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DDG: Google uses bizarre tactics to dominate rivals and confuse their customers (independent.co.uk)
77 points by pmoriarty on July 20, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

This is a pity. I actually use DuckDuckGo because I've come to distrust Google's political neutrality, and DDG has actually got quite good over the years. But this article is simply full of misleading nonsense. I find the DDG brand lessened in my eyes.

Firstly it's completely false that you can't set DDG as the search engine in Android Chrome. I just did it. Here's how:

1. You visit DuckDuckGo in mobile Chrome.

2. Instructions from DDG pop up on the screen telling you how to find the default search engine picker screen (you click settings, and search engine is the first setting on the screen, so this is not hard).

3. DDG is now an option I can pick under the "recently visited" section, which is clearly visible on screen.

The search engine screen has Bing, Ask Jeeves and a few others pre-bundled, so perhaps they're salty because they aren't pre-bundled. Or perhaps the current behaviour wasn't always true in the past. But even if that was the case, it's fine today, so why are they complaining?

As for owning duck.com what a stupid complaint. DDG chose an awkward name for their search engine and own the domain name for it. They are not called and do not own the name "duck". If they want a short single word .com domain they can always rebrand. Google owns lots of random seeming domain names, but there's nothing wrong with that.

> DDG chose an awkward name for their search engine

The majority of non-techie people I recommend DDG to literally LOL and give me the stop-shitting-me look.

I can't send a link to DDG to professional colleagues.

I've helped friends get their browsers more secure, etc. and they'll leave everything else alone but switch search because they think duckduckgo is some kind of "virus". (I explain it at the time, but it's too much to remember evidently.)

They really screwed up with the name, in my opinion as a regular user. It's also not short or memorable. I just don't get it. Seems like one of those inside jokes that only a founder finds funny and gets changed quickly before going to market.

Are you serious?

Your industry colleagues haven't been inoculated against name-chauvinism by the relentless parade including "Google," "Yahoo," the innumerable "-Fish" and "-Monkey" names, etc.?

> They really screwed up with the name, in my opinion as a regular user. It's also not short or memorable

While I agree that it's not short, I disagree that it is not memorable. I've not had difficulty in remembering the name nor its association with a search service that is privacy focused, perhaps in part because of its awkward length. Are we perhaps using different definitions for "memorable"?

Stupid complaint?

duck.com pointing to google.com is as if Microsoft had mac.com pointing up to microsoft.com and claiming it didn't matter because "It's called a Macintosh, not a Mac!"

This is more than a coincidence. on2.com is not pointing at google.com

AI file that as other of google dick moves, like with the maps article yesterday.

Personally, I got the message and does my best to not use their stuff. Cant afford it. At best unreliable/untrustworthy, at worst actively planning to do evil in the future.

No one refers to DDG as duck.

You don't. I do. Maybe others also do this.

The name is awful. Absolutely it has inhibited larger adoption without question.

Semi-related: has anyone here been successful in setting Startpage as their search engine in Chrome in Android?

they should have trademarked duck in relation to being a search engine before google acquired on2.com



Here's the whole Duck.com story, as posted by Yegg on Reddit three months ago:

Yes, duck.com came as an asset in the unrelated On2 acquisition (On2 used to be known as Duck Corp). But it just sat there (pointing to this Duck Corporation history page) for a long time.

I first inquired about it on 11/4/09. After several attempts, I got back a response "from management" on 3/25/10 that they didn't want to sell it. Understandable.

Now http://www.on2.com/ points to a Google explanation page about the On2 acquisition, yet http://duck.com/ points directly to Google search.

Google owns lots of domains that don't point anywhere, or not to their main search page. That means there was an affirmative decision somewhere along the line to redirect that particular domain to their search product.


(source) [http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/epd59/google_poi...]

The fact that only one percent of people go on to download a competing browser isn’t Google’s fault.

I’m sorry, but this idea that Google is some evil monopoly because it actually bundles USEFUL software with its OS just isn’t this huge problem.

I don’t even use Android, but I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to expect Google to either leave out critical software from its OS, or to force them to preload competing browsers (inferior for the most part).

"it’s absolutely ridiculous to expect Google to either leave out critical software from its OS, or to force them to preload competing browsers (inferior for the most part)."

If they can't distribute their browser in a way that's fair to their competitors, they shouldn't be in the browser business.

That goes for Microsoft and Apple too.

Apple does not even allow the competitive browsers on iOS to have the same capabilities, being fair to competitiors is a distant dream. e.g No other browser can JIT code on iOS but Safari.

Parent said “shouldn’t”, not “doesn’t”. I think they are making a judgement call on what they consider moral, or just. I don’t think they are at all confused about the current state of things.

This is old news:


The name was actually part of an acquisition.

I understand why DuckDuckGo is not happy about this and/or trying to use this for PR. However, I don't think a lot of people are going confuse DuckDuckGo and Google, since DDG users are typically making a conscious choice to use it over Big G.

We actually discussed it 8 years ago too:


This is off topic, but there has been quite the point inflation since then.

EDIT: Too bad we can't see the comment scores... I wonder if PG is ever going to change his mind about this :)

'duck' autocompletes to duckduckgo in my google search bar. I don't see a story here except for the fact that duckduckgo is now willing to fight just as dirty as google in the public opinion space and thus have undermined the one thing I use ddg for (trusted unbiased search).

> Examples include preventing the DuckCuckGo [sic] search engine from being added to Chrome on Android, while featuring the Chrome widget prominently on most Android builds.

I’m much less willing to assume good faith for this particular misspelling than once I was.

Clickbait title, but here are the concrete claims in the article:

* preventing the DuckDuckGo search engine from being added to Chrome on Android, while featuring the Chrome widget prominently on most Android builds. (does the Independent mean Widget or App here?)

* “Every time we update our Chrome browser extension, all of our users are faced with an official-looking dialogue asking them if they'd like to revert their search settings and disable the entire extension.”

* Google have bought duck.com and redirect it to Google.com

I would love to know how many people hear about DuckDuckGoose.com and for whatever reason decide to instead navigate to duck.com, and then out of this elite crowd how many of them continue using Google.com via duck.com on an ongoing basis.

I'm not sure that I agree that owning a domain is a bizarre tactic.

If ddg registered gogle.com and gooogle.com would you think that’s fair play, too?

I never said it was fair play, I disputed that it was a "bizarre tactic".

There is a trademark angle to your example, so if DDG has a Trademark argument, they should challenge (although "duck" is pretty broad, so I doubt it). Otherwise, try to snipe the domain like the rest of us.

Apple is rather broad as well.

Google bought a company that used to be known as Duck Corporation. Your analogy is deeply incongruous.

Those would both be (clearly intentional) trademark violations so probably not.

Now if Duck Duck Go trademarked "duck" then they'd have a case.

I guess it depends on the domain name...

owning a domain that is close to a rivals though is.

on the on2.com page, it literally says "if you meant to visit duckduckgo.com, go here"

I don't know if this somehow redeems microsoft or not.

Apparnetly on2 used to be called duck.

It was apparently someone's decision, nobody at Google told him to redirect duck.com to google.com. Comment on slashdot:

https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3270187&cid=42074845 I started working at The Duck Corporation (duck.com) in 1996, a few years before it went public as On2 Technologies/The Duck Corporation (on2.com and duck.com), and was working with Google/Duck/On2 until a year and a few months after the acquisition in 2010. At Duck/On2, I was responsibile for everything related to building our networks and maintaining all the hardware, software, servers, domains, networks and a ton of other stuff, you know the typical system administrator job.

Prior to the acquisition, but after going public as On2, we likely didn't sell duck.com because that was still my primary email address and I and a few others still actively used it, and we still kept up a basic website for information about our old and basically no longer supported software; and it was just one of those things still tied to the company with a lot of history as The Duck Corporation, so we decided to keep it. Feel free to blame me, since I always requested that we keep it when we saw the many offers for the domain over the years, mostly in the hundreds to couple of thousand dollar range; and because of my history with the company, I am sure I was a big part of that decision to not sell it.

When Google bought us, I knew I was still going to be there for a while to make sure all our company data, and some specific services that had to stay up, was migrated into their servers. Since we hosted all our own servers with our own hardware and software and they had to ulimately be shut down, I had to get things moved over and still needed to get my duck.com email.

So at that point, since I was still getting a lot of duck.com emails and had my duck.com email address for literally many hundreds of websites, publications, mailing lists, business contacts and other things, since I mainly used duck.com for well over a decade, I wanted to make sure Google's DNS and email was configured to still get duck.com emails. I actually had started trying to switch all my duck.com to google.com, but it was an overwhelming process. I still wonder how much email is still going to my duck.com email address.

I took it upon myself to learn the Google way of configuring their public DNS, email and a bunch of other things because I was nosey and wanted to learn and did learn some really cool and interesting stuff about them while I was there. I made sure the MX record for duck.com was still configured to deliver my email (and a few other email addresses) to my Google email account. Since it was decided to no longer keep the website up, I can't give you a real explanation, but I ended up configuring duck.com websites to point to the google.com main page instead of nothing. So you can go ahead and blame me, but no one at Google specifically told me to point duck.com to their site.

I hope whoever wrote this will not intervene in DDG's public relations again.

I don't think it is common sense to correlate a duck and duckduckgo in real life...

Duck... is just delicious.

I agree. It's common sense that duck.com takes me to google. Usually when I'm thinking about eating ducks, I'm actually thinking about google.com.

"Duck Duck Go" is such a silly unprofessional name for a website anyways. I really wish they would pick a completely new name, get the .com and rebrand. I do love the search engine itself.

It's a little verbose, but if you're looking for professional serious names, you've come to the wrong industry.

Fair enough. "Google" is/was a silly looking word too. Perhaps DDG just needs a shorter and more memorable name though.

Maybe "Duck", is duck.com available? /s

Is it any less professional than the other nonsense names that other companies use? Uber, Alibaba, Snap, WhatsApp. Google, which, if you don't know what it means, sounds like something a baby would say. Mozilla, a reference to both Godzilla and Mosaic. Yahoo, a literal crazy person. GNU, a recursive backronymn, just to leave out any questions what kind of people run it.

Uff, I'm not the only one that finds this silly, to put it mildly. Same goes to BlaBlaCar (carpooling app), it just feels wrong.

I don't think that Apple and Google are much better names.

they have a good shorthand that's easy to type though -- ddg.gg.

Duck or Quack might be a good shorter name without confusing existing users, but Google and Yahoo! own those .coms, respectively.

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