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.
* 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.
May I recommend an alternative bang? "!s" (for startpage.com) is my companion.
It doesn't always work perfectly, but in theory  Startpage offers the same (edit: non-bubbled) 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.
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.
It seems heavily skewed to oracle/ms server when searching anything sql related. Perhaps because it's powered by Bing?
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.
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.
Overall I've found DDG results are actually better and less frustrating than Google's for this exact reason.
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.
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.
I think it would be helpful if I (or anyone else reading this) saved some examples for the next time this discussion comes up.
EDIT: Not those exact terms obviously, but that degree of "That's almost completely different to what I typed!"
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).
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.
FWIIW qwant and yandex (in english) are both excellent as well.
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.
(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.)
As an example, something like “pizza near me” should work:
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:
Disclaimer: DuckDuckGo staff.
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.
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.
(The ad is geolocating correctly, but the first actual search result is "Melbourne Brevard County Florida")
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.
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:
Now if I am using DDG that much, it must be that they're doing something right and that something is happening for them.
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.
If DDG is simply a skin for MS Bing along with anonymous/little tracking, maybe that's what the people want?
I think the guys in DDG know this, but if they don't.. they're a bad business decision from Microsoft away from nonexistence.
This wouldn't stop google, it would just make that part of my life as easy as it was 10 years ago.
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.
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.
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."
Links to this page, but says "no results found, showing related results"
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).
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seems like everyone’s has a different experience with DDG. But it’s sounds like it’s better in some categories than other stuff.
> 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.
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.
If your goal is to convince others, you should collect the data yourself and share it with them.
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.
DDG is much better for searches that I don't want personalized results for.
There is nothing stopping you from falling back to google that 5% of the time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Google image search and and local results are still better, but DDGs ! system makes it easy to switch search engines when you need to.
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.
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.
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
On the other hand if I don't like Supermarket-X, I can go to Supermarket-Y
Zoho recently restricted their free custom domain service for email. Not sure who is the best free option out there now.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
How can you miss it when you haven't tried it?
Yes, ddg supports it 
It also supports limited date ranges, like last week, last month etc 
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..
I use DDG for 90% of my searches, no complaints from my side.
 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...
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.
On a side note: anyone else think Apple will eventually buy DDG?
and I'm an Apple user
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.
https://startpage.com is rad . 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" , as well.
In the US, it's .66%.
I also have ddg as homepage for ages. For most quick queries it's useful. For google worthy queries you have bangs.
Porn brings massive traffic, then they'll use the site for other things.
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.
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?
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)
At least it is slow in my country anyway.
Ad supported services are fine, targeted ads that require ever more invasive spying on your users on behalf of your advertising customers are not.
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.
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.
Hmm, doesn't quite roll of the tongue, does it? Not the same thing.
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.
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.