Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Twitter CEO Endorses DuckDuckGo (twitter.com)
535 points by stopads 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 228 comments

I switched my iPhone to Duck Duck Go over the last few days simply because I hate hate HATE getting linked to Reddit AMP pages from Google.

Reddit (and Stack Exchange) pages are what I use most to find honest discussions about some topic. Very convenient to use those results to filter through the blogspam.

Reddit's AMP pages are especially bad, with multiple annoying pop-ups that don't get cookied when you dismiss them on AMP. I don't understand what Reddit is getting out of the deal... their mobile site is equally as "mobile" as the AMP page. The AMP experience is so bad.

No preference to un-AMP yourself on Google. So, I switched my search engine. The DDG results seem significantly worse, or at least very different. But old.reddit.com pages load perfectly, and fast.

I 100% agree with the reddit experience - it takes like 4 taps just to get to the #%!* page. No I don’t want your app shoved down my throat on every load. It has completely ruined reddit for me on mobile. Just show me ads if you need to and leave me alone.

If I had the time I'd work on a Reddit clone without the new redesign and ads. Run it completely funded by Wikipedia-style donations, then turn it over to the community for governance.

Reddit's money grabs piss me off.

To bootstrap the thing I'd crawl Reddit and copy threads, users, subreddits, comments - everything. Users could prove account ownership or create any account that wasn't already allocated. If Reddit sues, they'd face backlash. Comments all used to be GFDL (then Creative Commons) anyway.

There is at least one established anti-reddit, Voat and there's an open source version of it.

Voat is a great place to go for people skeptical about Jews, non-whites, the overweight and transsexuals to freely share their... concerns.

So I don't think software is sufficient to compete, you need heavy community moderation.

Have you tried using some third-party app for Reddit? "Reddit is fun" works pretty great for me, no nonsense and good usability.

Apps are too risky.

The risk that any app will, now or in the future, be hacked, sold or just changed to suck all the data from your phone and send it somewhere you don't want it sent is too high for my taste.

There are good FOSS reddit clients for android. Build one then install it.

That may be, but how long do you expect them to allow 3rd party apps?

Once they can get 3rd party usage below a certain threshold of engagement, they'll block the API.

"Reddit Is Fun" is great and has been around for years, the unfounded belief that they may block access one day isn't really a valid reason to not use it.

They've been allowing for a good while so hopefully for a bit more at least.

TBH if they block third party I'm done with them. Def won't be accepting the default user experience.

I bought Sync for Reddit to get rid of ads. I've used it for maybe two years. Even if they block it tomorrow it would have been worth it because the experience has been tremendous. If I'm forced to go back to the official app I'll just stop using Reddit on my phone.

And also, they'll get third party usage below a certain threshold if people don't use it so... Don't help them!

> If I had the time I'd work on a Reddit clone without the new redesign and ads. Run it completely funded by Wikipedia-style donations

Already exists and made by one of the earlier reddit employees: https://tildes.net

Indeed. Anyone interested should check out the initial announcement on the blog: https://blog.tildes.net/announcing-tildes

Privacy oriented, open source, user funded, focused on quality content, aiming to develop a user-centric moderation system like slashdot and stack exchange that puts moderation into the hands of the people who participate in each individual community.

If you have a reddit account, you can visit /r/tildes and leave a reply in the sticky invite thread to get an invite code within a day. Or, you can send an email to invites@tildes.net to get one.

It's worth noting that Tildes is created and operated by Deimos, the same guy who created reddit's automoderator and subredditsimulator.

My impression is that Reddit, Twitter and Quora are completely broken on mobile. My only possible conclusion is that these companies don't care about mobile users. Or at least not about casual mobile users who don't have the app installed. (I'm certainly not going to install a separate app for every website I visit; I already have a browser for that.)

I find twitter to be quite usable in mobile safari. I have the app too, but usually find myself still browsing in safari.

Quora is just a broken site right now, mobile or not.

reddit OTOH still seems to work okay on desktop. For a plaintext discussion forum that I prefer to read anonymously, theyve reaaaally screwed the pooch on mobile. I aboid reddit links whenever possible now, which is... sad.

Quora is now working fine for me on mobile Firefox, but it was completely broken a week ago. Twitter refuses to show any content at all half of the time.

Some of this could of course be related to privacy settings in Firefox.

Another advantage of DDG: the result links are straight to the destination, unlike with Google where there's a tracking redirection in between. This is great on Android, as I can open the link straight in an app (like Wikipedia) without going to the page first and then launching the app.

Yes, not to mention when you want to share the link in DDG you share the original link directly but in Google you'd share the redirector link.

Given Google's scale they probably don't care about the long tail of technical users such as us.

I tried this just now and this particularly seems to be a problem on Firefox.

On iOS (WebKit) and Chrome, Google’s search results can be copied just fine - there’s no redirector because Google uses hyperlink link auditing (<a href="..." ping="...">).

Firefox does support ping but disables it by default for privacy reasons.

Which is good, I guess, because now the link tracking is more apparent, but it does still happen and leads to a worse UX for the user.

Especially useful in the Images search to share the link or find the original image directly.

I'd also noticed this behaviour but never really thought about why. I've been using DDG full time for a couple of years now and I've been very happy with it.

I’ve never been to an AMP page where I haven’t clicked forward to the actual site because the AMP sucks. Which means that Google’s attempt to, well I don’t really know what the hell they are doing with AMP pages, has made searching such a damn hassle.

Unfortunately Duck isn’t very good in my country.

AMP's not that bad for, like, a local restaurant website or random news article or whatever. Fast and mobile friendly, when it might normally not be. Bit annoying if you want to copy the link, but whatever. Fine.

But Reddit already has their own mobile site, and app. And half of the appeal of Reddit are the AMP-incompatible features such as voting and commenting! Why do they allow AMP to destroy their website?!

With reddit it’s extra annoying because once you’ve clicked through the amp, you still have to manually replace the www with old.

I’m not sure how we ended up with an internet where you need to move through a search engine and two shitty mobile web apps to get to the page you wanted, but here we are.

You can set 'old' as a preference in your reddit account. It doesn’t seem to be 100% reliable, but it’s far better than all that url manipulation.

I did, but it doesn’t seem to work very well when I’m on my phone. I may be alone in this but even though old isn’t particularly mobile friendly I still prefer it to the mobile web app.

AMP experience infuriates me. I'm used to the browser native gestures and AMP takes over it all in a way that breaks my muscle memory. I have blacklisted Google News and switched to DDG because of it.

Now in iOS 13 you can set a preference to always request the desktop site for a given domain. That's the only thing keeping me on the Google search default on my iPhone.

It's a bit annoying to have to zoom in on the results after every search, but that's still less annoying than trying to escape from AMP pages. And, no matter which engine I use, I have to deal with the crappy Reddit redesign - so that's still annoying.

On my desktop systems where I'm not constrained by the walled garden, I have browser extensions to redirect to old.reddit.com (because I don't want to sign in with an account everywhere) - but mostly, I am just looking forward to whatever will replace reddit hopefully some day soon.

Where is this preference?

The “aA” in the address bar

So you set that for google.com, and then zoom in to see the non-mobile SERP every time? And non-mobile Google never links to AMP?

I was hoping there was a setting for the results domain that disabled AMP.

You used to be able to double tap to zoom very easily but somehow that does not work as well anymore in iOS 13. Now when you do it, it selects the text as well as zooming.

OK, correction: something I just figured out today is that you can actually set the zoom level for a given site as well now. So I set it to like 50% for Google and now I get the desktop version zoomed in properly whenever I search.

> I switched my iPhone to Duck Duck Go over the last few days simply because I hate hate HATE getting linked to Reddit AMP pages from Google.

Funny thing because I also switched to DuckDuckGo to avoid AMP on mobile and stayed on DDG for years (!g is still needed sometimes unfortunately).

I hate AMP pages, but hadnt thought about using DDG to get rid of them. Switching now.

here is the 2016 announcement for Reddit using AMP:


What's AMP?


> General criticism

AMP has been widely criticized by many in the tech industry[20][21][22][23][24][25][26] for being an attempt by Google to exert its dominance on the Web by dictating how websites are built and monetized, and that "AMP is Google's attempt to lock publishers into its ecosystem".[27] AMP has also been linked to Google's attempt to deprecate URLs so that users will not be able to immediately see whether they are viewing a webpage on the open Web or an AMP page that is hosted on Google's servers.[28]

Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University, said: "there is a sense in which AMP is a Google-built version of the web. We are moving from a world where you can put anything on your website to one where you can’t because Google says so."[29] Ramon Tremosa, a Spanish member of the European Parliament, said: "AMP is an example of Google dialing up its anti-competitive practices under the nose of the competition regulators."[29]

IMO I find the regular mobile version of Reddit as bad as the AMP. I just ended installing an unofficial app (boost) for whenever I wanna browser Reddit on mobile.

Blame Reddit for wanting you to use their app, not AMP.

If the SERP linked me to Reddit, I'd have a cookie to saying I've dismissed the App pop-up before AND my logged-in account would be set to load Old Reddit directly. AMP breaks both. The links work perfectly from DDG.

I have mixed feelings about this. If you recommend DuckDuckGo, Qwant, Ecosia you're essentially recommending Bing. Each of them have to show bing ads, forward the users' IPs as per Bing's terms of service (to fight ad fraud etc). Similarly, if you recommend StartPage, you're recommending Google. Same drill with ads.

I like DuckDuckGo. But unless they build their own search - I think the fundamental problem has not been tackled. There is no good, independent, private search alternative.

[Edit] I am not trying to single out DDG. There are a few replies that either demand for proof (rightfully) or suggest Bing is used only sometimes. I do not have conclusive proof, but have worked on search. Here's a couple of things for the curious:

1. Try to run this test: If you query "what is my ip" in duckduckgo (DDG), or any of the other ones I mentioned, you will notice in the description of one of the top results this IP: It's a BingBot IP [0]. It's a good enough test to spot where results are coming from.

2. Open two browser windows side by side with DDG and Bing. Turn on results for the country you are in in DDG. Look attentively. Try image search.

It is clear that DDG does some re-ranking based on its own, but it's very often the same results.

[0] https://whatismyipaddress.com/ip/

You say:

> Each of [Bing’s search partners] have to show bing ads, forward the users' IPs as per Bing's terms of service (to fight ad fraud etc).

But DuckDuckGo says:

> [W]e never share any personal information with any of our partners. The way it works is when we call a partner for information, it is proxied through our servers so it stays completely anonymous. That is, any call to a partner looks to the partner as it is from us and not the user itself, and no user personal information is passed in that process (e.g. their IP address). That way we can build our search result pages using these 100s of partner sources, while still keeping them completely anonymous to you.


>Each of them have to show bing ads, forward the users' IPs as per Bing's terms of service (to fight ad fraud etc)

The ToS you are referring to is for companies without custom deals in place.

You can read DuckDuckGo's privacy policy here: https://duckduckgo.com/privacy

> I like DuckDuckGo. But unless they build their own search - I think the fundamental problem has not been tackled. There is no good, independent, private search alternative.

There isn't going to be, because it's really hard and expensive to do that. I don't see how any startup could even begin to compete with their own search engine.

The barrier to entry is extremely high: Bing probably would not have survived long enough to be profitable if it had been a startup. Microsoft put a lot of money into building it.

Subscriptions and micropayments would not be a solution for DDG because too few people would be willing to pay. Ad revenue is the only model that has sustained search engines in the long term.

I see crawls from DuckDuckGoBot so chances are they're trying.

It would be quite easy to only index Reddit and StackOverflow.

Respectfully, I think you are definitely overestimating the cost of building a search engine. Do you have experience in search specifically? Asking in good faith here.

I think you're absolutely right that it's not trivial, but it isn't a completely unsolvable problem only addressable by the major spyware corporations like Facebook, Google, etc. I think you could build a decent search engine in about 6-18 months if all living expenses were paid and you could just lock yourself into your apartment with no distractions, with maybe a team of 1-3 other extremely talented engineers.

You will need data on relevant results for a broad swath of queries to fine tune your ranking models against, and will need to spend millions on infrastructure just to crawl and store an index of the entire web.

Wouldn't there be a ton of search startups if it were actually this easy?

It's not so much the difficulty, though yes it is hard, but it's generally extremely difficult to raise capital as a late entrant into an established industry. Unless there's something disruptive. That said, it doesn't take that much capital to build a new search engine with today's computing infrastructure so a few have tried over the past 5-10 years but none were as good as Google (a minimal benchmark). They found a lot of initial interest then died out quickly (sorry I'm forgetting the names, maybe Powerset, Blekko and another). Without doing any "heavy lifting" and also thus not requiring much capital, these so-called "private" search engines have gotten some traction.

I think competing with Google would actually be a more difficult problem

The only honest answer to that question depends entirely on one's interpretation of the strong efficient market hypothesis.

Yes, you're basically right...but the problem isn't building your own search engine, it's in getting search ads privately as well as just being transparent and honest about how your service works -- none of which is true for DuckDuckGo sadly. Their business model is built on sending your personal data to bing when you click on ads on their search results page which link to Bing (moreover they say they never send your IP or personal information to a third-party, but presenting an ad on your search results without disclosing that the ad links to Bing may not "legally" violate that clause but it does in spirit). Ads are also localized so even if they aren't sending your IP address (which according to Bing they are supposed to be doing, but in their terms they claim not to), they're sending your location data. DuckDuckGo further refuses to clarify what data they do send (i.e. how accurate the location data is, what is it even) to retrieve search ads. They aren't transparent about how they work and their business model is fundamentally built on non-private search ads from Bing. It's not "true privacy" nor sincere to say you're not saving any user-related data when you're sending a lot of it to firms like Bing who do save it. The only search engines close to being truly private are epicsearch.in (part of the Epic Privacy Browser) and maybe some small, interesting efforts like private.sh, neither of which have search ads.

* Dealing with a proprietary cloud service is never going to offer privacy. If you want to be confident you have privacy, you need to use public, community efforts which you can become part.

* DuckDuckGo could be saying "We have a client from Kyrgyzstan, please give us an ad". Bing could be saying: Here is the heading, the body, and the URL. DDG could be dumping that in the page. Your privacy is not compromised.

* DuckDuckGo could be saying "We have a client from Kyrgyzstan and a client from Brazil and a client from Texas searching for 'plastic sponge bathtub' or 'green sponge bathtub' or 'green sponge beach'" in response to a search for "green sponge beach" from a Brazilian. Bing could be responding with several answers. DuckDuckGo would then send the relevant answer to the client.

* If you click on an ad, you have no privacy, end of story.

Does anybody have any infos about Qwant?

It's the only EU-based search engine with its own indexing engine ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qwant )

I don't care if it's EU or not, but is the index real or kind of half-fake? (like "yes, we have an index, but it's 10MBs big...")

I started using Qwant ~2 months ago and it isn't bad: the snippets that are shown in the search results often don't contain the search terms that I used but the links were so far good - but I did mostly lookups for e.g. functions and other reference data - the few times that I challenged it with exact searches its results were similar to the ones of Google, meaning that it didn't return the websites that contained such exact sequences of characters.

No knowledge, but at least for my searches it has a definite edge against ddg. (I am European.) What I especially like is that in many cases qwant returns nothing if there is no exact match of my query (typically I made a typo.) I kind of like the feeling that the engine tries to search what I tell it to search, not what it thinks I want to search.

I like to be able to search things I have no idea how to spell. It's pretty easy to make a guess at spelling words and I want to at least have a suggestion below when something is wrong.

That's as easy as !g

> What I especially like is that in many cases qwant returns nothing if there is no exact match of my query

I agree - I admit of having been surprised the first time that it returned "nothing" but in the end I did like the feeling of knowing that it did search what I wanted to search.

I would like to know too. I read someone on social media alleging they also used Bing behind the scenes, without attribution, but I haven’t researched further.

You might be right :(

By searching some random words like "when to buy fruitcakes" (without double quotes) I get almost the same listing in Qwant as in Bing. The results are a bit too similar... .

I'd rather 100 people know 1% about me than 1 person know 100% about me. Even if the only thing duckduckgo did was spread knowledge about me thinner, it would have value. Google already has most of my email (because most people I send emails to use gmail) and my youtube viewing history. Giving them my general search history as well isn't something I'm keen on.

Duckduckgo isn't perfect but they're better than google. If I knew of something better than duckduckgo, I'd use that instead. But I'm not going to let perfect be the enemy of good.

Aren't DuckDuckGo searches a mixture of Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and their own crawler?

I don't know a great deal about their infrastructure and would love to learn more about it.

This article is from 2017, but has some more technical detail behind DDG than other articles do:


I don't know about the DDG searches, but IIRC Yahoo is just Bing now

So a mix of Bing and Yandex?

There are basically 4 search engines left in the whole world - Baidu (China), Yandex (Russia, recently officially with KGB management), Google and Bing. That is all, full stop. Everyone else is a fancy GUI for on them. Google has more than 90% market share and each of the rest has like 1-3%. Building new engine is prohibitively costly and hard. So the lesser evil is Bing, by simple elimination.

You can't include Baidu in the list and say Google has 90% market share. Saying Baidu has 1-3% without specifying "in the USA" is misleading. They've got a billion users in China.

AFAIK, DDG uses Yandex engine for searches in Russian.

> But unless they build their > own search

IIUC, they have built their own search, but use Bing(among others) for paid ads.

If this is the case, it seems that it’s the business model that needs innovation and not the search engine itself.

Try to run this test. If you query "what is my ip" in duckduckgo, or any of the other ones I mentioned, you will notice in the description of one of the top results this IP: It's a BingBot IP [0]. It's a good enough test to spot where results are coming from.

[0] https://whatismyipaddress.com/ip/

Building even a mediocre search engine involves a gigantic index in >40 languages that is constantly refreshed, plus image and video indexes, porn, spam, malware filters, complex ranking, freshness, originality algorithms, constant quality analysis and continuous maintenance and improvements for the infrastructure. They are not transparent about breakdown of queries or details of their deals with Bing and Yandex. They try really hard to create an illusion that it is a real search engine, but seems like it is basically smoke and mirrors.

Wonder how viable it is for a web search engine to support itself on paid subscription. It could also be $X per N search result pages.

> Try to run this test: If you query "what is my ip" in duckduckgo (DDG)

I tried that, and did not see 207.* anywhere on the page. It displayed my IP address above the results list, and then a list of reasonable results for that query, without any IP addresses listed in any of the descriptions.

I see it in the 3rd result:


This means DuckDuckGo uses Bing for its results. But it doesn't mean DuckDuckGo is forwarding your IP to Bing.

A duopoly will be marginally better at implementing user-friendly features like privacy than a monopoly, because there is at least nominal competition.

However I think we need to start asking deeper questions - why is it that concentration is so prevalent in the software industry?

Software is often said to have "natural" monopoly characteristics, but are those characteristics really a product of "nature" in the way that say the laws of physics are, or are they a product of IP laws and the regulatory choices made by the government?

I feel it’s because of network effects as well as inability to steal IP easily.

Network effects purely because once you have enough mass of people on board, you can easily attract more people and it is easy enough to distinguish yourself from your competitors that it deters people from switching and/or even being able to make a comparison.

Second you can’t easily steal IP. Anker making a next generation charger will have to face copycats who went to their OEM and were sold the design or the product itself from the backdoor. It’s simply difficult to keep things under wraps when it has a physical + human component. Not so easy in software. To substitute Instagram you’ll probably [0] have to write everything from scratch. Computers when configured correctly will not exactly sell your work from the back door.

[0] I mean source code is still stolen but it’s still marginally harder to use source code than just selling the stolen designs. Plus stealing source code works only once because the victim will then clamp down harder and then continue to innovate it’s way out of the mess.

> forward the users' IPs

Seems doubtful since that would be contrary to DDG's main marketing message and their reason for even existing.

AFAIK qwant is using its own engine

Do you have a reference about DDG using Bing?

It's not mentioned on their site, or their wikipedia entry, or anywhere else I could find, and the results were different when I tried a few searches in them both just now.

Are they "Using Bing" in the same sense they "Use Wikipedia" to put info boxes on the results page sometimes?

"We also of course have more traditional links in the search results, which we also source from a variety of partners, including Verizon Media (formerly Yahoo) and Bing"


That doesn't suggest anything that the OP is saying. Google does similar things. We wouldn't say that searching DDG is like searching Stack Overflow. Or it is like searching Yelp.

There's a difference between getting results from sites that contain content (Wikipedia, Stack Overflow, Yelp) and sites that are pure search engines (Bing).

There's also a difference between reskinning a search engine and aggregating other engines' results with your own.

Sure, and AFAIK Google does neither of those, so it would be wrong to say "Google does similar things".

> AFAIK Google does neither of those

> it would be wrong to say "Google does similar things"

This does not follow.

It also isn't what I was suggesting, but it would surprise me if Google didn't look at what Bing and Yahoo were doing (and DDG).

DDG does use Bing for _some_ of their search results, but it's far from just a reskin.

DDG uses Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex for non bang searches[1].

As of October 2019, Yahoo! Search is once again “powered by Bing”[2].

To me, results are as crap as Bing's.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/duckduckgo/comments/6uaibg/comment/...

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_Search

"Uses" is a weird word here. Because some people are suggesting that DDG is a reskin of Bing. But if we look at what DDG says[0], they talk about it the same way they talk about Stack Overflow. No one is crazy enough to say that DDG is a reskin of SO. What they are actually saying is that they are aggregating results. Which I don't understand why that would be a bad thing.

[0] https://help.duckduckgo.com/results/sources/

Money quoute right here: "We also of course have more traditional links in the search results, which we also source from a variety of partners, including Verizon Media (formerly Yahoo) and Bing."

SO and the other 400 sources are only used for instant boxes and other widgets. The real organic search results are all from Bing.

Full quote

> In fact, DuckDuckGo gets its results from over four hundred sources. These include hundreds of vertical sources delivering niche Instant Answers, DuckDuckBot (our crawler) and crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia, stored in our answer indexes). We also of course have more traditional links in the search results, which we also source from a variety of partners, including Verizon Media (formerly Yahoo) and Bing.

I'm not sure where you're getting

> The real organic search results are all from Bing.

That paragraph __DOES NOT__ say that

The paragraph clearly says that.

> more traditional links in the search results

It's super obvious to me what that refers to - the actual search results. The rest is just fluff.

Bing is really good for porn for some reason

Uses as some of their main sources:

> In fact, DuckDuckGo gets its results from over four hundred sources. These include hundreds of vertical sources delivering niche Instant Answers, DuckDuckBot (our crawler) and crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia, stored in our answer indexes). We also of course have more traditional links in the search results, which we also source from a variety of partners, including Verizon Media (formerly Yahoo) and Bing.


The results are very similar but not identical to using yahoo or bing.

_most_ of their search results. They don't give a breakdown.

I may be wrong, but I read before on HN than bing is used for 99% of the search results.

This isn't true about DuckDuckGo. You've come to an erroneous conclusion based on bad interpretation of information.

They survive based on ad revenue. OTOH they provide an ad-free and to my mind a less annoying "lite" interface as well.


Please edit your post as you’re spreading FUD and are clearly incorrect.

wtf is that true? ip logging literally defeats the purpose of "privacy"...

I’m not sure it is true.

Honest question: how do you people even cope with the crap results?

I'm a StartPage user, but decided to try DDG for some time after the System1 debacle [1]. The Swedish localized search results are downright unusable compared to StartPage/Google. I'm really trying to give it a chance, but I keep reaching for SP in every other search.

[1] https://reclaimthenet.org/startpage-buyout-ad-tech-company/

Because they aren’t crap for me the vast majority of the time. I often hear about local results, but flipping the "Germany" switch gives me great German results.

There are 2 cases when I need to use !g, both of them are when there aren’t many results:

1. Rare error, simply not in their index

2. Ambiguous term and I need to force a part of the query to appear. Because DDG thinks it’s perfectly fine to ignore the user sometimes and show you completely unrelated things even if you tried your best to tell them what you are looking for and it’s in their index.

Sadly recently google started doing that as well. Not as bad as DDG, the first few results are still an answer to my query, but then they decide to spam the results with useless sites that don’t have the term.

edit: formatting

Use !s instead, it will take you to startpage which are essentially the same results as on Google, without having to go to Google.

Completely honest answer, not trying to be dismissive -- DuckDuckGo gives me fine results for most of my queries. I don't reach for Google that much unless I'm doing a deep dive into a problem that's hard to search in general, in which case I often find I'm aggregating results from multiple search engines.

I find Google better at some results -- occasionally Google "gets" what I'm trying to search for better than DuckDuckGo does and zeroes in more specifically on the topic. Sometimes I find that DuckDuckGo does the same. I particularly think that DuckDuckGo's smart cards are just (to me) obviously better than Google's. DuckDuckGo's news is really bad for me, I guess -- I pretty much always use Google News for current events.

This comes up pretty much every time that DuckDuckGo comes up, and I have seen it come up so often, that when I step back and try to come up with a semi-impartial reading of which engine is better, the only conclusion I can reach is that a lot of people have different opinions about how a search engine should react when they search. I think different search results are an acquired taste, and there just isn't an objective right or wrong answer to which engine is better.

So it's a little like if someone was recommending eating vegetables, and you asked, "but what do you do about the crap taste of spinach?" You have a real problem in that I want to help you find foods you like, but at the same time, I'm not trying to "solve" the way spinach tastes. I don't agree that spinach is "wrong", it's just not what you want.

From that point of view, having multiple, diverse search engines is good, and we'd all be served better by using multiple search engines. I don't want DuckDuckGo to just be a Google clone; part of the reason I use it is because of their different results. I do want it to improve and get better, but I disagree that morphing into Google 2.0 will accomplish that for me.

If you like Google's style of search results, then what you really need is a trustworthy replacement for Startpage. You need Google but without the tracking -- and DuckDuckGo isn't just Google without the tracking. I think you're justified in telling anyone who says, "just use DuckDuckGo" to shove off, since DuckDuckGo isn't solving your problem. But I don't agree that DuckDuckGo has bad results, it has a different flavor than you're used to.

So in other words, use Startpage if you need Google without tracking and DuckDuckGo if you need Bing without tracking.

> I'm a StartPage user, but decided to try DDG for some time after the System1 debacle

I haven't kept up with the most recent news, but I assume OP would still be using SP if they could trust it not to track them. What they need is a StartPage equivalent that they still trust.

I too use DDG first and I'm just willing to suffer a bit 'till I use Google. Using DDG first at least keeps Google honest and they are only a click away on Firefox.

The thing that's saddest is not only are DDG results not as smart but they also seem dumbed-down in the fashion of Google - ie, too much "your search" --> "what we imagine you really want" --> "here's our curated list of things like this (and screw your actual keywords)"

I use DDG as my main search engine and I agree localised results are subpar ( I'm Brazilian ). I end up resorting to the !g bang most of the time but since these kinds of searches are a just small subset of my queries, it doesn't bother me that much.

If you find issues with localized search be sure to report them with examples of what sites would give better results locally!

I honestly can always find what I want with DDG or I can’t find it in DDG or Google. If I end up searching Google it’s essentially the same results, but it also depends how you search.

I’m either searching for something straight forward and Wikipedia (or some other obvious site) suffices or its so niche that neither Google or DDG work.

I also wrote my own search engine that works well for my niche topics (better than either IMO). Mostly for discovering interesting aspect though.

Some searches work well on DDG and some don't, which is why nearly everyone falls back on !g for some types of searches.

My guess is that you more frequently search for things in the fallback category compared to users that find DDG's results to be non-crap.

Swedish non-localizes search almost certainly falls in that category.

The bang operator is pretty amazing once you get used to it. It gives you control over what you're searching for again.

I use !w (Wikipedia) !yt (YouTube) !d (dictionary) !rhyme (rhyming dictionary) and !gsc (Google scholar) regularly.

Honest answer: I don't really search that much but my ddg results aren't crap

I love DuckDuckGo and use it by default but the results do suck. They are improving, however.

It's not just you. I sincerely believe in DDG's mission, but the sad truth is I just can't find what I want with it. Unfortunately there seems to be no good way to use Startpage with Safari either.

I'm not alone! Get Firefox and chose whatever search engine you like.

DDG isn’t as good at indexing various forms of social media, but is decent otherwise. I find it depends where my results live

Eg, Reddit, forums, stack overflow (sometimes), YouTube, etc

Maybe it's just my searches, but I'm able to pretty consistently find what I'm looking for with DDG, and the number of times that Google has helped in those situations is basically nil. I think it's a really subjective thing, and it may take a while for DDG to work as well for all users as it currently does for some.

DuckDuckGo is still not ready to be my daily driver.

Here's my last significant Google search: "monaco IndentAction.Indent"

The documentation I was looking for[0] was the:

- 1st hit on Google[1]

- 17th hit on DDG[2]

but to be fair I didn't find it within the first 10 (!) pages of Bing[3], so at least it's better than Bing. And I work for MSFT. I submitted feedback to DDG & Bing, hopefully it helps.

[0] https://microsoft.github.io/monaco-editor/api/enums/monaco.l...

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=monaco+IndentAction.Indent&o...

[2] https://duckduckgo.com/?q=monaco+IndentAction.Indent&t=h_&ia...

[3] https://www.bing.com/search?q=%2bmonaco+IndentAction.Indent&...

For me, this is one of the things where I’m simply more explicit in what I’m looking for. So I would append api to the terms (as I’m looking for an api doc) and indeed this pushed the site you wanted to #1.

2nd result on https://searx.me/, thanks metaseach!

Underrepresented search engine. I don't understand how a federation of searx forks hasn't popped up yet

Their search still sucks, not using until it is at least on par with Google.

Digital ad company CEO endorses competitor of rival digital ad company.

Digital ad company CEO endorses competitor that is also a digital ad company of rival digital ad company.

Twitter makes less than $3B/year on ads. Google makes $135B+.

Are they really competitors?

Yes, they are. Both have ads as their primary revenue stream. It does not matter if they are unequal in size, they still compete in the same space.

DuckDuckGo also makes money through ads.

Haha, took the words right out of my mouth.

Google appears to be doing increasingly creepy stuff in pursuit of higher revenues.

For instance, I've recently noticed videos being recommended on my Android TV which are particularly related to, or the exactly the same as, those I watched recently on my computer (all done in private mode, no Google login anywhere). This has happened twice after resetting everything. It therefore appears that, contrary to their statements on tracking IP addresses, they're infact using them for recommendations and tracking. We can only imagine what else they are collecting behind the facade of SVs slef-conceited "liberalism".

This is awesome - happy to see privacy oriented search become more popular. I think DuckDuckGo needs a better name though - Something more ubiquitous. Duck, maybe? Quack?

There was a rant by some other HN user about how DDG owns "duck.com" yet refuses to just point it to a search page.

duck.com DOES redirect to duckduckgo.com. IIRC Google used to own duck.com and wouldn't redirect, but once DDG got ownership they redirected it.

> IIRC Google used to own duck.com and wouldn't redirect

AIUI duck.com used to be a redirect-- to google.com. Very confusing for actual DDG users. IIRC Google got the domain as part of acquiring On2, some sort of video codec company, at a time when DDG wasn't nearly as popular as it is today.

Visiting the page incognito, you're hit with a modal dialogue that you have to dismiss before you can search.

This does not happen in FireFox. Are you suggesting Google is still playing dumb games?

I can repro this in Firefox. Are you disabling Javascript?

Ahhh found it. uBlock was preventing it. I can reproduce now.

somehow google managed to become the best search engine with a goofy name so I don't really think it's that important.

my vote is for -- quackquackdoc

I've heard about Duck Duck Go for a while and just never bothered. But I finally decided to try it. It was easy. Settings -> Search Engines -> DuckDuckGo.

And so far it's just fine. Gives me great results when searching for coding stuff.

Duckduckgo is great. But also because the easy !g !gi !tw shortcuts to search in google or twitter as well.

Surprised to find lately that a lot of my searches only return relevant results in a twitter search.

it's like using "reddit" on google to force it to be serious

Also w! for wiki.

The bang commands are super useful.

That's a feature of most browsers location bar. Just assign a letter/string to any bookmark of your liking and voila! No need to depend on DDG and exclamation points for your quick searches.

A few of my favorites include hn for HN's algolia, th for thesaurus, wes for Wikipedia in Spanish and d for... duck duck go.

That is true. but my first search is always duckduckgo. Only if that doesn't tell me straight away to I go for a !bang search. The location bar now is filled with a ddg url so easier to just add ! to the search box of ddg.

And as I switch machines, browsers, profiles, and privacy mode all day long the only ubuiqitous thing is that ddg is the default search engine.

I don't use the !w shortcut as usually whatever/whomever I have searched for is in the info box on ddg's right-hand column and it usually has a wikipedia link if I need to get more detail.

Why can’t you use location bar in your browser?

I did try DDG and Startpage a few years ago but ultimately gave up because the results were not good.

I gave another try to DDG since about 3 weeks and so far the results are pretty good. Not only they got better on the last few years, but for me Google got worse at the same time.

Almost everytime I search in Google nowadays, I have to reformulate my search 2~3 times to get decent results. I often need to add double quotes, ask for reddit or specify the language. Google today just tries too much to read my mind, guess what I want and make interpretations instead of just doing what I asked. Because of this huge waste of time, I became frustrated over time.

Also, I am French, use English very often (including at work) and live in Japan, so the explicit region filter of DDG is really a bless compared to the obscure and almost always wrong way Google handles this.

Dude, Google is so much worse now... I have no idea what has happened.

Having to make several searches means even more ads are presented ...


I tried DDG a while ago and it didn't feel natural to me. It will be so hard for me to change a search engine after using Google for 20 years. I am too attached to this search engine and it is good enough for my needs. I rarely change things that are working for me. It feels strange for me when I am using other search engines. I feel like I am cheating on my spouse. The first thing I do when I buy an iPhone is to hide Safari and download Google Chrome. Same thing when I buy a new Windows laptop, or reinstall Windows, I use IE/Edge to download Chrome and never use IE/Edge again. Chrome is the main reason I haven't switched to another search engine. It works better with Google apps and I rely on Google apps a lot.

> rarely change things that are working for me.

But what if said things change to the point that they're unrecognisable? What if said spouse cheats you? Because that's what's happening.

The benefits of using Google far outweighs the bad side of Google. When I want to search for private things, I go incognito mode. I clean up my activity log from time to time. I only allow Google Maps to track my location when I am using it. To be sure that they don't track my location, I use iPhone, not Android. That way I know they won't sneak some way to track me without my consent.

incognito mode does not prevent your search from being tracked.

Any evidence to backup your claims that they track incognito searches? They promised not to track and I don't see anything that suggests they do track me when I am incognito.

Incognito is "private" in the sense that it doesn't leave a trace locally, on your computer.

From https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95464?co=GENIE.Plat... :

> - Chrome won't save your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms. > - Files you download and bookmarks you create will be kept. >- Your activity isn’t hidden from websites you visit, your employer or school, or your internet service provider.

Your IP, referrers etc are still visible. The only thing is you're perhaps not logged in. It doesn't do much to protect you at all.

I've tried it and the results just aren't as good as Google. For example, it does not index Javascript-heavy pages, which means a lot of documentation websites for popular open source projects are seen as blank pages by their indexer and simply won't be ranked.

Also, the ability to identity a given user allows Google to serve personalized and therefore more relevant search results (which of course means you also get personalized ads).

I felt that it was time to try to switch to DDG, so I just went to the duckduckgo website, and it proposes to "add it to chrome".

It leads to a chrome extension page asking me to give complete read access to what pages I visit to the DDG extension.

Naive question : how can I know what DDG will do with that data ? (And yes I realize that this question applies to any search engine or extension)

Google already knows the pages you visit, worst case if you give them to DDG you are making the playing field even.

Well the worst case is exactly what I would like to avoid. Otherwise, what's the point ?

you don't really need that. just add ddg in your browser settings. the extension shows you a rating for each site and blocks some stuff but if you are using other extensions like ublock origin, https everywhere etc then you don't really need it

Just did that. I am confused as of why they would push the extension everywhere instead of just asking people to add ddg as the search engine ?

Just from a privacy stand point, extensions with complete access freak me out.

You made a slight logical leap there - how do you know the extension will even send any of your data to DDG for them to do something with?

the extension asks for the permission to access all that data.

Yes, to be able to work with them locally, within your browser.

what prevents the extension from sending that data ?

Nothing, but you can check if it does that in its source code. Did you, or did you simply assume that it does?

Since I don't believe I can block extension from updating, that's not going to be helpful.

I call publicity stunt. Jack is doing just as much to censor free thought as is Google.


I was very impressed listening to Weinberg on The Angel Philospher podcast recently, and have been very happy with DDG as my default engine for about a year. And yet it was only yesterday that I realised that (for a certain section of the web) adverts on DDG are playing to a self selected audience - basically it's like running banner ads on HN.

Weirdly you seem to have to go through BingYahoo - https://www.shivarweb.com/9242/how-to-advertise-on-duckduckg...

This is basically just endorsing Bing though. There’s nothing wrong with that mind you, but I think it’s important to realize that DuckDuckGo is effectively just a wrapper around Bing.

Yes @jack yes! Hopefully more high-profile thought leaders will enter the public discourse to advise on more sane, privacy-respecting alternatives.

I'm glad I was relieved of hating @jack at least momentarily. :')

Such a victory, a man who makes his money selling your data has advised us not to use another company that makes it's money selling data...

Forget the intent. The effects will be more people using privacy-focused software and applications.

May I ask why hate @jack ?

Sacha Baron Cohen recently called out jack and the other "silicon six."


The part you left out was he was calling for censorship... a slippery slope that assists totalitarians in this inverted totalitarian oligarchy. Do not agree at all. Also he claims those places are publishers and not platforms, but there is plenty of debate on that front to be had.

Don't get me wrong, I love his work, but I don't really understand why what he has to say about tech is any more relevant than any other celebrity. It's not like he has some deeper insider knowledge of the subject.

He gets into the relevant details in his speech at below timestamp [1]:

> "Just imagine what Goebbels [2] could have done with Facebook"

I think the bottom line is he is good at social engineering, and he recognizes the signs of manipulation at scale. Beyond that, he is smart enough to consume the literature.

Note: Video is his award speech from ADL. But has sensitive wording and is NSFW. I found it to be pretty well put together - maybe reaching a bit in parts.

[1] - https://youtu.be/ymaWq5yZIYM?t=247

[2] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels

From the Anti-Defamation League:

> Sacha Baron Cohen is the well-deserved recipient of ADL’s International Leadership Award, which goes to exceptional individuals who combine professional success with a profound personal commitment to community involvement and to crossing borders and barriers with a message of diversity and equal opportunity.


Argument from authority from someone else. This isn't a logical argument.

This seems like a second degree argument from authority.

“I hate this guy because some guy told me to, and I trust that guy because someone else I trust told me to.”

Your comment is a perfect example of an ad hominem fallacy. A form of rhetoric, which is exactly what he is calling out.

He’s a smart, successful person who has spent some time thinking about it. It’s as useful as anyone else’s opinion. People who are ‘experts’ in these areas also tend to have biases. Nobody that works for any of those companies is going to give you a straight answer.

You don't have to work for one of those companies to be an expect on tech, business and capitalism. But I expect some expertise in those subject to be able to properly evaluate the impact of these company.

The point is, there's a lot of misinformation trying to sway people to one side or the other, and unless you are someone who has spent a lot of time researching the subject, I'll assume you are just parroting some headline that told you "X is bad".

Because he has an audience and a platform.

Brands pay a lot of money for influencer endorsements.

Think of his as one and you will see the marketing value of this as it relates to people who want to see privacy issues advanced.

I think SBC's diagnosis is right, but his prescription is wrong. I applaud SBC for calling out the problem (and I agree it is a problem) and for raising awareness, but I think we need to keep shopping for a better solution.

He's effectively making the same arguments that FOSTA-SESTA made (which led to the closing of personals sections of Craigslist among other liability-transferring impacts), but for all of social media. His call was for all internet companies to pre-vet every single user-generated-content before anyone else sees it or be held liable for user-submitted content. It likely does solve the problem, but it swings the pendulum _very_ _far_ in the other direction towards corporate censorship and over-censorship to prevent any possibility of liability.

This is late-stage capitalism in action. Companies in the {social media, advertising, sales} space all have utility functions centered around attacking the weaknesses of the human mind. It just so happens that governments and political parties are in the same industry using the same tactics.

I just don't see SBC's prescription working in a country with a constitutionally mandated Freedom of Speech (where the jurisprudence only disallows speech if it is a direct and specific call to action of violence). And it it does, Newspeak will be the only language supported on the platform.

Sasha Baron Cohen would not have been successful in the environment he now demands. He's a comedian not an expert in anything.

Who cares what this guy has to say about Facebook? Why does his opinion matters more than mine or yours? I bet he knows even less.

We here on HN know a lot about how Facebook was built, that doesn't tell you shit about its societal effects. Comedians on the other hand, and Sasha Baron Cohen in particular, know a lot about societal effects. Sometimes the jester was the only one clever enough to get away with speaking the truth in the king's presence.

Cohen's comedies were hugely offensive. He starts off by making fun of young lower class people in britain, then gay people, then a specific eastern european country, etc etc.

He would not be successful in the world he now demands, and he is not a social expert hes a 'funny' man who spends his time on business deals and movies.

I'm jewish, I don't want him speaking for me. I'd rather sasha cohen be allowed to make offensive films and everyone else too.

He's no more expert than joe rogan or any other comedian.

He's just the one the ADL decided to use as a mouth piece for censorship, and as a jewish person I don't appreciate their pretending to have my best interests in mind while hurting the basic freedoms and ability for self expression of everyone in the country.

He's not brave and there's no king. he was celebrated for his comments. The things he's saying are only the words of a jester because he's a clown, not because they're wise.

Not OP but I agree, having hate for somebody you don't know is really unhealthy.

Having hate is really unhealthy. Easier said than done...

Searching google nowadays feels like searching an ad database. For me it isn't even a matter of privacy but about exclusion of 90% of the web out there. Bing is not bad either, nor is yandex. What else is there? Remember when google was like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8JT9QWA-eY

They also focus on the "buying" portion of the internet way too much. Either that, or 90% of the internet is revolved around buying shit.

Given the amount of M$ ads DDG has showing latelly does not surprises me they might be partnering with bing.

> M$

Hello, 1990's Slashdot called and would like its tired old '$' satire back.

M$ would like their tired old 1990s business practises back, oh wait they never left. Just like the M$ shorthand which we see less simply becuase we talk about them less.

It's reputation they fully earned. You can write "Microsoft" in full whenever you like if you prefer too. I think it's pretty reasonable to casually express contempt at every opportunity for any business that puts money vastly further ahead of ethics than they need to. You can disgaree with that if you like too.

Facebrick is the new M$. What do we have for Goog? "do no evil" with strickeout for more money? $GOOG?

My friend, I think you missed the sarcasm and possibly some satire in my comment.

DuckDuckGo is already partnering with Bing - that's where they get their results from.

Might? They are getting most of their search results and ads from Bing. It's no secret. https://help.duckduckgo.com/results/sources/

Search for:

1. "fix incorrect mayonese".

2. "fix incorrect lazagna"

and compare with:

1. "fix incorrect mayonnaise".

2. "fix incorrect lasagna"

> The app is even better!

What does that mean? I guess https://duckduckgo.com/app is a browser, and a browser extension? The app is a relatively better browser than DDG search is a search engine?

The DDG app is honestly pretty bad... the last time I tried it, there wasn't even support for tabs so you're stuck with one page view at a time.

Honestly, IDK why anyone would not just use Firefox Mobile. It's got addons support too

Not sure when you last tried the app but it does indeed support tabs!

I believe I tried it a week or so after it launched. Although, I still stand by my point that Firefox Mobile offers the privacy-oriented approach of the DDG app and so much more via addons that it's pretty hard to justify using the DDG app unless the phone is really low-end enough that Firefox chugs on it

The idea about private browsing is silly to me frankly. Sure DuckDuckGo can be more "private" than Google on its face, but unless they are incorporated deep in Switzerland and dev/null all traffic from a US-based IPs, they are obligated, by laws, to record-keeping and in general KYC even if its only mere "search quote" and "IP address". Otherwise the would quickly get shut down by authorities (DHS in this example) under suspicious of aiding/abetting terrorism the moment someone punches "how to make bomb" and they do not properly store relevant meta-tag information.

Citation that KYC dictates that a Swiss company record US IPs and what the punishment is for not?

Sometimes I use bing when google is showing biased results.

how much marketshare does ddg need to have before we stop calling google an outright monopoly on search?

There's an app??

Nice endorseyment


Please don't do this here.

As somebody hailing from an area that used to be under occupation by the Nazis and thus having heard multiple first-hand accounts of how it transpired I assure you that's not how actual Nazi collaborators operated.

Please don't dilute the meaning behind this expression.

You serious?

Yeah, @jack is definitely comparable to Laval, Qisling, or Kaminski for the title of ‶most notorious Nazi collaborator of History″...



Himself. He's referring to himself, by title, in the third person.


I guess twitter will not be acquired by google anytime soon

It's too bad gullible people are falling for duckduckgo's so-called privacy promises.

Curious, what privacy promises do you believe DuckDuckGo won't fulfill? Genuinely interested to learn.

Wow, Twitter is on a roll with their inactive user purge, refusal to sell political ads (yes, issue ads are still allowed but monitored) and now this.

I applaud these moves.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact