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Nothing Can Stop Google. DuckDuckGo Is Trying Anyway (medium.com)
388 points by kjhughes 37 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 244 comments

Back in the day, before I just defaulted to using Google, I remember checking multiple search engines to find the thing I was looking for. You'd check Yahoo/Google/Lycos, try a couple of different phrasings, and then if that didn't work try searching on a few other search engines. Somewhere along the way, Google had won me over, because I almost always found my answer. I had stopped even considering other search engines.

Now that I'm on DDG, I find that I'm following a similar pattern of searching DDG, then searching google, and I'm finding that most of my searches work great on DDG. What's surprising to me is that when I move on to using Google, I'm considering widening my search even beyond DDG and Google. It feels like, by considering different search options, I'm going back to how I used to explore the internet, rather than defaulting to taking Google's results as truth.

And now, seeing a variety of options from DDG, I am surprised at how irrelevant some of the links are on Google some times. It feels like when I search on Google, Google is telling me 'No no, you don't care about JsonAPI parsing performance, you care about parsing json, because we know best'.

I'm glad that DDG is alive and doing well. I love using it and I don't notice any difference for most queries, and falling back to google hasn't really been as painful as I thought it would be.

I think it's very much search topic related:

* DDG is atrocious for anything other than English * Programing/IT searches often yield garbage on DDG while on Google a good result is within the first 3.

I have it as my default now too, but "!g" is a constant companion.


Regarding Google and Amazon being unstoppable... it seemed the same once for Microsoft.

Once they get too big/powerful (which they arguably already are), they could be broken up or severely hamstrung by legislation.

They can also start to stagnate and be out-done by new competition based on new technologies.

All of those seem unlikely right now, but 10 years can change a lot.

Of course both Google and Amazon both enjoy large network effects and are pretty capital intensive. Which is typical for mono/oligopolies.

> "!g" is a constant companion.

May I recommend an alternative bang? "!s" (for startpage.com) is my companion.

It doesn't always work perfectly, but in theory [0] Startpage offers the same (edit: non-bubbled[1]) results as big G, while retaining your privacy.

!s usually works for me. I always use !s before begrudgingly doing a !g. I have no other affiliation to Startpage or DDG. And to be fair, I think we have to simply accept Startpage's assertion that they preserve your privacy.

[0] https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Artic... [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble

When I decided to move away from Google Search I went with DDG for some time, since it seemed to be the more independent / open approach, compared to Startpage. I found myself switching back to Google way to often, for either performance and / or relevance of results. I then switched to Startpage and used it as primary search for well over a year - only switching back to google for image search. I still feel like DDG would be the philosophical superior option and with !s in mind I will give it another try, to see how far it came.

I'd be interested in more concrete reasons to use DDG over Startpage. First thing that comes to my mind is that with Startpage, Google still "reads" your search queries, which might leak info. What else?


1) I came to like DDG's grouping of results by site. See a result and think that page's site might have more results? Click the favicon.

2) DDG is faster now than it was a few years ago. (At least it seems that way, for me and the things I typically search for).

3) Extensive bang shortcuts: https://duckduckgo.com/bang

4) Different, non-personalized search bubble. I like the idea of non-monocultures, which I guess extends to my search results.


-1) Some time ago DDG changed to requiring the same stupid quoting behavior Big G began mandating for required search terms, replacing +.


5) might come in handy, if you're a keyboard person: you can use cursor down/up to scroll through the search results, and Return to select (go to) one.

Thank you! I had never heard of startpage. I am a notorious !g-er.

Definitely going to put more muscle memory into !s, thanks!

Oh, thank you, kind stranger. I’ve long disliked that !g is a constant companion, and didn’t know about !s. You are my hero of the day.

I wish I could tell ddg that I only care about postgresql.

It seems heavily skewed to oracle/ms server when searching anything sql related. Perhaps because it's powered by Bing?

Add '!psql' to your search. A full list of these is at https://duckduckgo.com/bang .

Two problems with that: it only searches the official PostgreSQL documentation (not things like StackOverflow), and perhaps more importantly, it doesn't work at all (it doesn't correctly pass your query to the PostgreSQL site).

I wish I could tell DDG that I don't give a shit about Python 2.7. Stop linking me to the Python 2 doc! I haven't used Python 2 in five years!

I wish I could tell both DDG and Google that I don't care about Java 7. Not sure why they both default to giving old Javadocs, but I suspect it's due to a lot of enterprise developers who are still stuck in old versions.

Ditto for macOS versions more than three years old. How to change the screenshot directory in Panther isn't going to help me in Mojave. But even with quotation marks, Google ignores half of what I request.

> But even with quotation marks, Google ignores half of what I request.

Now you have to go to Tools and change All Results to Verbatim every single time you want it to stick with your actual search terms. It's a shame the quotation marks don't mean anything anymore.

You do realize what you're asking for is personalization, right?

Personalization would be asking the system to learn that I don't want Python 2.x. I want to be able to tell the search to exclude Python 2.x results. It's like the difference between me creating a bookmark and the browser generating a "favorite sites" list.

It's the same for postgresql. Search 'postgresql select' and the first result is to a 9 year old postgresql version's docs.


Or even !py3, for us lazy types.

Or because the number of Oracle/MS SQL Server installations dwarf Postgres in the real world?

The Google results are tailored to you, so if you do lots of technical searches, Google has a lot of technical results.

> It feels like when I search on Google, Google is telling me 'No no, you don't care about JsonAPI parsing performance, you care about parsing json, because we know best'.

I've experienced more of this lately, and see myself using the quotation mark syntax to a greater extent (quotations will tell Google to explicitly include a phrase in their search).

I don't know if at this point their are over-optimizing and now all the other data Google has about you matters more than what you type on the search box, but it's annoying sometimes. Or maybe they're giving your search a slight nudge to results where they could get a better profit? I wonder how they measure search effectivity, and what they are optimizing towards.

I've found that even quotes don't always work with Google these days. Google's insistence on returning results to more popular, but distinctly different, queries than what I actually searched for is what finally prompted me to switch over to DDG full time.

Overall I've found DDG results are actually better and less frustrating than Google's for this exact reason.

That's funny because unlike DDG, Google actually works with quotes.

I have yet to find a Google query where Google ignores the quotes (it even goes as far as telling me it can't find anything).

DDG, on the other hand, decided a few months ago that their users are dumb and only mistakenly tried to force part of their query. It's really annoying me because it's what makes me use !g more than anything else.

> I have yet to find a Google query where Google ignores the quotes (it even goes as far as telling me it can't find anything).

Happened again and again to me until late last year or something.

Don't know what happened but I do have an tip that might help (and might be a nice idea for some of you):

time and time again I observed weird behaviour from Google (ignoring quotes, excessive fuzzing of search terms etc).

After living with it for a while I'd report it and be surprised by how fast they'd fix it.

And after thinking about it I realized that no way Google is listening to me.

What I'm pretty sure has happened is that time and time again I've been selected for all sorts of stupid A/B tests and when I report a bug what happens is I her added to a queue that removes me from the latest lame experiment a few hours later.

As others I finally left, but I sometimes do a !g and lately Google has gone back to more honestly reporting 0 hits to me when I search for stuff like "some really long and rkfjjfjfirirjrjfjfjfjfj improbable sentence".

As for why they've stopped experimenting with me I don't know.

But thanks for helping me finally move on :-)

And if Google is acting up, report a bug. Any bug. Most likely Google will magically "fix" it within a few hours.

It's weird that I've had the exact opposite experience, but you aren't the only person posting that quotes always work for them on Google. I've definitely had them return irrelevant results that did not include quoted terms, but can't remember an example off of the top of my head.

I think it would be helpful if I (or anyone else reading this) saved some examples for the next time this discussion comes up.

I have no concrete examples, but even with '+"term"' I've had google return results with "ten" bolded as if it matched, with "term" nowhere on the page.

EDIT: Not those exact terms obviously, but that degree of "That's almost completely different to what I typed!"

Maybe the quoted terms were in page keywords or inbound links.

One feature that I like about DDG is their multiple site search (search string site:123.com,345.com).

Startpage or Google, last time I checked a long while back, don't have this feature. Since I use an index.html (as my local home page), I wanted to get something similar to Google's Custom Search (ability to only search a set of specific domains).

At the very top of my index.html, is DDG's search form with radio buttons beneath (for the multiple site searches) - it looks something like this (included a couple of sample radioButtons):

<form method="post" action="https://duckduckgo.com/">



<input type="text" name="q" size="75" maxlength="255" value>


<input type="submit" name="ddg" value="Search">

<input type="submit" name="local" value="New Tab" formtarget="_blank">

<input type="reset" value="reset">


<input type="radio" name="sites" value checked>DuckDuckGo

<input type="radio" name="sites" value="github.com,sourceforge.net">FOSS

<input type="radio" name="sites" value="youtube.com,vimeo.com,dailymotion.com,metacafe.com">videos




This is an ad-hoc (poor mans') replacement for Google's CSE (https://cse.google.com/cse/). Useful for a good number of category types (news, social media, etc) and/or to reduce typing.

It can certainly be improved but it works for me (constantly editing the home page with a lightweight editor so I want to keep it simple).

You could improve usability by employing ‘submit’ elements instead of all radiobuttons, and offloading the ‘new tab’ functionality to a hotkey: that way, you'd tab-and-enter to fire one of the non-default searches, or Ctrl-enter for a new tab (or Cmd-enter on Mac; though I'm not sure why you'd want to open a new tab from the start page). The hotkey here would have to be implemented with JS.

But, in case you're using Firefox, you have an even better option of putting those search options into search keywords such that “ddgv something” would get you to the video search straight from the address bar.

In Chrome, IIRC you can do a similar thing by assigning a keyword which would work with “keyword”-tab-searchphrase, but a) I don't remember how it's done, and b) Chrome's address bar doesn't seem to rank searches as domain visits, so a partial keyword entry tends to be replaced with another domain, which is annoying.

Hah, I never thought to just "write my own" custom homepage, this is so simple and yet so genius. Thanks for the inspiration!

DDG is great; particularly for tech related topics, as it doesn't get skewed by whatever I was last talking about in corporate (gmail) email. One of the things I have noticed in recent years is how bad google is getting. It is definitely dropping the ball in many ways. Every behemouth looks unstoppable right before it gets stopped; remember when MS bailed out Apple? Bet they never expected trillion dollar apple.

FWIIW qwant and yandex (in english) are both excellent as well.

> I find that I'm following a similar pattern

Situation is much different now. Most Internet users don't even know what's a search engine. They just type in the URL bar and the search is performed transparently. Google has majority share on two main platforms (Google Chrome on desktop and Android on mobile) ensuring that their search is the default for the majority of users and is something people would get used to.

If a user isn't aware that choice even exists, they have no choice.

I believe this was recognized by Google years ago and thus their move into Android and replacing Firefox. Looking back, those were really smart, well executed strategies.

Even if Google search were to drop quality, it's so entrenched that it would take enormous effort to replace it at #1 spot. You would have to build a mobile operating system, a browser and a search engine - and all three would have to better in some way for users to switch.

This search in the url bar thing bugs me to no end. A little part of me dies inside when I tell a non-tech person to go to duckduckgo.com and they type duckduckgo in the url bar and click on the google link.

I used DDG for a while and I found amusingly I almost missed Google tracking me. I'd search for a restaurant to find opening times or address and the first result would be a restaurant of the same name but in a different city or different country. Google always seems to know where I am. I'm sure that's just some clever algorithms or balance of probabilities or something based on their profile of me. I don't like that idea but at the same time I can't say it's not useful.

I'm actually a little surprised that DDG doesn't at least do IP geolocation to provide more locally-relevant results. I'd hardly consider that "tracking" or any kind of privacy invasion, since it's so trivial to correlate an IP with a location, and they don't need to store any data about visitors to do this.

(Yes, I know, geo IP databases aren't perfect, and people using VPNs will get incorrect results. But for most people, this isn't an issue.)

We do use IP geolocation for local searches, so it sounds like our triggering is not detecting the context correctly. Would you mind sharing the search query please (if you’re comfortable), so I can take a look?

As an example, something like “pizza near me” should work: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=pizza+near+me

In terms of protecting privacy, you’re right, we don’t need to store the IP address (or any personal data), so we don’t. There’s more detail about how we do anonymous local searches here: https://duck.co/help/privacy/anonymous-localized-results

Disclaimer: DuckDuckGo staff.

FWIW, I do recall DDG regularly giving me results for Melbourne, Florida (when I actually want Melbourne, Australia).

E.g. if I search for <a href='https://duckduckgo.com/?q=melbourne+restaurant&t=ffab&atb=v1... Restaurant"</a>, the first result is FL.

"Melbourne Indian Restaurant" is a bit better, but half of the front page results are still FL.

"Melbourne weather" always used to return FL, but that looks like its been fixed.

Interesting, where are you searching from?

This is what I see when searching from the UK: https://i.imgur.com/XIxo4Jx.png

Quite clearly Melbourne, Australia. Maybe if you're in Florida it'll bias towards there.

Searching from Melbourne, Australia.

Screenshot here:


(The ad is geolocating correctly, but the first actual search result is "Melbourne Brevard County Florida")

I followed a similar usage pattern, but find myself using !g less and less. I use it if I know I need a google cache link, or on the odd chance the standard DDG search doesn't give me something relevant, but that is happening much less frequently.

This is my experience as well, I'd actually really love a search multiplexer that would run a query string on a bunch of search engines (which I could specify) and get the results back separated by the engine used.

I still have the opposite feeling. For a lot of things that I search, google still presents me more relevant results. Although DDG is catching up. Until recently, it always presented me with old.haxe.org results for some reason instead of the current version, but now it works fine.

The reason why DDG is my default url-bar search is because of the 'bangs'!g for google, !yt for YouTube, !w for Wikipedia and !t for thesaurus (when looking for variable names ;)), !gm for google maps, etc. Very handy.

Custom keyword searches are also natively supported by Firefox and Chromium-based browsers:

- https://support.mozilla.org/kb/how-search-from-address-bar

- https://www-archive.mozilla.org/docs/end-user/keywords.html

- https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95426

- https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/24227/complete-guide-to-keyw...

You don't even need to type a 'bang' (!): just use whatever keyword you want. And you can add any search engine you'd like.

Browser keywords are also handy for navigating to certain websites, not just searches. For example:

(or old.reddit.com if you prefer the old reddit UI) with a keyword such as 'rr', so that typing 'rr aww' in the address bar takes you to the /r/aww subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/aww

The saving grace for DDG is search directors (bangs) and privacy shielding. Their problem however, is these are incredibly trivial things for Google to also implement.

The main reason that forces me to extend my search from ddg to google is when I need to filter by past year. Why doesn't ddg have this ability yet?

Me too. I want to see last year very often, last month not so much.

What I've found with using DDG more and more is it's made me be a bit smarter in how I search. I, personally, found Google almost made me lazy in just throwing 2 or 3 words and seeing what comes back. I'm a little more specific in my queries now and it's gotten way better since doing so.

I've resisted for many years, but I use ddg more and more for streaming movies ilegally and for porn. For some reason google is heavily censored so that works great.

Now if I am using DDG that much, it must be that they're doing something right and that something is happening for them.

The ads look just like search results. Lycos must not be very profitable for them to pull shenanigans like that.

Also remember that when Google started, nobody tried to SEO or structure content to be searchable. Nowadays everybody has Google in mind when publishing .. yet its value to us is less. Smells like rot.

I suggest you to add Yandex to your search alternatives, so you can see what the truth of other side of the world

I use and like DDG but I can't believe this article didn't mention Bing, which powers DDG's organic results. Like, yes DDG is a small company based "just east of nowhere" in PA because Microsoft has spent literally billions of dollars on Bing.

To the extent we have a choice in search provider at all, it's entirely due to Microsoft's huge investment, and I feel like it's remiss not to consider those implications. If Microsoft eventually throws in the towel and shuts off Bing, then DDG will cease to exist. It's not like this plucky little underdog of a company that people are rooting for has any chance on its own. The market dynamics of running a successful search crawler and engine are important to consider here and totally brushed under the table in this article.

MS also invested a ton into Windows Mobile, I imagine, but market share only went down according to Wikipedia.

If DDG is simply a skin for MS Bing along with anonymous/little tracking, maybe that's what the people want?

I don't understand how this comment relates to GP. Whether people just want a DDG skin for Bing doesn't really address GP's points that (A) the article failed to mention this, and (B) failed to consider its implications.

If DDG is not using some of that money to build their own crawler, they should give that money back to investors. It sounds extremely hard building yourself crawlers, but it's been done in various degrees by Archive.org, various SEO tools, and Common Crawl. The best time to have built the infrastructure was 5 years ago. The second best time is now.

I think the guys in DDG know this, but if they don't.. they're a bad business decision from Microsoft away from nonexistence.

They have their own crawler, DuckDuckBot: https://duckduckgo.com/duckduckbot

I'm not sure but I think ddg was known before using Bing.

You know what can stop google? a search engine that assumes I want every word in my query, or even better a search engine that honors a string in quotes to mean these words in this order. When did google stop doing this?

edit: This wouldn't stop google, it would just make that part of my life as easy as it was 10 years ago.

I'm also annoyed by this.

Google tries to out-smart the user and often yields garbage or generic popular crap even when looking for something very specific.

I want my quotes back too!

An even bigger issue:

Due to SEO and ranking benefits for popular sites, it's basically impossible to discover quality content by smaller sites/blogs via Google. Unless you go to like page 10+, where you also get a lot of irrelevant stuff.

This hit me very recently when I was doing a crypto project [1] and ASN.1 DER came up. I'm german and "der" means "this" in German so google just treats "der someword" as search for "someword". So when I want to know e.g. how strings are being DER encoded, I google "DER string" and am getting results for G-string underwear and some duden.de website but nothing about ASN.1 DER strings on the first page :/. At least when you google for "DER integer" a post about ASN.1 values is the fourth result.

[1]: https://github.com/est31/rcgen

With regards to your last point, ive had some good luck with millionshort.com, which lets you remove some portion of top sites from your results.

Google never stopped doing this.

I use quotes all the time for exact matches, and it always works. (Unless there are zero results, in which case it says so and falls back to unquoted.)

In fact, they were pretty public about this being the solution when they dropped "+" to mean required... to just surround in quotes instead.

There have been many times in the last few years where I searched a section of a complex error message, and got results that were almost the same thing, but with one word or a few characters changed. I suspect the reason has to do with how they normalize and store ngrams for making results faster, but I would much rather have a slower response with accurate results.

Documentation suggests Google never stopped doing this.

https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433?hl=en suggests "phrase inside quotes" is still exact match. And if you put a single word in "quotes", that indicates to Google the word must be included in the results (I determined this by searching for something where some words were omitted, then clicking the small "Must include:" link under a result and noting how the search changed).

Documentation around this isn't as good as it could be, and it's rough that the search codeset changed when G+ came around so that +word no longer meant "Must include."

They say that but I have tried this many, many times in the past few years only for Google to just ignore it. It's possible my search query just has no exact matches, but Google thinks it is being helpful by expanding the query. This just ends up wasting the users time because they scan through all the related results looking for the exact match that doesn't exist.

If they expand your search beyond your "exact" "keywords" it very clearly states at the top of the serp that they're showing you related results.

You can go test it for yourself: it definitely no longer works!

Works for me. Link to a query?

Here is a great example:


Links to this page, but says "no results found, showing related results"

Interesting. If the bolding of the match is to be believed, it looks like the algorithm is dropping joining words and words too common to provide useful search signal, but as a result doesn't have enough data in the backing corpus to be confident it has an exact match, as you requested.

DDG on the same query gives exactly that page but nothing else. I wouldn't be surprised if Google finds that to be an inferior experience (because the common use case is people kind of remember a quote, but don't remember it exactly, so a few words out of place would false-negative the search where the answer the requester is looking for is edit-adjacent to the input).

It looks like this particular example is actually due to the "+word" in the quote.

Here's everything up to but excluding "+word": https://www.google.com/search?q="Documentation+around+this+i...

And including "+word":https://www.google.com/search?q="Documentation+around+this+i...

People keep saying it happens, but I've never seen a Google query that didn't full-match a phrase in quotes.

Also, if you click Tools, you can change "All Results" to "Verbatim", and it will do what it says on the box. I tried leaving it on and got annoyed after five minutes.

Google have become masters at not knowing when enough is enough. Remember when Google Maps was great? Not perfect, and not quite as pretty as it is now. But it sure did work well and was a hell of a lot faster than it is now.

I started using DDG as my default search engine about 6 months ago, and for 95% of the searches I do it's totally fine.

I don't know why people think that DDG needs to "stop" Google; did people think that Lycos and Infoseek and Yahoo couldn't coexist back in the 90's? I think it's good that both companies have some competition from each other.

history has mostly shown a zero-sum game when it comes to search. Didn’t all of those other search engines you listed die off? Even Bing has been mostly irrelevant in comparison to Google. Also a lot of DDG users came over because they were unhappy with some of Google’s practices. Therefore it’s natural for them to want to justify their decision as a good choice by hoping the rest of the world comes to the same conclusion.

I tried DDG, it worked good but Google is better. I can’t afford to spend cycles wondering what Google would have returned when I’m trying to research something while I code.

Oh, I'm not disputing that the world tends to converge on a brands, but I'm trying to say that that doesn't have to be the case; both Coke and Pepsi can coexist, as can Lysol and Clorox. When I eat at McDonalds, I never have the mentality of "by eating here, I'm stopping Burger King".

At this point I've found DDG to be comparable to Google, but occasionally I have to do the !g to find what I'm looking for.

With fast food or soft drink brands, the differences are minor taste based things and quite frankly one or the other doesn't matter much. It's easy to compare at different times and decide on your own tastes and efficiency factors. The problem is with search engines, quality of results makes a big difference in how your time is spent and it's trivial to check what the competition has on offer - almost every time I would run a query on DDG I would find myself going "huh, I wonder if Google would have done better".

You don't go "wow, that burger sucked, I'll go get the competitors now", you're already satiated enough with your crappy burger. Because it's easy and cheap to run a query, you're almost forced to check.

Given how much better Google often does, running my queries on DDG in the first place is generally a waste of my time.

You can get anonymized Google results on DDG by prefixing the search with "!g"


I think the choice is "!s" which redirects you to startpage.com, which is anonymised Google.

I don't think those results are anonymized. You're just being redirected to Google.

It used to redirect to encrypted.google.com, which DDG said Google didn’t track, but that changed/went away.

> history has mostly shown a zero-sum game when it comes to search. Didn’t all of those other search engines you listed die off? Even Bing has been mostly irrelevant in comparison to Google. Also a lot of DDG users came over because they were unhappy with some of Google’s practices. Therefore it’s natural for them to want to justify their decision as a good choice by hoping the rest of the world comes to the same conclusion.

What does that imply about sustainability of free market capitalism?

After all, all market benefits and dynamics die off if people on the market are unable to exercise choice.

It says that capitalism fails without anti-trust enforcement. This has been known for a long time.

But... it's... just Bing with federated search redirectors? Is that truly competitive? Any of the search companies could implement the same overnight if users were clamoring for it.

I'm more than happy if Google continues to exist and I have an acceptable alternative for my own use.

I've used DDG for about four years but not really to do DDG searches. I use its "!" prefixes so that I can do something similar to chrome's omnibox search with different engines in other browsers without thinking about it. Its muscle memory now for me to !g, !w, or !a whenever I need to search a specific site for something.

Just curious, what would you say the majority of your searches are category wise? Do you use it for a lot of local searches (finding restaurants) or more for tech/programming?

Seems like everyone’s has a different experience with DDG. But it’s sounds like it’s better in some categories than other stuff.

DDG = Bing for most of the queries in US. You are basically using bing and 95% of the time and happy with it. Good I guess.

Any breakdown of which source is used for which percentage of queries? No.

And what's your point, exactly? You aren't tracked by Bing because they are proxying. DDG gets ad revenue (who cares that they are Bing ads?) which pays for this service. If the results are good, what do you care?

Sure, I don't want to use bing behind a proxy, a lot of people here is acting as if it is something else. They are acting as if it is something else. You like it? Use it.

I don't know your intent but the link basically confirms that it's all Bing and Oath.

> We also of course have more traditional links in the search results, which we also source from a variety of partners, including Oath (formerly Yahoo) and Bing.

Without the personal information being recorded and sold.

Kind of goes to show that the personal information we are giving away may not be that important when it comes to finding what we need, even as it makes us a bigger and juicier target for ads.

Yet still it is Bing search + Bing ads.

DuckDuckGo do have their own crawler, how much it’s used I don’t know.

My guess, <1%. I would be happy to be refuted with real data. Creating and maintaining a global scale high quality search engine requires a huge team with billion dollar level resources. They have neither, for now.

If you want to know how much of a real, self-sufficient search engine it is, just look at the hardware footprint. You need a lot of computing and storage just for the crawling and indexing (webspam included), let alone the serving.

Expressing cynicism and demanding to be proven wrong is not an effective argument strategy.

If your goal is to convince others, you should collect the data yourself and share it with them.

Apparently they only use this data for simple question and answer queries, because they do not disclose breakdown of query types i can not certainly know the numbers, and i made an optimistic guess. Also i don't think my points regarding building a real search engine were unfair. Do you disagree with any of these? I express cynicism because of lack on transparency on their side.

Gabriel Weinberg's email is public; you could probably just email him and ask.

Even though a lot of the indexing data is from Bing, doesn't DDG do extra stuff to guarantee privacy?

I don't particularly care who is giving me the data as long as the results tend to be OK; I don't run any MS crap at home but if their search service tends to work alright, then power to them.

Sure, but in my eyes this makes them a proxy, not a search engine.It is nice to have alternatives, but it looks at the moment they are at the mercy of Bing. Maybe one day they will evolve and become an actual search engine. who knows.

I've heard that a few times on DDG-related articles this past week but I was under the impression that the duck had its own crawlers and used Bing on top of that to complete its results. Do they really solely proxy Bing results?

Yes, they have their own crawler but it's only used for widget stuff like Instant Answers.


Mostly Bing for any non trivial query. As far as I see, they never give actual numbers / breakdown and try hard to divert attention from this. If they do i would love to know.

95% just isn't good enough.

Search result quality is not a clear-cut issue. In my experience DDG/Bing even yield subjectively better results sometimes.

Same, there's some personal preference too. I don't always want to be shoved into the extreme bubble that Google builds for people.

DDG is much better for searches that I don't want personalized results for.

Given that google also fails to give me the result I want at least 5% of the time, I guess nothing is good enough.

It's good enough 95% of the time.

There is nothing stopping you from falling back to google that 5% of the time.

Or just continue to use Google and get better results every time.

95% is typically fine for me; I typically do the !g or !s thing when I don't get an answer quick enough. It is pretty rare that I don't find an answer after that.

Sure it is. For the other 5%, you can spend an extra 3 seconds searching again on Google, if you really need to.

Why must everything be a "company" killer? There's room in markets for choices. I think DDG is providing a good choice for folks. And having Apple data behind them isn't just potatoes.

Because, in the current economic environment, there really isn't much room in the markets for choices. It's increasingly been one quasi-monopoly that everyone knows about, and then a bunch of niche options for people who dislike the monopoly player for whatever reason.

Oh? Let's pick an easy market to judge this against, then. I know! Let's talk about smartphones. Surely the largest company on the planet is a quasi-monopoly in this space... oh, but they're not. In fact, Apple's not even a majority leader in just the USA, and the numbers favor them even less globally. There is clearly a choice in the cell phone market between privacy, quality and cost, and people are making those choices.

Not to say that this isn't true right now in the search market. I grew up in a world where Google didn't exist, and the reason Google is so much more popular at search is because they're just that much better at delivering relevant results than everyone else. I used to search with Excite, Yahoo, Lycos, etc. and modernly I've TRIED to use Bing or DDG or whatever other choices have surfaced, but when the product seems free, people are going to make the choice that maximizes quality, and right now Google is just winning at it.

Still, if someone comes along who can actually deliver on the search quality then the market will change.

So, sure, let's talk about smartphones.

In 2010, there were quite a few smartphone platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, WebOS, Windows (CE or Mobile or maybe both; can't remember when the switchover happened), Bada, probably some others I'm forgetting.

Between then and now, the story, aside from slight eddies such as the dismal failures that were Ubuntu Touch and FirefoxOS, has been one of platforms steadily exiting the market. So now we basically have just two options: Android and iOS.

And already I see people on HN occasionally predicting that iOS is doomed due to the fact that it has ~15% global marketshare, and Android has all the rest. I'm not sure if that's really true, but, regardless, the trend is still most certainly not toward a robust, competitive market with lots of consumer choice.

It depends on the market really. In some markets, there are strong effects where anybody but the market leader is at a super strongly disadvantageous position.

In the smartphone market this is not the case. You can buy from various SOC vendors, you can put Android onto your phone, you can do all of this while competing with other companies. There isn't much of an intrinsic benefit that e.g. Samsung has.

For search, it's different. Yes, you can crawl the entire web using crawlers, but what you don't get is data about which links people are clicking. It allows you to order the results in the right way. Google is paying hundreds of millions to Mozilla annually for the hundreds of millions of users that Firefox has. The reason for this is the clicking data. Not that Google needs the Firefox users any more, but any competitor would massively benefit from the amount of searches that they'd get from Firefox users alone.

Or take your classical communications network. Whatsapp, Facebook, etc. Here, network effects are the reason why there is such a strong monopoly. Nobody wants to join a network where they can't talk to anybody. So people join the popular ones like Whatsapp or Facebook.

There is a ton of money to make if you are in a monopoly position where you can't be kicked out and that's what most of the SV stories are about. They get VC to be able to get big enough to disrupt some market and become monopolist, hoping to stay monopolist due to network effects or similar mechanisms.

Fair points, also depressing ones.

Digital asset vs. tangible good differ significantly in the applicable market dynamics.

Where do you consume music then?

>Still, if someone comes along who can actually deliver on the search quality then the market will change.

Not really? We've already been here. We had multiple search engines of similar quality. Google came along as a superior product, and therefore raised superior money, and no one else could keep up. It's a zero-sum game in a lot of respects.

Even your smartphone example is zero-sum. Try to buy an Android device that doesn't use a Qualcomm chipset. Unless you go buy an Apple device you're just buying different configurations of the same hardware. Huawei has their own, but they aren't really even allowed to have a considerable market in the US.

The US kills competition. At best in a lot of regards you get two options. Even within the political system. If you don't have money you can't compete.

I recently switched my homepage to be ddg. Most of the time it’s pure annoyance, returning unrelated results and never giving nice top of page summaries. I really didn’t want it to be this way, but most of the time (I’m pretty sure 2/3 at least) i have to revert back to google.

I've been using DDG for a couple of years now, and have a different experience. Usually when I'm frustrated by the the result in DDG, I try the same search in Google, and find that the results are no better!

Google image search and and local results are still better, but DDGs ! system makes it easy to switch search engines when you need to.

I have had a similar experience to you. I switched to using DDG as my main search engine for about a year now, and I am quite happy with the results it gives me. Once in a blue moon I'll be stumped enough to try searching Google, but I haven't found that their searches are any better.

Things such as DDG's 'bang' system, and the ability to view and save photos easier, I've been finding it just as usable or even more so than Google these days.

To further your point (I have switched a couple years ago, if not more; don't remember), I also found that the new Google layout (with this sort of bubbly cards) is really distracting and I cannot scan the results as fast as before, or as fast as DDG's. UX definitely took a beating with this iteration of Google's results UI.

I think this is a fair point but a major part of my complaint. The other day i tried looking up the hours of a hardware store and kept getting unrelated results. Today i tried to check the hours of a bar, and google returned what i thought were the wrong results, but in fact the bar had just changed its name...things like that are the polish that really makes the difference between one search and a mess of keyword mashing to get the result you’re after.

Agree. In my experience, the top results in Google and DDG are usually the same. Sometimes in a slightly different order.

Do you use Google while logged in? I've heard complaints like that every now and then and I just can't relate. My best guess is that some people get very personalized results and they've grown used to them. I've used DDG as my main search engine for several years now and I don't really have any complaints.

Funny, I switched and barely noticed the difference. The biggest issue I had was the lack of a quick button to jump into google maps.

!Bangs are great for when you need to find something specific or technical, which Google is much better at. I find this addresses most of my gripes for personal use.

People still have homepages? My homepage has been about:blank since about 2005

> Why must everything be a "company" killer?

I wonder if it's the fact that...

1. ...the current idea of superiority is absolute domination on the market (see: monopoly),

2. ...the age we live in promotes being only the BEST and the most AWESOME, without ever giving chance to the average and the mildly-good, which may not shine as brightly but does its job well,

3. ...there's unduly competition on the market – not just your healthy capitalist "We sell better 'cause we make better products, so step aside", but something more antagonistic on a more... personal? level,

or all of it, to some degree.

I could be biased on number three, given that I'm quite sensitive to antagonism in general. It does seem to me that, while there's no malvertisement (no one's saying "My competitors are shit, we're light-years ahead"), everyone seems to try and trump others in spirit.

Nah, probably not.

There's an unusual amount of pro-DDG articles on Hacker News, half of them are PR fluff, and I don't understand why they keep getting upvoted.

People like underdogs ?

And privacy.

Underducks, in this case.

And all the pro-Google articles are what?

They are nothing because they don't exist. When was the last time you saw a pro-Google/Alphabet article?

When was the last time Google did something that was worth promoting that wasn't just an attempt to acquire and exploit more personal data?

Are you okay?

Did you have something on topic to say?

Because Google Search sucks these days. (To be fair, this is not by any fault of Google themselves. Rather, like any monoculture, Google Search is especially vulnerable to external attacks, such as from SEO's trying to game the system.) If anything, DDG today is a lot closer to the quality Google Search itself used to provide back in the 2000s, before it was SEO-gamed to death.

I mostly agree with you about Google search results, however I think the decreasing quality is more due to political influence and corruption, rather than SEO-games.

I use DDG by default. If I am not satisifed I simply prepend !g to my query.

The bangs feature is really useful to me personally since it supports so many sites.


My only complaint is that it's noticeably slower than Google

you can also add bangs at the end or in the middle if you want, or decide halfway through you want to adjust your search.

cool I didn't realize that

id imagine speed isn't a current priority for Google as Gmail, calendar and maps have shown. It's probably a hold over from before, I'd give it a year before they roll out some improvement that allows it down.

Slowing down Google Search would have a much larger impact on revenue than slowing down Gmail or Maps.

This couldn't be farther from the truth. More speed means more page views means more ads seen means more revenue. Walmart Amazon plus others have done studies showing faster load times translates directly into increased revenue in there retail.

Yet gmail and maps are slower than warm asphalt.

You can't escape Gmail because you'd lose your address, and you can't escape Maps because the alternatives suck.

On the other hand if I don't like Supermarket-X, I can go to Supermarket-Y

Can't you get another email address and forward your google mail to it, and then phase out usage of the gmail address? That's what I've done.

Or your were lucky enough to start using Gmail with your own domain, when Google Apps was still free for up to 10 users, and can still use it for free.

Google Apps with a custom domain was once free for as many email accounts as you were approved for. There are a handful out there with lots more than 10 free accounts. They don’t get support, have less space provided, and can’t use the outlook connector so it’s not an equal comparison. It’s nice that google hasn’t changed this on their users.

Zoho recently restricted their free custom domain service for email. Not sure who is the best free option out there now.

I have my own domain name through Google apps and use a naive mail client to access gmail. As soon as the handful of people I talk to exclusively on hangouts migrate elsewhere, I'm ditching Google as a back-end. I'd never have predicted this in 2008. Back then Google still cared about UI speed.

It's clickbait hyperbole to say nothing can stop google. Google will fall once something usurps their dominant platform advantage ( chrome/search/android ).

People said the same thing about Microsoft/IE when microsoft leveraged their dominant OS position to take over the browser market. But once google search became just as important or even more important than the Windows itself, they leveraged their search platform to take over the browser market with chrome.

For now, google is cleverly leveraging it's search/android/chrome platforms to block competition and maintain it's dominant position. But eventually, another product/platform will arise that will knock google off its pedestal. Maybe even anti-trust lawsuits will help like it did with ending the Windows-IE monopoly.

Please tell me how to use a smartphone without being locked in the Apple platform or Google's. I'm well aware of LineageOS (and other ROM) and of F-Droid (and Yalp and others) but in reality, it's impossible not to supply Google with vast amount of personal data.

So for now, it's true that "nothing can stop google". Unless we change the situation (e.g legal/political actions), this won't change. But of course, if we collectively admit nothing can stop Google now, then we'll do something that makes it possible to stop Google and have some real competitors.

I'm going to focus mostly on their SE. Google's success is hugely based off their years and years of data collection, meaning no company starting now will ever catch up. I understand that history has shown how unlikely it is for a company to truly be unmatched, but when huge sample sizes of data that can only be accrued with time and no other means comes into play, the situation is different.

This issue of time is made even worse knowing that Google's engine would be a pain to try and recreate, given their decades of optimization. If you're someone who A) wants to match google's data and B) catch up to the competency of their search engine, you're looking at 20+ years of work all while google continues to improve their current search engine. Many PhD's have gone into ensuring Google's SE is perfect down to every last decimal point. It would actually be impossible to make an exact copy without direct theft.

"Google will fall once something usurps their dominant platform advantage ( chrome/search/android )."

I question whether this is a matter of "when" or whether it's actually a big "if". People will be able to provide alternatives to google but i don't think there will ever be another google.

Lot of people here are using DuckDuckGO. I tried that and some others that respect privacy. I like them but there is only one reason why I still use google.

Convenience. I do lots of movie, tv show, sports and Famous People search. Almost always I find what I am looking for directly on the google result page. If I have to open those links, I will have to go through all that js tracking and bloated sites. Google is fast. I keep track of sports scores and schedule through google search. Bing also does all of these.

I use DDG now, and have been for about a year.

I still !g a lot, but I’m alright with that. I wish it were a shortcut to add !g to a query.

One of the key things I’ve realised in the switching is that I actually LIKE a lot of the changes google has made from initial “just show the 10 results” like DDG does today.

I like the news carousel, when I’m searching for a news related article.

I like all the local info on a cafe / store, when I’m searching for it. The google implementation is WAY better than Yelp listings (constantly nagging me to install an app, Yelp seems to satisfy no one, it’s a middle man resource no one needs)

But overall I’m happy using DDG for a first crack, knowing my privacy is valued, and moving onto google when I need to.

It feels like I’m supporting a more private future, now, without hindering myself severely in the process. I’m happy with that compromise. Hopefully one day google will not be necessary.

Again, my one wish. Give me the !g tag in one click, one swipe, what ever. Don’t make me type it into the query box and search again!

Isn't DDG just bing with a different interface? Or do they actually build their own index now or am I just completely confused and totally wrong about my assumptions?

I'm glad DDG exists and it's my main search engine. But I'm using g! in about 50% of my queries.

For very technical queries I somehow already know that google gives me better results at the top. DDG results feel more like a dice roll.

Two things I also miss are "site:url" filters (dont know if ddg provides this) and date ranges, for example results within the last 3 years.

Well, maybe it's possible but I have other things to do than to browse around ddg or learn a bunch of bangs. In my opinion this is the main barrier to entry. Provide me all the possibilities on a single screen or behind a menu and don't expect user to dig around the docs. There's a lot of potential which will never be uncovered by alot of users, so they stick to google.

> Two things I also miss are "site:url" filters (dont know if ddg provides this)

How can you miss it when you haven't tried it?

Yes, ddg supports it [0]

It also supports limited date ranges, like last week, last month etc [1]

[0] https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Anews.ycombinator.com+duckdu... [1] https://duckduckgo.com/?q=php+json+site%3Astackoverflow.com&...

Well stupid me. Thanks.

site: doesn't work in my browser url bar at the start so I got used to prepend !g... I know, a terrible workaround..

Could not find a way to search within specific years which is very useful for overloaded terms. It says, they are working on it..

You can start your searches with a space :)

As long as DDG is not traded publicly it will do just fine. Investors would inevitably be screaming for more growth and ultimately force them to comprise their current values.

They're still beholden by their VC's, who most likely forced them to purge a lot of their !bangs not too long ago.

Why? The !bang is a referral, if you get enough traffic you can charge the site you’re sending traffic to

Is that why there is no longer a !libgen bang? I swear there used to be one.

Bing gives me points I can cash in for Amazon gift cards. I rarely fall back to G, and when I do it seems like the sponsored search results are much more intrusive than even those on Bing. What I'd really like is a meta-search engine incorporating Bing, G, and DDG...but I have never gotten around to doing this myself and don't know of any OSS project that does this. What's most disappointing about Bing is the lack of good search results from Microsoft tech documentation.

I really wanted to use DDG but I found for most searches I ended up just using the !g bang anyway, so finally I just took out the middleman.

Google doesn't need to be stopped, a lot of innovation is happening there. It just has to be more profitable to care about the users of the services than about the business-clients of Google. If privacy of end users would be a core business instead of selling data there would be no problem. Sadly I don't have any glimpse of an idea how that could be happening. The world is complicated and every little piece that makes interacting with the world more convenient is welcome. Google is convenient, so nobody[1] gives a damn about their data.

I use DDG for 90% of my searches, no complaints from my side.

[1] some do, but since many people Diabetes 2 can't be convinced for a more healthy life style, what do you really expect from others if consequences of habits are not even directly visible...

DDG is my default search. It's good for 85% of my searches. Its video and maps search clearly lag behind Google (mostly from a UI standpoint). It needs to find a better balance between shepherding privacy and UX. Most local search is weak, even if I enter in my city/state.

Once place they are long ahead on UI is the image search. You can actually "view file" and not "view site" as google had to do after that lawsuit from getty [1]

But having said that, it is very annoying that they put a large nagging notification on the top right of the screen asking to switch to it as it's default.

If I want to do that I will do it myself thank you. I never figured out why webpages do this kind of thing (i.e. pop up a newsletter subscription form blocking the whole article). It just pisses off the users. It's actually the main reason DDG is not my default search engine.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/02/internet-rages-after...

I use DDG primarily now. I've noticed that I often get better results for my programming queries than from Google and there's always `!g` if I don't find what I'm looking for.

On a side note: anyone else think Apple will eventually buy DDG?

please no

and I'm an Apple user

I've switched to DDG and I've hardly looked back. Google's search has been seriously declined in quality. Most search operators [1] are no longer supported. Even those directly in the "tools" menu don't work.

For example if you search "Nothing Can Stop Google. DuckDuckGo Is Trying Anyways site:medium.com", and set a custom date range to sometime last year. You'll see results which state this blog post was posted in 2018-October-31 for example, or which every date you prefer because I assume they just fuzzily fit the post date -into- that range. You can make google tell you this blog post is 2+ years old.

The Google.com I found useful in the early 00's even had document qualifiers so I could search for strings, but filter to just PDF's, or HTML, or JPG's. Now I have to pay for these features via a Google App-Engine private search instance. It just feels like having somebody spit in your face. When features were free, but they quietly became pay-to-play without zero warning.

[1] https://bynd.com/news-ideas/google-advanced-search-comprehen...

Searching by filetype seems to still work fine, e.g.: https://www.google.com/search?q=linux+filetype:pdf

I find it to be an awesome way of finding a document that's actually a few page long list of random document titles, one of which happen to be the one you're searching for.

Reminder that DDG actually has an extension (FF & Chrome) and their own Android browser available on Google Play Store and F-Droid!

and iOS browser in the App Store

I don't think a lot of us here realize DDG is Bing. And also that it's heavy on marketing.

Given the size and increasingly walled gardens of the web, is it even possible for a new search engine to launch in 2019 and compete with Google? Consider how much time and money Microsoft sunk into Bing. If Microsoft turned off its Bing API, could DDG spin up its own crawlers?

It's not just duckduckgo that's privacy focused.

https://startpage.com is rad [0]. I've moved to using it from duckduckgo and haven't felt I've missed Google, at all. They pay Google to proxy their non-personalized search results, and let you view webpages "anonymously" [1], as well.

[0] https://www.startpage.com/en/search/download-startpage-plugi...

[1] https://www.startpage.com/en/search/proxy-help.html

And more importantly startpage.com is a European service while DDG is an American service. It's extremely important for us in HN community to keep promoting European services regardless of product considerations because anything American is by definition toxic and should not exist.

For what it's worth, DuckDuckGo has .25% global market share on desktops: https://netmarketshare.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx

In the US, it's .66%.

Why are people worrying about Bing shutting down? Bing brings in billions, and it's bigger than Twitter. Not to mention that Microsoft needs a search stack for the rest of the company.

I stopped using chrome lately, memory usage of firefox is 4x less, sometimes 8x..

I also have ddg as homepage for ages. For most quick queries it's useful. For google worthy queries you have bangs.

DDG can win by becoming the king of porn searches. Bing and pornhub are the competition, not Google.

Porn brings massive traffic, then they'll use the site for other things.

DDG = Bing anyways.

Quick question, if you Google 'ddg' in incognito mode, do you get any results regarding DuckDuckGo? In the first 10 pages of Google Search I only get two 'relevant' results; one in the bottom of the first page, and a second one of an article mentioning DuckDuckGo in page 8 or something. (Not trying to start a war here, just asking).

Android smartphone, Chrome isn't my default browser but I used Chrome (it's set to Google default, mostly for local search & YouTube). "ddg" doesn't return duckduckgo until page 4, but typing "duck" returns duckduckgo as suggested result 4, and searching "duck" returns duckduckgo on the first page.

I get a link to DuckDuckGo on page 3, and a mention of it on page 8.

On page 2 there is a link to "Duck Duck Geese" which is a local restaurant apparently.

Google's official reason for forcing local search results was that 1 in 5 users were searching for local results. So in this case they are returning results that are sub-optimal to 4 out of 5 users.

I was curious so I tried "!g ddg" and duckduckgo.com was the second result on page 2, whether I was in private mode (in Pale Moon) or not.

Google is at it's core an ad company, not a search company. So they have backed off crawling the entire internet and only crawl what has a business return for them. Combine that with carefully curating the results they publish, it can barely even be called a search engine at this point. I get more relevant results from DDG at this point.

> So they have backed off crawling the entire internet and only crawl what has a business return for them.

What's the difference between Google's web crawler and DuckDuckGo's web crawler?

> Combine that with carefully curating the results they publish,

Google carefully curates? I thought that Google's search results is based on the users behavior? Are they carefully manipulating everyone's results?

> Are they carefully manipulating everyone's results?


Unless you want to start paying for every search, i don't see how a "search company" that isn't fueled by adverts could ever exist.

I stopped using Google due to intrusive ads, if you have someone in your family that have a chronic disease and you've ever googled it, get ready to be blasted with ads reminding of that every-time you watch youtube/browse the web. There are just some things I don't want to be reminded of Google !

I switch my default search from Google to DDG a few months ago (In the chrome address bar). I like DDG but two things i have noticed

1. DDG image search is far far inferior to Google's

2. DDG response time is slower than Google's

Other than that, I love it and all of the little tools they add for developers (color wheel etc)

I wish they got domain like ddg.io|ai|... [that appear to be available too]. It would be so much easier to quickly type that in when DDG doesn't happen to be a default search engine somewhere. Instead of typoing it in a hurry to demo it to someone.

They have duck.com and ddg.gg. Both Firefox and Chromium make <ctrl-enter> wrap the url in 'www.' and '.com', so 'duck<ctrl-enter>' works.

Thanks for this! I wasn't aware of either.

I wonder how feasible it will be for duckduckgo to release a desktop program that will store all our searches and do some machine learning "magic" locally. We would get custom made searches and privacy as well.

For anyone interested in useful, tested !bangs, I made a dedicated website of my favorites: https://duckgobang.com/


They do have their own web crawler. I don't have any idea what percentage of their results come from it, but presumably as they grow their own search results will take an ever-increasing slice of the pie.

There doesn't seem to be any evidence that it's used for indexing at all; it seems more like it's just used to scrape additional info from sites that they index via real search engines like Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo.


Their own crawler is not used for any organic search results, only widget stuff like Instant Answers (and spam detection apparently as per sibling comment).

I have always used DuckDuckGo instead of Google and to be fair, they both perform the same way except DuckDuckGo provides more privacy which is something that is important to people anyways.

I use DDG as my main search engine. Though sometimes frustrated with the results that it pulls, then I go to Google. I'm sure DDG can only improve, I will continue to use them.

Google's search engine provides good results for precisely the reason DDG will never be able to: They sacrifice privacy to collect data that improves search results.

Google seems to have a strong hold on up-to-date news sources. I find myself going to !g when trying to find information on a current event.

Nothing can stop DuckDuckGo. At least I hope so, I've been using it regularly for some years now and I love the Google-free experience.

stop google? why? i don't even care about google. they are 100% irrelevant to me. i'm sure some of the email i send touches their servers, but i self host all of my services including search. i do some of my own indexing, but metasearch works well for me right now.


It is not even trying, considering how slow DuckDuckGo is to load compared to Google and Bing.

At least it is slow in my country anyway.

So if I wanted to slowly start moving away from Google, what would you recommend for an email provider?

I've had more success finding TV shows on ddg. Google still a bit better for coding questions

If anyone from DDG is reading this please make the site faster from South Africa. Thanks.

(Are there/what are some) objective metrics used to measure search engine quality?

For some us, cutting ties with companies that have surveillance capitalism as their business model has already occurred.

Ad supported services are fine, targeted ads that require ever more invasive spying on your users on behalf of your advertising customers are not.


Please don't repost flagged comments. You've been breaking the guidelines way too much, so if this doesn't change we'll ban the account.


I haven't reposted anything, I am being flagged for merely saying my opinion

DuckDuckGo is a heel.

I'd just like to encourage people to think a little longer about what you might be saying, before reactively downvoting.

It's hardly a common idiom, does he mean ddg is close behind google, does he mean it's run down? Does he mean it's keeping people down?

No company lives forever.

Google will have its comeuppance one day too. It may not look like that right now, but back in the day Sears, too, had everything, and look at them today.

Not a very good comparison I'm afraid, Sears didn't lose to an other company who was offering the same service, they lost to a series of companies that offered the same utility but in a very different way.

DDG is mostly just offering the same service as Google (really, only a fraction of the service because Google is a lot more than Search these days). As such I expect that at this point if a Google-killer appears it's also be a DDG killer as collateral damage.

is he making that comparison? i read it as, ddg may not bring down google, but something eventually will, which seems exactly what you are saying too...

As has been mentioned probably millions of times in the last decade, "to google" is synonymous with, "to search the internet for". As long as this remains true, and google search remains free, their monopoly position cannot be challenged. they have the trademark on the shortest sequence of syllables which means "to search the internet for" which means that in the vast majority of cases, when people describe searching the internet for something, they will do so with the word "google".

Isn't "Kodak moment" a counterexample?

"Hey, let's take a Kodak moment of this event"

Hmm, doesn't quite roll of the tongue, does it? Not the same thing.

No, because Kodak is not a free service. Xerox or Kleenex are closer, obviously, but neither of them is free to use, so there's always room to come along with something cheaper, moreover, Xerox and Kleenex at least have unbranded, one word synonyms for the commodity they produce, photocopy and tissue respectively. Google has "search the internet for", which you will never convince the average person to say, so dethroning google in "search" is at least as difficult as getting the word for "to google" changed.

Furthermore, no one can compete with Google on price, since it's free, and it's very unlikely that anyone will be able to compete on quality, unless they start disallowing adblock somehow.

The best you can hope for as a competitor is to carve out a niche of conscientious objectors, and google doesn't really care about those people either, because they are intrinsically difficult to monetize.

> Furthermore, no one can compete with Google on price, since it's free

Google is free because they are deriving revenue from ads. Another service monetizing with ads or by some other method not directly from users could share revenue with users, thus competing favorably on price with Google's free service.

I'm not entirely sure "Kodak moment" was ever more than advertising, but do people still use that phrase? I know it, as a thirty-something, but I'm not sure I've ever used it.

I duck it.

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