problem that is very real for them.

The big question for DDG, is can that product grow up, clean up their offering to users other than early adopters, and move into mainstream use? That's the question posed in the original article, and also the big challenge facing DDG for the future.

To your point about not being interested in integrating an inferior product into your life, hoping that it improves in the future, have you ever been an early adopter for another product, or participated in a Kickstarter campaign? If so, you're helping that company improve and refine their future offerings to customers. You don't have to do it for DDG if it doesn't meet your needs, but consider this point of view when commenting on its inferiority.

I ended up giving DDG a chance as well this year and I had a similar experience. I recognize that part of it is probably how I'm conditioned but it's really frustrating to feel like I'm fighting the thing that's supposed to be helping me (which is how I felt).

Hopefully it does improve over time, I do value my privacy, but I still ended up back with Google because it became too much of a hindrance.

use startpage.com - anonymized Google results and they don't track IP

I totally agree. I tried DDG one or two years ago. It didn't last long. Google simply had better results. It took a lot less effort when using Google to find something useful. Several months ago I tried again. This time it's different. I just try harder. It takes effort.

I still use Google, especially at work and for tech (computer) related stuff. For the rest DDG is my first choice and I'm getting used to it.

Hey rogeryu,

Thanks for the feedback! You'll notice we've recently added a new feedback tool in the bottom right of the results page. If you fill out a search and it doesn't match your results (or if we really nail it) feel free to send along the feedback. In the feedback process you can opt in to how much detail about the search you share, and as always we never collect or save personally identifiable information.

Users like yourself who have a foot in both ponds are the type of people we're really eager to hear from, obviously we're close to providing the experience you need but there are a few things for us to tweak and we'd love to figure them out!

I switched to DDG maybe 4-5 months ago and it mostly works fine for me. If I suspect it is wrong I !g google it and see if that works better.

For me, the tradeoff is a win, I don't like being the product.

Would it be possible for DDG to base their some result, distantly, off of some scrape of Google, thereby likely increasing relevance?

That will not work for all types of search, like things related to the news (like "Paris terrorists"), and Google might block them (I think they block you for a while if you try too many searches in a short period of time).

Fundamentally what stops DDG from becoming just like Google, Bing and Yahoo when it does get as big as them? Remember how Facebook used to be all about user privacy?

>>Remember how Facebook used to be all about user privacy?

Sorry, but no.

I don't think Facebook was ever really don't about privacy. Exclusivity, perhaps, but not privacy.

I'm trying to use DuckDuckGo, but for now the local search results are really, really poor. I can't blame them much though, because Yahoo and Bing suck as well. But then Bing's index is in fact the only competition Google has and DuckDuckGo cannot improve as long as they depend on Bing.

One favorite example that I've been using for feedback is when I'm searching for "restaurante" (the Romanian word for "restaurants"), in Google Search I'm getting links to nearby restaurants. Which is normal since they've got my location and so on. But they also know that in my country (Romania) the people are speaking Romanian and so they are showing me results in the Romanian language of restaurants from my city.

On the other hand in DuckDuckGo:

1. The instant answer is terribly wrong, mistakenly identifying a plain vocabulary word from at least 3 romance languages (!!!) as being the name of some insignificant 1-star GitHub project that nobody cares about. Ouch!

2. Even though the region selected is Romania, aproximately the first eleven results contain the translation of the word "restaurante" from Spanish, a link to some "el Restaurante" magazine I've never heard about and a link to some latin restaurant named Kuuk from Mexico, plus a "Top 10 Berlin Restaurants" (needless to say Berlin is not in Romania)

3. Out of 30 links I get, none of them is related to Romanian restaurants, Romanian cuisine, or anything related to Romania, even though the selected region is Romania and that word is a Romanian word.

4. OK, lets assume that some users searching for "restaurante" are interested in Spanish results. Well, one problem would be that Mexico is different from Spain, but lets ignore that as well. The biggest problem is that this set of results is completely useless for Spanish speakers as well.

I can only reiterate those same experiences for another locale. Google provides an almost seamless experience when I do searches in English and in my local language. I don't feel like I've downgraded when doing a search locally. None of the other search engines even bother.

Which means that despite being incredibly privacy-conscious, and trying to avoid Google services like a plague, there's literally no alternative for me whatsoever to Google when searching online.

DDG depends on Yahoo Search API (BOSS) which depends on Bing. And Yahoo Search will be no more according to the news. As far as I know neither Google nor Bing offer a Search API for third parties. DDG already uses Yandex (RU) for certain markets, maybe that's where they are heading. Or DDG starts using their own crawler as main data source.

If it can reassure you, it's about as terrible as this in French, in English it kind of works but for other languages, it's not even worth thinking about for now. I hope they are going to improve this part, otherwise they will never get those users.

Hi Bad_user

Thanks for the detailed feedback - have you tried toggle on regional settings and language selection from the settings menu? These are a big help in regards to local results outside the US and especially in cases where the word may be a common term.

Thanks, it's hard for me to understand why people complain about DDG's search results, which are generally fine for me (in the US), without elaborating on specific kinds of problems they have.

DDG has been my search engine of choice for the past few years and in my experience it is pretty rare that I have to use google for better results. In general I'm quite happy with it.

One thing I would love to see as a feature is the ability to add under settings a list of sites I'd prefer not to see any results from.

For example experts-exchange where they want you to sign up to see the answer. There's also a bunch of scraping websites that don't have actual answers which just pollute the results. Being able to suppress that kind of site would be wonderful.

I'm aware you can use an option on the search itself, problem is that the list of sites I like to remove from the search is too long to type each time.

I'd love there to be a "I'm a developer" mode: I know it goes against the point of not tracking people but there are so many tech words that are common nouns etc, and providing a bit of context would prevent a lot of g! searches from me (see example: https://twitter.com/mrspeaker/status/672115832772784128/phot...)

You could use the bangs for that:


Sounds like you need to hack together a search engine for hackers.

> There's also a bunch of scraping websites that don't have actual answers which just pollute the results. Being able to suppress that kind of site would be wonderful.

The funny thing is, Google's targeting algorithms actually do a wonderful job of alleviating this problem just by studying what you and other people click on. It depends on whether you see it as a privacy invasion or as a prerequisite for machine learning and providing better results.

Privacy invasion yes in a way, can't say I appreciate them tracking every search result I click on.

What is even more annoying that google gives you a link to the search result and pretending it to be http://www.example.com but when you copy & paste it to use it elsewhere it suddenly becomes a urlencoded parameter to their tracking mechanism.

They do display the link itself as text, but shorten it if it is over 20 or so characters.

Duck duck go doesn't do that (thankfully)

They could also use this as another signal of the quality of a link for other users.

That is not my main motivation for asking this, but yes you are correct.

If DDG wants to use such a list as a signal then they would have to check it a bit for potential abuse. For example to only count the excluded sites that are in active accounts used for searching, but it could indeed have other potential search improvements.

DDG results have improved tremendously, top stack overflow / github matches are shown partially which is really neat

I FULLY switched to DDG (& also away from Chrome) when I found out when I click save password on login forms my password is sent to Google Servers (I must have missed it on the TOC)

DuckDuckGo really is good enough to use on a daily basis now. One big gripe I still have however, is that there seems to be no way to filter by time. I still have to go to google if I want to find a news article or topic which is recent, or within a certain period.

This is a popular request and one we're working on. Admittedly we've been saying that for a while but it's getting close.

A really good filter ( for me anyhow ) would be 'prior to this [ week | month ]', since often I want to search for things from the period before they were news

Interesting idea - I hadn't thought of that. Duly noted.

It's interesting to me, seeing how many people are so deeply dissatisfied with the results. I switched a couple of years ago, and only had a very small (two-three week) period where I'd check back on the mighty GOOG, only to confirm that they didn't have any better results either.

Might it be due to the way I format my queries?

> when I click save password on login forms my password is sent to Google Servers

Does this happen even if a user is not logged in to a Google account?

And not just logged in. The user also has to have browser sync for passwords enabled.

I've NEVER logged in using Chrome's top-right account thingy, I guess made the mistake of logging into my Gmail account and they had/have my permission.

edit: i only use[d] to use Chrome for development, I have an iPhone (all my browsing is done via Safari) so there's no need for me enable browser sync (at least i never explicitly enabled it).

And not have encryption enabled.


DuckDuckGo really looses the battle when it comes to search results.

And since they make the case with privacy, I also want to make clear, they don't loose because Google tracks us all, even if you are logged out from your account, use vpn servers, delete all of your cookies and cache, Google is just so much better and DuckDuckGo awful and some search results are just weird.

I tried once (it must have been this year) to use DuckDuckGo as my main search engine, basically whenever I did not find something quickly enough I just switched to Google and then found my object of desire often times instantly. One of my VPN-Servers is blocked by Google and because of that I am using Bing at the moment, which also seems so much better than DuckDuckGo was when I used it.

I installed LinuxMint on a non-techy person's machine a while ago (few weeks) and DuckDuckGo was set up as default search engine with Firefox, even that person used Google, because he/she wasn't happy with the search results. Used Google even though he/she had to manually go to google.com every single time

"We don't bubble you" is a unique selling point they have profited greatly from, and that's what made them well known to begin with, nothing else really.

Good to see them progressing.

I made the switch a year ago having found their results had improved greatly to the point of "good enough". Before that I agree there was a problem.

For maybe 2-3% of the time I'll need to revert to google et al, but I see that as a fair price/compromise for even a small taste of privacy ... which is like tasting the purest of waters.

DDG is my default.


We recently released a new feedback tool in the bottom right of the search results page. For that 2-3% of time you feel the need to revert, please consider taking the time to let us know why our results didn't work out for you so we can drill down on improving them!

Thanks for your continued support!

My experience has been reminiscent of the old SE days, when different engines would often fare better/worse for varying queries, vs there being an all-out winner. I think of DDG as avoiding a fair amount of overtly "consumer" content. Google is great at getting to "interaction points," DDG is great for information. I quite like the DDG ability to play embedded videos from the search results page, and their accompanying privacy warning.

> I think of DDG as avoiding a fair amount of overtly "consumer" content.

True. Since all the 'content farms' out there are busy fighting the SEO war specifically targeted at Google, Google results for some topics are just stream after stream of useless generic garbage from non-experts. DDG, simply by using a different search backend, avoids most of this and often gives much better results in such cases.

Has anyone considered that the slightly longer and forgettable name DuckDuckGo might have something to do with the low mainstream presence? I think they should rebrand and market with duckgo or maybe just duck.com if at all practically possible.

We recently commented about this on a Reddit thread too (https://www.reddit.com/comments/3vtxib/duckduckgo_search_lik...)

We do have a short domain "http://ddg.gg" although it is worth noting that duck.com is owned by Google and points to their main search engine. So it's not really an option for us.

duck.com is explained here for anyone wondering: https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/epd59/google_po...

It's not necessarily nefarious, the domain came from some unrelated acquisition, but they didn't have to make duck.com point to Google.

It is probably not a big crucial factor for success, but I totally agree.

I've been using DDG for many years now, and I think the search results are excellent in most cases. Sometimes I'm not satisfied, and try the same seach on Google. Most of the time though, I get the same results there.

My only gripe is that the last half year or so, w3schools has been getting at the top of the search results. (Previously w3schools did not show in the search results.)

That's funny, one of my gripes with Google was their insistence for many many years on making w3schools the first result for html-related queries. I haven't ever noticed that with DDG, but to be fair I also don't do html-related queries very often anymore (because the Dash app has supplanted any sort of technical documentation search; if I want to know what an html tag does, I just ask Dash to show me (developer.mozilla.org) docs).

Use !mdn or !devdocs. Both are awsome sites.

It's not surprising, but if they really want to become mainstream, they'll have to get people caring more about privacy than they already do. I mean okay, the Snowden leaks and stuff about PRISM got a lot of people using it, but those people were still most tech savvy types who value their privacy over the quality of the search results.

DDG is getting better, but it'll have to beat Google and the likes on a quality level if it's going to get the interest of people who don't seem to give a damn about their privacy.

Using duckduckgo i found out that google blocks booksee.org domain. I spend some time trying to find ebook using google, implying its the best search engine in the world.

I feel like the search results are getting better.

EDIT: Complaint #1 removed. I can change the THEME in DDG to get blue links. Awesome.

#2 Complaint is that I dislike the font-weight changes on search sites. I don't need my search words bolded. I know what I searched for, I trust that those words are in the search results, you don't need to show them to me.

It's actually the SUPPORTING words around my keywords that are going to make me click them after I've already searched. So if anything should be bold, it should be those words because they set each listing apart from the others.

The Positive (for me):

As I do SEO for some companies sometimes, I often times use DDG as a baseline because it doesn't track me. If I see one of my companies ranked high in DDG AND Google, I believe what I'm seeing in Google in terms of SEO A little more. I know it's not really accurate, and I tell my clients this, but it's nice to say that DDG is not tracked so it's not influenced by my previous searches, and seeing a site ranked high there too is a really good thing in my opinion.

Hi dpcan,

Thanks for the feedback! Did you know you can change themes from the settings menu? You can then save them as a non-personalized cookie, anonymously to the cloud via a unique passphrase, or via a URL. The bookmarklet tool in the settings menu will build out a URL with any settings group so you can save, share and use your settings without anything local.

For example here are the settings I use: https://duckduckgo.com/?kae=d&k5=-1&kaj=m&kd=1

Dark theme, metric system measurements, prompt for video play, prevent redirect.

If you are a blue links fan you can try: https://duckduckgo.com/?kae=c

That's our 'contrast' theme which pops out a bit more.

Wikipedia has lots of disambiguation pages but somehow this idea has never made it into the search world. Perhaps the idea of a single text box that you can type "Michelangelo" into is not a good one. Tracking the user so you can get some context (is it Ninja Turtles or art history usually with this person?) seems a logical extension of the lunacy of that situation.

I use DDG a fair bit but I feel like without revisiting that assumption that a single context-free text box is even desirable, ditching the tracking (which I am totally in favour of) feels like they are dooming themselves.

I've played a little with running Yacy locally and directing it to crawl only sites I care about. So far that habit has not stuck.

The bangs are a step in the right direction. Suggesting additional search terms isn't quite right, and neither is doing a site specific search since I don't know what site will have the information.

Maybe a "metabang" where you search all the bangs in a category? "python !!tech"

Anyway, its good to see DDG growing.

I seem to have finally switched permanently a couple of days ago[1]. Pleasantly surprised.

[1] The clincher? Copying a link on Google and finding for the umpteenth time that it was a #$%# redirect. (This is on my phone so greasemonkey plugins don't help.) There comes a time when you say enough.

I recently started using DDG as my default search engine. I'm usually fine with searches, however what troubles me most times is the extracted content on result page. For example, when I search "How to make coffee"[1] the result links are good for both, however the extracted text shown in Google results are generally more relevant to my query. In this example, Google shows me instructions to make coffee in each result, while DDG shows the first text it could find which is totally irrelevant to what I want.

So in short, I feel a lag when deciding when and what to click with DDG.

[1] http://imgur.com/a/7jCEH

I started using DDG this year. I've found the main thing that drives me back to Google (and frequently) is searching for anything where freshness of results matters; that's where I'm seeing the biggest difference in quality of results.

Hey Jay,

This is something actively being worked on that we hope to have an update for in 2016.

We also recently released a new "News Instant Answer" that pulls in fresh relevant content on popular news topics. Have you come across that in your searches? And, are there any specific topics where you are looking for more freshness and currently aren't getting it?

FYI: DuckDuckGo primarily leverages the Yahoo BOSS api in the US.

I'm curious: who will they turn to if (when) Yahoo shuts the service down? Bing?

Their only options are Google, Bing, Yandex, Exalead, Gigablast, and Mojeek, and most probably in that order as the last two need to grow considerably first. Unless there's any others that have their own index?

How is Google an option? They offer no API whatsoever

StartPage uses Google so there must be a way.

They probably scrape Google. Willing to bet there is no deal. Google would never agree to such a thing. Even paying $XXXXX a month isn't worth it to them.

That's what I always thought but according to this they have a contract: https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Artic...

and Baidu.

Yeah sorry, I was only counting engines suitable for DDG, ie. English language etc. There's also Qwant and although they are crawling their results still appear to be Bing.

I am not related to Baidu, I just see their crawlers regularly on English language websites. Example search result: http://www.baidu.com/s?rsv_idx=1&wd=duckduckgo&ie=utf-8&sl_l...

Good point! They could definitely be an option then.

Doesn't Yahoo use bing anyway?

It's a great search engine, and gettig better with time ..

I don't actually use DDG for privacy primarily. I use if for the instant answer and !bang goodness. If you're a developer, both of these are indispensable. If if the results don't work, you can always !g.

I appreciate what DDG is trying to do, but I found myself using !g way too often.

It really depends on your use-case. But for me, it works really well, and I'm glad it exists.

It's really good to see that even in a such powerful monopoly that it is, the "search" who Google has, it still have space for competition. DDG focus on a niche on this, and they are growing.

I made the switch. My biggest problem with the lack of privacy is that I don't know in X years how my data will be used. In X years - laws may change - mores may change - the fortune of google may change. It just doesn't seem prudent for me and my progeny.

For example searching for information about cigarettes or cigar clubs - 30 years ago may have been socially acceptable. Today if that information were available from the 80's it could provide signal for insurance companies determining rates.

Maybe slightly off topic but wouldn't it be nice to have something like WSQL (Web Search Query Language) such as:

   "Select text from *.co.uk where page contains = XXXX and page.popularity > YY".
We then could have different implementations as we do with SQL (mariadb, postgres...) name them Google, Duckduckgo, Bing...

I did a quick search on my default search engine (DDG) and couldn't find anything related...

You're basically describing the Semantic Web.

Wow, so many people talking about how DDG is lacking good search results.

Here's my personal experience. I've tried using DDG 2 years ago, and it sucked. In my language (italian) results were poor, and also for general searches.

6 Months ago I gave it a try again, and I've been pleased enough to use it both at work, at home and on my smartphone.

The results are not always perfect, but I find myself using !g bang mainly when I feel there's something missing (which doesn't happen that much) or when I need to find a very selective piece of information.

I also loved the integration with stack overflow. Works nicely, it doesn't always "answer" your question, but just yesterday it did and the moment was like "wow, it's getting interesting".

So, while I admit that DDG may not be ready for prime time yet, I guess there's a chance that many of us (developers, etc) might start liking it and using it constantly.

While it would be naive to say "I wouldn't go back to google", I'm now an happy user of DDG, and I wasn't expecting it to begin with (In fact I was very skeptical).

I really like how their instant answers are open source, and they're really nice. (e.g. npm, GitHub, regex/vim cheatsheet)

I do have 2 complaints, and together, they made me switch back to Google.

1) Results aren't as relevant, especially when I'm searching for very new or specific things.

2) Speed. I'm not sure why, but DDG seems to stumble on some searches, which end up taking 2-3x the time they're supposed to.

I haven't noticed speed issues. But I have noticed the relevancy issues. If the first 5 search results in DDG don't seem relevant. I just bang out a google search ("!g").

In all honesty, despite me knowing about DDG for reaaaaalllly long time, I still tend to forget their name. "something duck" is how non-tech people reference it. Cant you really name it something easy to remember and (ouch) Google like Duckgo? Or Ducker? Or anything else that can be pronounced by anyone within one breath?

I've never had a problem remembering their name after I first heard of them forevvvver ago, and recall thinking Google was a stupid name. Altavista, infoseek, dogpile, askjeeves... clearly the name is not important

I always give the url as ddg.gg

If you google 'duck' it should be in the top 5. For me it was the 3rd one, the 1st and 2nd being wiki-type articles.

I just tried it, it was right under image results and Wikipedia article about ducks. So, it should be the second result (I've tried the same thing on StartPage and got the same result).

If you Google 'search engine' it's number one.

Slightly ironic though - using Google to google 'search engine'.

I switched to DDG maybe about a year ago, not because of privacy concerns exactly, but because I was getting concerned that Google's results were getting less and less accurate (literal) for what I was searching for.

I think this is something that technical people tend to care about more than non-technical. I find now that I'm using DDG for very specific searches and Google for "fuzzier" things (via !g).

Google also tends to order results better than DDG, where DDG might have the result I'm looking for in its result set, the relevance ranking of the results isn't quite as good as Google.

About the only other things I search Google for are images (!gi) and if I need to constrain the date range down on the results (afaik DDG doesn't have any way to say "between these two dates" or "in the last month").

If I remember correctly, DDG doesn't crawl the web on their own, so considering the many comments here saying they stopped using DDG because of bad result, is there any way for them to improve on this?

Are all improvements made to the actual search results caused by improved from Yahoo or Bing ?

Results are powered from hundreds of sources https://duck.co/help/results/sources and aided and refined by our community.

We recently added a feedback tool on our results page, so if you find a bad result feel free to share the feedback!

I use DDG almost exclusively on my phone, and Google almost exclusively on my laptop.

Interactive DDG Search Traffic Stats: http://apps.axibase.com/chartlab/e8635882/10/

I love DDG but I think as the world turns away from document indexing and more toward intent based search, plus the ever increasing use of implicit data (gps location, speed of movement etc) - I can't see how DDG are going to grow.

Ultimately search will end up with something a bit like Siri (but something that works). The hound demo (if real) is a very impressive glimpse of the future of search.

For those who haven't seen it : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1ONXea0mXg

I generally like it but I definitely don't like some of its apparent integrations.

For instance, I search for recipes a lot. And Yummly "wrappers" seem to come up a lot on DuckDuckGo, often barely acknowledged as being Yummly. I don't know what Yummly is but it just seems scummy...it seems to wrap pages that I know are clearly recipes on other web sites, yet they're made to appear like Yummly pages. Why? There's no reason for this kind of middle-man stuff.

On desktop I only use DDG, mostly because I think their visual design & typography is much more pleasing than Google's, and the search results are usually just as good.

Agreed. The new google logo looks like it was drawn with a Crayola.

I love ddg for english searches.

For non english searches it is still behind google. For example "pizza name-of-my-town" lacks half the pizza places google lists.

In case you are from Europe you may want to try https://www.qwant.com/web

It certainly doesn't match google when it comes to local searches but I find it a bit more pleasant than DDG.

I've been using DDG almost exclusively for the past two years. It's improved a lot in that time and now I hardly ever have to !g.

Tried a few queries with it. Seems like its accuracy has improved greatly over last year, but still throws me a Japanese article for no reason.

Search is really a very hard business, in terms of both technology and market. I don't think they have Google level quality right now, so I won't consider use it seriously.

If you could remember which queries gave you a Japanese result I'd love to look into it to help fix it.

RE: https://duck.co/help/company/advertising-and-affiliates I think it would be cool if it was possible to do ads direct with DDG.

DDG is basically a meta-search engine. It is then better to host it yourself with https://github.com/asciimoo/searx

Set it up remotely and you basicially have your own DDG.

... but without a company and a community of hackers constantly working to add more backends, more instant answers, more !bangs, and give you better results. So why would I use it?

You don't need a company for building a meta-search engine. And most importantly, if you value privacy, you want the whole meta-thing to be open source, always.

My point isn't about privacy. If you really are that privacy-obsessed, than building your own meta-search might be the best option for you. For me, I like the fact the DDG's meta-search is incredibly well featured, with instant answers, and many backends for that, its search, and !bangs. So if I'm not that obsessive about privacy, why would I go to the trouble for a weaker search with less features?

The privacy of DuckDuckGo is worthless when I click on the first link and it includes ajax and fonts from the google domain (and facebook and twitter buttons and whatnot) - might as well just type my search term in google.

Then use Ghostery. Or Privacy Badger. Also, I don't think the fonts can track YOU, unless google's got your IP. Which they won't, unless you log into your account. Which you won't, if you care about security. And if you don't, than why are you complaining?

Most sites rely on ajax and are completely unusable without it so I have to make exceptions for google anyway.

Also, I'm not complaining at all, I am just stating that the privacy is almost completely useless. I do have a google account, google mail, and so on. I don't have a problem with it.

Well, privacy is somewhat useful if Google can't link your IP to you. Also I was referring to Ghostery and Privacy Badger more for your concerns about like buttons, analytics, and the like.

Going to chime in on the whole 'results are getting better'.

They might be. On paper; because there is more data.

Unfortunately, nobody is accounting for the 'stale' factor.

Searching old news is well.. old news.

And rightfully so.

In all honesty, I don't care if they (google) track me. I just want to find the right information as fast as possible.

Much deserved progress.

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