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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?


Upsides:

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.

Downsides:

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


Upsides

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.


!python3


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/">

<center>

<fieldset>

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

<br>

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

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

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

<br>

<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

</fieldset>

</center>

</form>

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:

https://imagebin.ca/v/4UYChGqqIEQy

(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:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/%s
(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




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