ddg has never given me good results for technical topics. Google used to, but I feel like they changed something. Now google just regurgitates the same top sites over and over again, very rarely if ever displaying less popular sources like forums or a professor’s website or papers. In fact a lot of the time, google decides it wants to search for some other thing than I tell it because I must have made a mistake searching for something that not very many other people search for. IMO, the apex of google search was around 2010-2013.
At least they’ve added « Must Include » options sometimes.
Is it because it would reveal key parts of the algorithm? Or is it a stance (i.e., a standard Google search ought to be enough for everybody)?.
I’m using DDG for more than a year now. Works well in most cases. Sometimes I have to use !g but that doesn’t stop me to use it.
That ddg doesn’t have a similar option makes it unusable. I suppose I could write a wrapper that puts every word in quotes...
I know DuckDuckGo have acquired the domain duck.com. Occasionally after an unfruitful Google search I would think, maybe I should give DDG a try. Since duck.com is easier to type than duckduckgo.com, I would visit duck.com. But duck.com would direct me to a stupid landing page that asks me to “Add DuckDuckGo to ...” or “Install DuckDuckGo” on iOS. There’s a teeny tiny “or try a private search first” line at the very bottom where I can click to reveal the search box. What the hell? The landing page makes me 300% more likely to just leave, instead of adding or installing it.
You can try it yourself: https://duck.com
(Btw, almost every time I land on Quora, that post by DDG CEO shows up as promoted. Kinda tired by now.)
Edit: To be fair to them, I noticed only just now that the box could be dismissed with a close button or clicking anywhere outside, so clicking on “or try a private search first” isn’t the only way. However, in my defense, the close button blends pretty well into the image, and being able to click outside is unclear since unlike modals elsewhere, there’s absolutely nothing behind.
I still fail to see why they have to hide the search box.
I checked with start.duck.com and s.duck.com, and neither of them redirect properly. Seems like a semi-obvious oversight. If the popup is genuinely necessary, it would be nice to have a quick way to avoid it.
It’s simply strange that they would try to coerce a first time visitor to install their app, and hide the search box behind some fine print.
Edit: Wow, this one downvoted to negative. Guess I pissed off a few true believers. You may argue why the point doesn’t stand, instead of just downvoting, or, say, giving me a helpful and condescending primer on switching search engine.
Anyway, I don’t harbor ill feelings toward DDG. I’m pointing this out because I think the dark pattern here will genuinely hurt adoption, even if to a minuscule extent.
I've been using DDG as my primary search engine for ages now - perhaps years now? It has been great - very refreshing, no filter bubble (that I can see).
I still end up doing !g maybe 3 or 4 times a week when struggling to find something, but often I can't find what I want on google either. On the whole, I generally really recommend it. I still use google as my primary at work and I cant say I notice the difference in the results quality (technical or region).
My main criticism is that the "products" search seems to basically be an "Amazon search" where as Google Shopping is actually quite useful when trying to find a retailer, and some of their search widget things (e.g. currency conversion) are pretty basic compared to the richer ones Google has.
So when people say they wholly moved from search engine A to B, I am suspicious. And when the counter-argument is, "but the problem is A is better than B on query X," I think, "of course, and you might keep using A for X, while using B for other things."
This isn't (yet?) your operating system or where you live. It's just a web site you are selecting in the moment to provide a service. You can use a different web site for much the same service the very next moment.
I personally just have bookmarks set up so that "b [query]" is a bing search, "d [query]" is a DDG search, and "g [query]" is a Google search. Further, "m [query]" searches MDN, "s [query]" searches SO, etc.
I've seen this in HN a million times before. Someone ditches Google or Facebook and proceed to tell you why they made that decision and how. I don't care!
This feels like the new Instagram food pics. I don't care!
But I feel alone here. Like how every time this same topic gets posted hundreds of comments validate it. Saying how this is too hard because Google is an evil monopoly or how it's not too hard because a random person also did it, and then proceeds to tell you a better way to ditch the evil corps. I don't care!
Am I crazy? Are all online communities destined to become an echo chamber pushing incessantly the same ideas and types of news?
At this point I wish I could drop Hacker News and replace with something less evil. Maybe I'll write an article on Wired when I do it.
As per the guidelines, articles on-topic if they "gratify one's intellectual curiosity".  Yet these are so often rehashed arguments attached to a personal anecdote!
Personal stories of leaving Google search for DDG, Chrome for Brave, etc. are countless, and I can't see what ideas could be presented that are novel or stimulating.
The comments are always exactly the same as well!
HN is becoming an echo chamber of pro-DDG/anti-Google, which whatever, but these showing up on the front page almost every other day is starting to take a toll on the overall quality of the front page.
I’m not sure if the goal is to spread awareness, but not sure how effective that really is here (e.g. everyone here already hates Google).
Can you provide links to recent posts like these? If they show up "every other day" that should be fairly simple. Using the HackerNews search and looking for the term "duckduckgo" I only see 8 stories within the last week, only 1 having reached the frontpage (this one), and including this one, only 2 about switching to DDG and only 1 being somewhat critical of Google. My cursory search does not seem to agree with your statement.
I want to do it, I just don't want to go through the transition. Any article that gets me closer to that point is welcome to me.
People do care, hence the upvotes.
| Search string |
| | | |
| Bing | DDG | Google |
| | | |
| Hit 1 | Hit 1 | Hit 1 |
| | | |
| Hit 2 | Hit 2 | Hit 2 |
| | | |
| Hit 3 | Hit 3 | Hit 3 |
| | | |
The extension would need to be smart enough to de-duplicate hits across the different engines.
Finally, I really REALLY want to pay for the search engines themselves (make it a subscription at $50/m or something), because then I know their incentives are aligned with my needs rather than with their ad business's needs.
I don't think any of the search engines have search API's? Maybe they could make API access a paid feature.
Note: this was before Bing branding, but I forget the exact branding of the time.
Completely googles for almost 5 years, android rom baked at home with microg, self hosted nextcloud, searx, mail server and squid doing permanent caching on cdns and removing all the tracking junk from pages.
- Google's blatant Youtube spam in search results. They no longer keep them in the "video" tab. It's becoming increasingly difficult to keep YouTube out.
- Better UX: no sticky headers, clean output without random stuff injected into your search results, which is especially annoying on mobile.
- Image search actually can be used for image search, i.e. I am not forced to visit pages of images, when I need an image URL.
Basically, DDG looks like Google circa 2005 which is a good thing.
I think they lost a copyright lawsuit over that one.
To address some of the comments below, the slowness I'm talking about is probably P80-ish. Most queries run fine, but I was noticing throughout the day that some queries would randomly take multiple seconds to resolve. I never timed them, because just re-running the queries would work around the issue, so I suspect it's some backend thing on DDG's side. Google does have similar issues for me, but it feels more like P99-level.
The results take the same time to appear, but Google feels faster than DDG.
I'm using DDG and I'm quite happy about it. Very rarely I switch to google and if I do it usualy to search some location specific things like nearest pharmacy.
"!" I can easily type just with my left hand, "&" requires left & right hand working together. For something, I use as often as bangs on DDG that is simply not acceptable.
That way, people can use DDG and easily fall back onto Google when the result is slow or inadequate. I know about the bang-syntax (!g) but this requires about 6 touch actions on mobile.
Just give me a button I can hit whenever I want Google's result instead, and I'll gladly switch to DDG.
DDG results are meoicre.
It's weird when you can say internet search has devolved.
This year, for a site I knew existed, I had to use a very obscure search engine to find content on that site, for the other search engines it was omitted from the results. This only happened a couple of months ago, before then they listed that site. The site did not violate copyright.
YouTube has drastically increased its censorship this year, with both soft and hard censorship. Things that users found relevant that turned up first in search results are now replaced with MSM videos and people have to put very specific search terms in to get the video to show up in the lists, effectively removing it from most peoples results even if it is the most relevant thing they are looking for. There is altering recommendations. There is the hard censorship where a video doesn't even have to violate TOS or guidelines any more. YT now uses an AI from a very powerful lobby to decide which videos to censor.
This all happened very near to something that was called VoxAdpocalypse. Censorship was increasing the years before that but the sudden increase this year (2019) caught a lot of people by surprise, I think that was quite intentional, ram it through so fast that people didn't have time to react. This was all supported by MSM and the unity among the mainstream media organisations was very noticeable.
Where I live this year the largest ISPs have blocked a lot of sites on the flimsiest of pretense, sites like archive.is , zerohedge.com , and a variety of social sites that say they support free speech.
With the way things are heading, if you have something unorthodox to say, woe be unto you. Just look at what happened to Julian Assange, and CNN calling people don't support him being imprisoned as 'free speech activists', I would almost expect CNN to call them 'free speech extremists' if they could get away with it.
also google has "evolved" in that it uses close matches for words which probably helps a lot of people. i find it terribly annoying to constantly needing to be quoting words and it still doesnt seem to work that well.
It has been repeated ad-nausea: duckduckgo's organic results are taken directly from Bing.
Let's take an example, here is the result of the last actual query I made in DDG: "dig show all": https://i.imgur.com/AccN8WJ.png
Now, in Google: https://i.imgur.com/KLjKfYu.png
This is just ridiculous. I end up using !g or !s (StartPage) for almost all my queries...
However I tried checking United States, and results are indeed better. I will try that :)
This is based on my political views. YMMV.
Though I have hear the opposite from others. Not sure what's up with that.
Content on Stack Overflow is CC BY-SA 4.0. It’s arguable whether DuckDuckGo shows enough information to consist attribution, but this isn’t generally impossible to do.
My native language’s alphabet is Cyrillic and whenever I search for anything, I always get results in Russian, even though I’m not from Russia.
* Languages other than English
* Regional search
not everybody is living in the USA. DDG simply does not work good enough in a global world!
For DuckDuckGo, like others have noted, it is really poor at technical results. I thought Google was bad before, but now I almost always have to switch back. It does seem to "feel" slower than Google, but that could just be FireFox. I've also come to really enjoy two things that Google does: the weather graph where I can easily see the multi-day forecast and easily see precipitation chances _throughout_ the day, and I like that I can watch the day's trends on a given stock.
For FireFox, I have had it stop being able to log into _any_ site on mobile for Android, so I had to re-install it. A few times a week, the browser completely locks up in Mac. I can drag the window, but I cannot interact with any tabs. I have to kill it and restore. It feels slower much of the time. Also, on mobile, it is more finicky on clicking. Example, on HN on mobile, I have to zoom to click the collapse/expand and up/downvotes. I did not have to do that in Chrome. I do like that it is more privacy focused and I like the scrolling tabs compared to Chrome's continually smaller and smaller tabs.
I'll keep with it on both fronts, but it has felt like a step backward for the most part.
If mobile means Android you should give Firefox Preview a shot, a whole new experience.
DDG's index of web pages seems bigger. The index isn't as up-to-date on popular sites, but many obscure sites (e.g. my blog) show up in DDG and not in Google. But then Google indexes more PDFs.
Mostly: DDG is just a fantastic time-saver. Bang searches from the navigation bar, URLs directly in the SERP, no Google ad spam pushing organic search well below the fold, images accessible from the image page, and of course, no bubbling or tracking.
Yes, occasionally I need to offer slightly more specificity in my searches, which really isn't a challenge.
And yes, the list of shortcomings I'd made on HN in 2014 still largely apply: ranged-date searches, specific media collections (scientific articles, books), and specific Google tools (ngrams, trends) have me going off DDG. But those are much as HN searches (!hn), Wikipedia (!w), or the online etymological dictionary (!etym) a bang away (!gbooks, !trends, !ngrams).
Technical search quality is as good or better than Google at this point.
Archive collection, notably in older content, occasionally weaker.
Almost wonder if they're doing it on purpose.
Haven't used ddg long enough to comment on the quality. But at least google for Norwegian results have declined lately. Many results are just machine-translated spam on autogenerated blogs.
For instance, last week I googled "pes anserinus bursitt", and one of the top results is http:// bumyjaki .tk/arrestere/pes-anserinus-bursitt.html (don't open it). The preview is broken Norwegian, and clicking it I get popovers saying I've won stuff, and firefox asks if I want to enable vibration, and I'm instantly redirected to more spam. How the f is that so high, google? And it's prominent on lots of stuff I search.
I am an engineer on Google Search.
Sorry to hear about your experiences; I would like to better understand the issues that you're seeing and reproduce them on my end, so that I can file detailed bug reports for the folks working on those features. I would appreciate your help if you're open to that.
First, I compared Firefox on Android with Chrome on Android for a few queries and they seem to get very similar results (but we are likely using different queries). Would you be able to provide some sample queries where Firefox was receiving the results that led you to change its user agent and get different results?
I also visited several AMP pages on Firefox from Google search results (Reddit and BBC) and they were all scrollable, so it's likely that we're looking at different sites as well. Can you tell me which sites' AMP pages were non-scrollable for you?
Regarding the poor results for Norwegian searches: I wasn't getting the problematic URL for this query; will try reproducing this again later. If you have any other search queries for which the Norwegian results are bad (or have been declining in quality over time), if you're able, please share them with me as well: either here, or if you prefer, you can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Thanks in advance!
Advocacy is great but nothing new is discussed really.
"When you realise that most things you search for online are really boring and obvious, you soon realise you don't really need Google in your life"
How is this an argument to use one search engine over another? Whether it's boring and obvious or not, you're still using a search engine. I stopped using Google because I was tired of landing on sites that seemed to be chosen by Google rather than finding the types of sites that I was looking for. Not that I'm entirely satisfied with DDG, either. I'm very tired of typing in keywords only to have them ignored.
Side rant: I'm so tired of these headlines being phrased as if they're assuming that "we've all been doing this wrong" or "I did this so you should too".
That said, I do 99% or my searching on DDG.
(And to add one of my pet peeves: why none of the search engines let me easily blacklist domains from my results?)
It also sounds like maybe you should search your browser's history instead, if you're looking for previously visited pages.
I've been using DDG for a few years now, and very rarely do I find that I need to go to Google.
Except that I eventually realized the frequency at which I had to add a !g in front of the query was above 50%.
I really wish I could use ddg as my default search engine. It's just not feasible.
I always see anecdotes from people who use !g a lot. I guess thats never a habit I got into. Maybe i can just never tell when my search has given "bad" results, but I've never felt like something was missing. I don't think I've purposefully done a google search for quite some time now.
The last few times I have done a google search, (mainly on systems that still have google as the default) I have gotten almost exclusively AMP pages as the results. I never see this with DDG and its given me a reason to stay away from google.
Interestingly one of the ways i still end up on google is the "spotlight search", or whatever the system search is called on iOS. It occasionally has a "show google results" button, separate from the "search web" button. It only ever appears sometimes, and its weird that its ever there at all considering DDG is my default search in Safari. When it is there I sometimes tap it on accident, because its always above the "search web" that I'd like to use.
Ext:pdf is great for finding about technical topics
Chrome browser -> Firefox
Google search -> DuckDuckGo (StartPage for specific searches that DuckDuckGo doesn't do well at)
Gmail -> ProtonMail
Maps -> OpenStreetMap
Translate -> DeepL
Analytics -> removed them from my site completely so no tracking scripts at all