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.