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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.




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