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«DuckDuckGo and other services that just package up Bing search results»

Had to look that up. I found https://help.duckduckgo.com/results/sources/ Bing is just one of "hundreds of vertical sources delivering" results to DuckDuckGo.

That page basically confirms this. It says

> To do that, we've developed an open source Instant Answer platform called DuckDuckHack,

which links to https://duckduckhack.com/ which says "DuckDuckHack is now in Maintenance Mode".

And the "four hundred sources" link links to 400 special case replies. They are probably useful, but fire rarely. It's basically Bing, and that page is a bunch of spin.

Interesting, thanks.

Bing is the primary source though.

I'm not sure that's true. If you search the same query on both Bing and DDG, you'll see pretty different results.

I played with Yahoo BOSS a lot as a undergrad and I could tweak it to get "better" results than Yahoo Search for certain queries. That Bing and DDG have different results doesn't really say anything.

How does ddg do that without running afoul of bing's ToS?

Presumably they're using Bing's API directly, and have a suitable legal agreement with Microsoft in place.

I don't see how such a deal could possibly work. Microsoft's entire history and culture has been devoted to squashing nascent competitors whenever possible. So why in the world would MS license Bing to DDG? If DDG can monetize that traffic more effectively than Bing by not tracking (which seems unlikely) then why does MS just stop tracking on Bing? And if they can't, then how would they afford to pay the license fee, which surely must be at least as high as the lost revenue from the diverted traffic?

I imagine few people using DDG would use Bing instead, so there is little income loss from people moving Bing->DDG. If the choice is "provide DDG with a search API, get increased reach for your ad-program through an audience that otherwise wouldn't touch bing" vs "do not provide DDG with a search API, either a competitor does or DDG is way worse and everyone uses Google", why is the latter the better choice for MS?

Even if that were true, why would not MS just re-skin Bing as a tracker-free search engine? Or acquire DDG?

Make Bing tracker-free, loose (assumed) income from less precise targeting of all the current Bing users, just to maybe capture a part of DDGs market, large parts of which are going to be distrustful of Microsoft? Seems not obviously better than keeping Bing as is and being involved with DDG.

I didn't make myself clear. I didn't mean to get rid of Bing. MS could keep the Bing brand exactly as it is, but also present the same product under a different brand that competes directly with DDG. In other words, MS could be DDG. Never in its history has MS tolerated the existence of a competitor if there was something they could do about it, which in this case they obviously could. Why start now?

I'd guess a different brand attached to Microsoft would not have much more acceptance than Bing.

They would not have to pretend. Marketing a separate brand with its own identity is a common practice. How many people who stay at a W hotel or a Ritz Carlton or a Sheraton are aware that these brands are actually owned by Marriott? How many people who stay at a Waldorf Astoria know that it's owned by Hilton? These are not secrets. 80% of the world's economy is controlled by fewer than 1000 companies [1].

[1] https://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf

And then a few days later see a HN top story that NewPrivateSearchEngine is a secret Microsoft conspiracy to destroy the world? I doubt it would go over well.

If you're going to indulge in that level of paranoia, how do you know that DDG is not itself a secret Microsoft conspiracy to destroy the world? If you don't know the terms under which DDG licenses Bing's search results, how do you know that those terms don't give MS complete control over DDG?

I think I was too snide in my comment and it wasn't clear.

I meant that if Microsoft launched a privacy-focused product and hid their involvement with it they would receive extremely negative publicity on the sort of websites people who use privacy-focused products read.

Completely leaving aside the harm that would cause to the Microsoft brand, it would also be completely useless. Essentially no one would switch from DDG to Microsoft's (hypothetical) shady clone.

Your hotel examples aren't relevant because people searching for hotels and people searching for private search engines don't evaluate details about corporate ownership the same.

There is a difference between hiding your involvement and not going out of your way to draw attention to it.

Yes. Do you believe that a HN discussion of a company owned by Microsoft that doesnt draw attention to that and which markets towards privacy-focused users would he received positively?

Do you believe that an HN discussion has the potential to move the market share needle for any MS product? More to the point, do you believe that Microsoft thinks this?

If that product is aimed at privacy-focused users, yes.

We've gotten so far into unlikely hypotheticals I don't find this conversation interesting any more. I won't reply further in this chain. Have a nice day!


https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22my+user+agent%22 - check what the snippets say.

So Duck Duck Go isn't actually a Search Engine, but an Interface or Proxy To Bing / or multiple search engine?

I have always thought DuckDuck were doing their own searches.

If I recall, in the very beginning they were massively using Yahoo and to some extent Bing. It might be that over the years Bing has become a more reliable source.

Yahoo Search was based on Bing since 2009.

Wow, I did not know that. Or I just forgot. Anyways,thanks for the information.

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