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DuckDuckGo is good enough for regular use (bitlog.com)
1158 points by braythwayt 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 476 comments



A few years ago I switched my desktops to use DDG while leaving my phone using Google. At first I had to !g all the time. Now that’s rare.

Now I’m starting to have the other problem. If I search for a company, product, person, etc., on DDG it’s the first hit. But on google I just get a wall of ads and videos, and it’s hard to tell where the actual homepage is for the thing I’m looking for.

So as of now I would say, google is still better if you’re looking for something obscure and especially if you don’t know what it’s called. But today I would say DDG is better if you are searching for something specific by name.


I've switched to ddg for a while, and the one area where I find it really lacking in comparison to Google is that it is very poor in surfacing relevant hits from threads on forums or stackoverflow. Which is frustrating, as I'm almost more interested in results from there when looking up technical stuff than some spammy blog. It's gotten to the point where I almost always automatically bang out to Google for those types of searches.

But it is amazing how much poorer Google results feel to me these days compared to from a few years ago. For most regular searches ddg does quite well and when I have occasionally banged out to Google for the same search, more often than not I've ended up preferring the ddg search results.


I experience the same problem as a fairly novice programmer who doesn't always know the right term to stick into DDG/google.

>It's gotten to the point where I almost always automatically bang out to Google for those types of searches.

But this is why I stick with DDG, because it is very very easy to check elsewhere with a two letter bang. Even if I never used DDG search it would still be valuable to use DDG with bangs for wikipedia, google, youtube, etc.


>Even if I never used DDG search it would still be valuable to use DDG with bangs for wikipedia, google, youtube, etc.

I love this about ddg. I watch to a lot of YouTube videos, and being able to just type “!yt search terms” is just too useful.


It also coordinates very nicely with Firefox's search bookmark feature, I just start the keywords with ! and it's just like I'm doing a normal web search on DDG


Can't every web browser do this with keyword prefixes?


Sure, but you have to configure it to do that. There are bangs for pretty much everything, and I can usually guess them easily enough. !wayback is a favourite of mine.


I’ve been using DDG for years, but sometimes i wonder if it’s just Bing with bangs. I haven’t exhaustively crosschecked this, but the results seem to very closely match Bing’s. They say they use results from a few engines. I wonder what the percentage per engine is.


Recently, at least, DDG has been surfacing lots of StackOverflow results for me, including the relevant snippets in the right margin that sometime suffice without opening the url.


I've used DDG for a while and my impression is that it seems worse than it's been in a while. I've been looking up documentation for some rust crates and DDG has been particularly unhelpful.

What prompted me to comment was trying to find information about the latest SARS-COV-2 story from Iran that had been published on SFGate.com. DDG was turning up news sites like: Infowars, Washington Times, Daily Kos, Zero Hedge, Red State, etc.

Google put the Guardian and WaPo front and center.


My story is the same! Also, when I want colouring pictures for my kids, DDG just lets met tap them and print them. That is nolonger possible using Google since some months. I also very much appreciate the code snippets when (already started typing "Googling"!) Searching for code related things.


I recently had to search for something similar to this:

march 12 2019 + 366 days

and DuckDuckGo gave me exactly what I wanted while Google gave me not-very-useful results.


The date command can also answer this question:

  $ date -d 'march 12 2019 + 366 days'
  Thu Mar 12 00:00:00 PDT 2020


For GNU date, yes. BSD not so much (default on MacOS).

    MacOS$ date -d 'now + 30 days'
    usage: date [-jnRu] [-d dst] [-r seconds] [-t west] [-v[+|-]val[ymwdHMS]] ...
  [-f fmt date | [[[mm]dd]HH]MM[[cc]yy][.ss]] [+format]GNU$ date -d 'now +30 days'

    GNU$ date -u -d 'now +30 days'
    Sun Apr  5 18:55:12 UTC 2020
(In BSD date, the '-d' argument "Set the kernel's value for daylight saving time.")


I starting thinking about the Python equivalent of this and it was disgusting.


This?

  $ python -c 'import datetime; print(datetime.date(2019, 3, 12) + datetime.timedelta(days=366))'
  2020-03-12


Yes.


Raku is a lot prettier than Python:

    perl6 -e 'say Date.new("2019-03-12").later( :366days )'
    2020-03-12
    perl6 -e 'say Date.new("2019-03-12") + 366'
    2020-03-12


Which recently became even shorter:

    raku -e 'say "2019-03-12".Date + 366'
    2020-03-12


Probably because I have a finance background, I would go straight to Excel.


Which makes dates out of things that are not even dates! (Like gene names)


Beautiful.


Ruby isn't much better

    ruby -e "require 'date'; puts (Date.parse('march 12 2019') + 366)"
    2020-03-12


If you are on Windows, (or if you are on Linux but for some reason still runs) in PowerShell:

> (Get-Date).AddDays(365)


pure gold buddy, thanks for this


Or excel, rc[-1]+366, assuming you typed in the date you want in the cell to the left...


assuming you're on Unix


you could be running gnu/linux or windows with msys, neither of which are unix


I literally do this with google all the time though (my girlfriend like us to celebrate N * 100 anniversaries). Every hundred days or so I go to google and type "500 days after [date]" or something to that effect and it works. It was the first thing I tried, it works reliably every time, and it's google providing the result in the results page, which is better than a link to a website that would do it for me.

What query did you do on google that didn't give you so good results?


Being the socially inept person I am, I would find this exhausting.


Depends what "celebrate" entails. The calculation of dates is straightforward at least.


The example I gave above should suffice to demonstrate the differences. Just copy the second line and paste it into both search engines.


So, to be clear, Google is lamer than DDG because it supports the natural language expression `X days after M D Y` but does not support the mathematical `M D Y + X days`

I guess Google has figured out with its trillions(?) of queries how humans search and not how nerds search.


Why not be more inclusive and enable both how humans search as well as how nerds search?


Interestingly it seems that DDG also supports "human" search: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=500+days+after+march+12+2019&t=can...

(Also interesting that you can infer that I'm on Ubuntu from my sharing of the search URL, though.)


Sure, nothing stopping them, and I'm not arguing against that.


every nerd is a human


I just pop open wolframalpha for anything that needs more meaning to it. I'll keep DDG in mind for next time.


WA is great for certain more complex mathematical or informational queries but usually requires me to dig around to find syntax since the NLP isn't as fluid as I'd like it to be.

I basically view it as a slightly more friendly/natural than traditional Mathematica interface.


If you use DDG as your universal search but want to go to WolframAlpha for your query: x + y !wa


Try answering this one without looking it up:

February 29 2020 + 365 days


Pretty sure that’s because google got hit with a lawsuit about hot linking. DDG will suffer the same fate once they get big (and rich) enough.


Yep, Getty Images sued them and Google had to remove the view images button, making the process of viewing the source image more difficult and convoluted.

I've now resorted to using DDG anytime I need to do an image search, and have been using it more and more myself when searching for anything related to IT or programming.


For those interested there’s an open-source Chrome extension that brings back the View Image button:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/view-image/jpcmhce...

https://github.com/bijij/ViewImage


Awesome, thanks!


Yandex Image search is also very good, with none of the annoying limitations that Google has introduced. There also seems to be less Pinterest spam as well.

https://yandex.com/images/


Pinterest spam in DDG is a major annoyance, thou directly viewable images compensates somewhat.


I wish I could permanently remove pinterest from my version of the internet - it's literally spam at this point that never contains the content I'm looking for and adds no value while polluting search results.


ddg has -site:pinterest.com

but i dont know ho to automatically append that to every search, which is what i want.


I could at least plug that (and a few others) into my default CLI search as part of the query string.

See: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22506360


You can also set your user agent to googlebot and get the old google images back. Also the search results don’t look as bad.


I can't say for sure but I bet that's a problem they would love to have.


Now "google" is a common enough word for generic online searches that the sentence "I googled 'australian licorice' using DuckDuckGo's image search" doesn't sound weird to me.

See definition 2, under the transitive verb form of the second etymology: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/google#English


That still sounds weird to me. I obviously understand what you mean, but I still don't like the idea of saying "I googled x on DuckDuckGo".


You can say "Have a look, I just duck this up.."


"I'll just duck on to the web and check"


Regarding coloring pictures, I use coloring.ws (not affiliated in any way with the site, just a happy uncle)


For something obscure, Google ignores three out of four keywords and just produces drivel.


This has become increasingly frustrating for me, and I now have to overuse quoting to get the things I want.

Why would I include a word if I wanted results that didn't include it. I could understand that on later pages to include more results, but regularly even the very first results don't include one of the key words in my search.


It feels like Google's "AI" has reached the point of acting like a (rather stupid) human, complete with all the downsides. Many others I know are increasingly frustrated with this behaviour too, and one produced a very apt analogy: it's like walking into a pet store and asking for a specific type of dog, but being told by the sales assistant "would you like to see these instead" and pointing you to all the cats they have.


It's even worse if they helpfully replace the word with a "synonym" (which isn't!) instead of removing it.

Usually the replacement is significantly broader than the original. For example, "Debian" might get replaced with "Linux", giving lots of irrelevant results. Sometimes it will even replace e.g. "FreeBSD" with "Linux", when the whole point of having it in the query was to exclude the irrelevant Linux results.


This drives me insane. In the early days you only got exact matches, now in an effort to sell more ads, or be more “helpful” you get random crap. I would pay for a search that only returned results with the words you entered.


Google Verbatim. It is super well hidden.

Type your Query, select "Tools", then "All Results".

Switch that to "Verbatim"


Awesome! Thanks!

However it does not seem possible to set this as default for all searches :-(


I have found the opposite. For obscure programming questions (_ESPECIALLY_ error codes), google always finds me the right stack exchange thread on the front page. DDG usually gives me crap (but I could see where that crap comes from).

I have noticed that Google's ads have gotten harder and harder to distinguish from the valid results. I use DDG until I have an obscure question, then I have to go back to Google.


Yeah, but sometimes Google ditches the error code because there are so many more results for a different error code.


It looks more and more like Google wants to convert native search hits to paid clicks...

Notice how often when you search for "company" you find the company's ad first and then below the native search result...


Agreed, and the ad is often immediately above the native search result 1-2.

I'm guessing clicking the ad costs the company money per click, and the native search result doesn't? If I'm explicitly searching for a company, and I'd prefer that they don't have to incur an advertising penalty on my behalf, I'd need to scroll past the first result to the second.


We regularly bid for our own keyword and it is super competitive as competitors are always trying to buy our company name. It is awkward when you type "My company", and the first page is all competitor ads


Companies buy those ads on their own search results so a competitor can't target them for advertising


Agreed as that’s my assumption. Do you have first-hand experience and/or a source?


Every single company I've ever worked for that advertised online had a "cost of doing business" ad budget just for buying their own keyword on Google (and Apple iOS Store/Google Play Store if they had consumer apps). Bigger international companies often have someone from an ad consulting firm tracking the major search engines and buying keywords for all of the big ones like Google, Bing, Yandex, etc.

It's one of those "the sky is blue" type of things in advertising. You NEVER want a competitor to have a shot at advertising to your potential customers, especially when they've gone to the point where they're typing in your name into Google so their conversion rate is likely significantly larger than your average site visitor.


See, this is the kind of thing I knew would happen, rent seeking from the rest of the economy because the bar has risen and you have to pay, not because you get some economic benefit from paying for ads compared to the baseline prior to Google.

Google has become a bloodsucker on the economy. You and I are the ones paying in higher goods and services costs passed on to us. Worse, the bidding has no natural upper bound.


I'm not into that stuff much but this may be the reason why there's often bad ads if you search for popular foss software binaries like LibreOffice or Gimp.


The browser vendors are in bed with the search providers. You can't bookmark a site or go directly to it, it always goes via search. No wonder companies want native apps rather then web pages, then the user get an icon on the app drawer/desktop, and they don't have to pay the middle man.


I never click the ads and always scroll down to the native results as I don't want to get involved with their marketing games and not to put burden on the content providers.


The cost of an ad depends on its 'quality'. A big part of the quality score is based on a model of how useful that result will be to the user.

Therefore, ads for a company that appear when the company name is clicked are considered highly relevant and useful, and therefore have a very high quality score and therefore very low price.


That’s not google’s direct doing. Google sells ads relevant to searches so you as a company want to buy ads on your name to prevent a competitor for doing the same. Imagine a competitor bought did that for tour company. Your business would take a hit.


Has anyone sued someone for buying ad spaces for one's company or product name like stepping on domain names with malicious intent?


> But on google I just get a wall of ads and videos

EFF privacy badger + uBlock Origin can definitely remove all the ads (as opposed to skewed search results). As for videos, I think you can get uBlock Origin to remove those too (I haven't tried because I'm ok with video search results).


> Now I’m starting to have the other problem. If I search for a company, product, person, etc., on DDG it’s the first hit. But on google I just get a wall of ads and videos, and it’s hard to tell where the actual homepage is for the thing I’m looking for.

You should also check out Qwant if you haven't. It's like DDG in this regard, but even "more so".


FWIW you would have had a similar experience using Bing. I built a script based on some principals that were in place at Google when I was there to measure search quality[1] and have watched Bing steadily improve over time. I attribute it to a combination of more click stream data as more traffic has been funneled their way (through DDG and others), and algorithm rot at Google which is putting more and more paid content into their results.

[1] And no, I'm not going to release it because as far as I know Google has never released any information externally about how they compute search quality and so its still protected by my NDA with them.


What about DDG? Has their quality increased by your metrics?


Without the !g tag DDG usually gets their results from Bing (sometimes Yandex). So they track Bing's increase in search quality nearly exactly :-)


I actually switched to Bing years ago and had a similar experience, good enough results 95% of the time. In the last year though, I switched to DuckDuckGo, for the obvious privacy benefits, and the results are acceptable 99% of the time.

It seems there are real options in search these days.


Could you give an example <company> or <person> query that gives you "a wall of ads and videos"?

I just tried a number of companies and it always shows a full column with info about the company (name, logo, stock value, founders, social media profiles, etc.)


"Century 21" for me gives me three ads.

1. Reali (Google Play app) 2. century21.com 3. Redfin (Google Play app)

These three ads take up the entire screen of my phone, with official results below this wall.

One observation is that while one of the ads was for exactly what I was searching for, they had to pay for that placement. I imagine other companies might not bid high enough for their own names in the search results.


Try searching for "Joe Biden." If you don't want his campaign to pay for an advertising click, where is the organic search link to his site? It's there but, at least for me, I now have to hunt to try and find it.


Have been using DDG for a couple of years. Am satisfied with its english result. One area for improvement would be non-english search results. For me it's non-english results are largely irrelevant, compared to google


Correct.

Google is over. A zombie behemoth that will continue through sheer inertia.


Yeah I am finding more often when I add !g I don't get significantly better results anymore. I often still do it just to check, but don't often find it was worth it.


I've been finding the same. When I first switched to ddg, I thought it just wasn't ready yet... But now i feel more like search is broken in general. The content farms have won.


The bang commands are one of the coolest features of DDG.


I find it's okay for desktop use, but frustrating on phones, because of the far inferior search suggestions. When I'm banging out nonsense on the shitty touchscreen keyboard, Google usually figures out what the hell I'm trying to search for. Duck Duck Go fails miserably at that, unfortunately.


Exactly the same experience here! It's incredible how Google looks like a storefront rather than a search engine now, if you have off of it for a while.


I'm still using g! about 50% of the time.

One thing I wish they'd add is to run the calculator if my search term starts with "=".


Their search results page has a feedback button in the corner. Use it! They listen to it.


They haven’t stopped returning results that don’t include my keywords yet, unfortunately.


I just googled DDG and nowhere on the front page did I see DuckDuckGo. Interesting, although not too surprising.


That's because there's a popular musical artist called DDG with tens of millions of streams, because guided missile destroyers are designated DDG by the US military and NATO, and because not many people refer to DuckDuckGo as DDG.

If I search for "Alternatives to Google Search," I do see DuckDuckGo, including answers to questions like "Is DuckDuckGo Better than Google," with the answer being yes, it is.

If I search for "duck search", Duck Duck Go is the first option. If I search for "Privacy Search Engine", DuckDuckGo is the fourth result.

I don't think there's any conspiracy here.


Note: The Duckduckgo site is the first result for "Duck Duck Go", you mean the string "DDG" in particular I'm presuming.

Now, it's not Google's obligation to make Duck Duck go a primary result for the DDG abbreviation - DDG the artist is apparently quite popular.

It would be nice, yes, if Google didn't just guess the best meaning for DDG but instead gave a spectrum of the common meanings (though Duck Duck Go might still not deserve to appear unless it's search became better imo).

The way that Google has degenerated over the last 5-10 years is in more aggressively showing you what they think you want rather than what you ask for (and limiting how you ask for things to boot). But after using Duck Go Go for two years, it seems they have exactly the same problem and that situation explained by them being a meta-search engine leaning on Bing (which in turn clones Google). At least Duckgogo features themselves on a search for DDG but they lean more heavily on battleship with the name.


Yeah, both Google and DDG have the "we know better than you" problem with searching. I have to aggressively use the -keyword filter on searches with both.


Comes up after DDG-the-artist related links at #3 or #4 on anonymized google. Seems ideally ranked.


I strongly suggest installing an ad blocker. Firefox for Android supports ad blockers like uBlock Origin.


Using an adblocker won't stop an ad company from mining your search queries.


Yeah I agree, in some rare cases Google is better, in most cases DDG is best from my experience


yeah, i used to find ddg good enough for normal searces, and a bit off for specialised e.g. api help, for which a !g was necessary

nowadays, i get different results for those specialised searces, but they aren't better. i much more rarely bother with google now.


question: google has enough on the ball such that if it got out of the search business they could keep themselves going?


Unlikely... the bulk of their revenue is based on ad payments, either on search or on individual sites. I'd guess it's probably 70:30 roughly, since you're probably almost as likely to search on google first and click a couple results. So they'd probably take a 30% hit just from loss of ads. Behavioral information from starting from a google search should also not be under-estimated which is probably where they get a lot of their behavioral data from to begin with (you searched for X, went to Y for Z seconds, etc).

adsense, analytics and search are all pillars of their core income sources, if you take one out, the value is seriously impacted overall.


I think I've figured out what is happening when people tell me that DuckDuckGo's results "aren't good enough".

What's really happening is that they've been trained to search a certain way to using Google and because DDG doesn't have all the historical data of your searches on their platform they can't fill in the gaps as well.

After a couple days using DDG I found the right vocabulary to get good local results and which bangs to use to get results from the sites that I want. It's a more effective tool if you learn how to use it.


A lot of DDG fans on HN blame the user or social conditioning and use that as a crutch. It’s BS.

You need to provide clear examples of the differences in order to really make this argument to someone who might switch.

What specifically are the differences? The last time this topic came up someone told me I was a total noob because I didn’t know how to use search and that was basically the extent of it.


Google gives me bad results. It ignores some of the words in my queries, and the context boxes are generally spammy and irrelevant. Even if the correct information is somewhere in the results page, I bounce before I can find it.

From what I can tell from the article, this might be because I type too much stuff into the search bar, and because Google’s manually curated semantic web stuff is not relevant to me.

However, I’m really not sure why I can’t use Google anymore. It was better when I switched away, so I definitely used to be able to use it (I didn’t log in back then either).

Ddg is fine, and more respectful to its users. I don’t have a practical reason to figure out what the problem is.


I have this same problem. I use the same "subject sub-subject (...) specific query" tactic I've been using since forever and Google search has been becoming less effective for me over the years. I switched to DDG a couple of years ago I think, and it's better for handling that sort of thing.

Is there a search engine out there that respects quotes, and, or, case-insensitive when asked for, etc? In some ways I miss the days of altavista and similar search engines which had "advanced" tabs you could use to craft your query as closely as needed to find that one web page you know has what you need to find that you stumbled upon years ago.

The only time I use what the author refers to as "low intent searches" is when I've just heard a term or phrase I don't understand and don't know enough about it to ask specifically for something.


What's going on is those of us who have been using the Web since Google was brand new (or earlier...remember AltaVista?) expect a search engine to find text on web pages.

What the average user in the post-smartphone world expects a search engine to do is deliver an answer to a question. These are basically incompatible, and it seems like a progressively smaller circle of the Web is being surfaced by Google these days, as they focus heavily on popularity and novelty.


Just a heads up; post-smartphone means the era after the smartphone.

Maybe you intended to say this, then I'm really curious about your perspective?


Go into google search options and select verbatam to include all search terms.


I switched for about a month... for most general searches ddg was as good or better... when searching for development terms as a programmer, I found that the ddg results were often worthless to me. The context that google has associated to you specifically adds value to the results.

Since most of my searches were for technical libraries, components, etc, I found myself searching again with !g more than half the time... after the month was up, I switched back. There are a LOT of things I like about ddg though.

It would be nice if DDG offered search roles, that could prioritize certain associated terms together for someone that is say a programmer, engineer, social media person, etc. This could be opt-in to maybe a dozen categories to skew results on one way or another, but not tied to a person per-se.

Also, a shorter domain name would help.


> Also, a shorter domain name would help.

I'm surprised your browser doesn't just search from the "awesome bar", making navigating to the domain a non-event

However, the answer to your question is ddg.gg (unknown if that's short enough, but it's only 3 keys to press)


I use DDG for 2 years already, and I'm a developer, I've never experienced ur problem, and I do search for technical stuff all the time. I dont see how DDG can fail to show u a documentation or library result, especially if you know what u are looking for


duck.com :)


> Google gives me bad results. It ignores some of the words in my queries

This is the problem I've been having with DDG, where it will aggressively rewrite my search into something completely unrelated


I've said this before, but I really don't get any useful results from Google at all anymore. I have to prefix Reddit for every search to at least try to get a vaguely human answer to a question.

Of course Reddit is still gamed and has plenty of other issues, but far less than Google at this point.


Just to be clear, are you saying DDG gives you better results? I was just thinking about how google has this problem


I think, on reflection, the issue is that typing “harry potter sport” and clicking on the wikipedia article at the very top of the page (above the first ad) is a much lower cognitive burden than the Google way, where I guess people are trained to type “harry potter” and then skim an entire page of ads, search results and noise to find the word “Quidditch” (which doesn’t appear, I just checked).

If I google harry potter sport, it presents the Wikipedia article in a context box, then the same article in a differently formatted context box, an ad, and then a third link to the same article at the top of the organic results.

Duck duck go displays the same link twice (once in a big context box). This seems better, though arguably not great.


A Google search for me produces the word "Quidditch" in a box along with a link to the Wikipedia page for Quidditch and the first paragraph of that article. The box appears at the very top of the results. I'm not sure how a search result for that query could be much more useful.


I can confirm that I also see this, both in my regular Firefox instance where I do everything and in an incognito Chrome window. Specifically, I get, in order from top to bottom, with only trivial differences between those two cases:

A box with "Quidditch" in big letters, a picture and a brief description.

Some "People also ask:" with questions that do seem to be reasonably relevant.

The Wikipedia page about Quidditch.

Some video links, all relevant.

Some images, all relevant.

Another Wikipedia page about Quidditch.

A page about the "Department of Magical Games and Sports" from some Harry-Potter-specific wiki.

Same wiki's "games and sports" category.

"Beyond Quidditch: games and pastimes in the wizarding world" from www.wizardingworld.com.

NPR article about real-world quidditch games.

Quora question about other sports in Harry Potter.

Related searches: a bunch of Harry Potter things which seem pretty relevant.

Related search: "Quidditch teams".

A bunch of "Searches related to harry potter sport" which mostly also seem relevant.

So ... the organization of the page is a little weird in places, but this seems like an excellent set of search results for that query. The DDG results are also perfectly fine, though they feel slightly worse than the Google ones to me.


Might have wanted to try this, before using this example. As other commenters have noted, this immediately offers up ‘Quittich’ at the first result.


An example of a difference: I live in Bristol. If I search for things like "car mechanic bristol", DDG comes up with lots of results from Bristol, Tennessee. It's not that DDG is worse than Google, it's just that DDG isn't tailoring the results to what it knows about me. The solution is to be more specific: "car mechanic bristol uk", for example, does the job.


Have you tried switching `United Kingdom` to on?

https://imgur.com/6ydSWAF


I have exactly the same issue with it in Wellington, NZ.

Even with "New Zealand" turned on at the top, it gives me quite a few results for things in Wellington, Florida.

If I don't specify "Wellington" or "NZ" in the search terms, results are even worse, even with "New Zealand" turned on: I get results from Australia, Dubai, even the UK for various search terms. (and some of the TLDs are things like "com.au" or ".co.uk" so it should be trivial to filter those out.)

Google's not perfect in this regard, but it's an order of magnitude better in my experience for localised queries, even with both in Incognito/Private mode.


Couldn't DDG use the users location in a non evil way instead of not using it at all, like 1998 Google?


> If I search for things like "car mechanic bristol", DDG comes up with lots of results from Bristol, Tennessee. It's not that DDG is worse than Google, it's just that DDG isn't tailoring the results to what it knows about me.

If I wanted a car mechanic in San Francisco, I would usually search for "car mechanic 94105" rather than "car mechanic san francisco". Regardless of search engine.

Do postal codes not work to refer to particular areas of the UK?


The Bristol postcode is the letters 'BS' followed by a one or two digit number, so it's not particularly good for finding a service provider in a large area.

UK postcodes are somewhat more useful when you want to narrow a search to a small area, especially for small towns and London districts where the number is a useful identifier and the area itself might have multiple or non-unique names


> it's not particularly good for finding a service provider in a large area.

Unless I'm misunderstanding something, this doesn't make much sense.

For example, running a search for "car mechanic 94105" doesn't restrict your results to car mechanics that are located inside the 94105 zip code. It restricts your results to car mechanics that are near the 94105 zip code, where "near" is a fuzzy term. I just ran this search myself, from outside San Francisco, and there's just a single result in the 94105 area. But there are plenty shown in 94107, 94103, 94102, 94111... (primarily 94107).

The zip code is a cheap, easy, and unambiguous way to tell the search engine what you want. It's on the search engine to decide how to respond.


> For example, running a search for "car mechanic 94105" doesn't restrict your results to car mechanics that are located inside the 94105 zip code

I am seeing literally that issue with both Google and DuckDuckGo so maybe that depends on the region. My search results, both logged-in and in a private window, are limited to car mechanic websites that mention the zip code. The Google Maps search is not limited, but it's not very good in general, so I usually avoid it. DuckDuckGo finds practically no results in the map view (Apple Maps).

> The zip code is a cheap, easy, and unambiguous way to tell the search engine what you want. It's on the search engine to decide how to respond.

So is "car mechanic bristol uk". The parent's entire point is that DuckDuckGo doesn't consider context for natural language searches and claiming that everyone else is searching wrong is completely missing the point.


Lithuania, Slovakia and Indonesia also have 94105 as a valid post code.

Post codes are not particularly human friendly (though British ones like N1C 4AG are a bit better than just numbers; it's easy to see the N, N1, N1C prefixes in that).


Have you tried it recently?

I generally agree that people made excuses for DDG when it was clearly worse and unusable, but today it’s good enough to use instead (I think it’s better).

I’d try it again if you haven’t for a while. Maybe your needs are different than mine, but since we’re both on HN there’s probably pretty good overlap.

Small thing, but I really like how DDG results are primarily links to websites and I can see a bunch of links on the first page without scrolling. I think with google the last search I did had 3?

I suspect the article is right about google being better about low intent searches (and just generally bad search queries from regular people which probably make up the vast majority of users), but I don’t care about that. I think DDG is probably better for more technical users.


I’ve always had the opposite experience with DDG. Technical queries gave just garbage results, where as I got meaningful hits on google each time. </anecdote>


<anecdote>This thread made me change to DDG (again). A few minutes later gimp was crashing on me, so I did the lazy thing: C&P some of the error into the search engine.

This is the result of my fist search switching to DDG: https://i.imgur.com/05LxLDv.png

DDG results are utterly useless, while google gives three highly relevant results solving my issue within a few seconds. Happens all the time. DDG: I want, I just can't.

PS: And I'm not a person searching for anything gimp all the time, my browser history shows three prior "how to x in" gimp searches over the last year. Adding to that this is google.com not logged-in in a Firefox container solely for google searches where storage is scrapped somewhat regularly. </anecdote>


This query seems to work a lot better:

    "the program gimp received an x window system error"


Agreed. Each time I see something about DDG on HN I try to switch and it never lasts. I don't like the results on DDG and as much as I'd like to move away from Google they've got search on lock.


I don’t fully buy the whole “need to move away from google” part. Yes privacy, yes ads, yes SEO gaming, yes monotechopocolpyse. But the reality is they don’t sell my data, they’ve been a good steward of my search queries over the years (and have tools to clear my history or log me out and not save them), and their product is still the best over two-ish decades.

If you’re going to convince me to move away from them, you gotta 10x it, not give me a poor clone with ! tools to force me to compensate for a not great search engine. Give me a fundamentally different experience that actually innovates in this space. I’d love to see the competition, but somehow it hasn’t materialized in all these years.


> If you’re going to convince me to move away from them, you gotta 10x it,

The fact that you don't start all your searches in Google is sufficient reason. You could always jump to Google if DDG has bad results, but for many searches you don't need to leave Google traces.


Why is that sufficient reason? I'm not particularly concerned about Google having my search history. As I've said before, they've been good stewards with it over 20 years.


The same thing was true for me until it wasn’t, I stayed on DDG after trying it again probably three months ago.


I have tried it recently and my co-founder and I are literally building a new search experience because we are deeply unsatisfied with the current ones.


Any links to your new project?


Yup there is (alpha.whize.co) the question mark at the top links to a blog post with our broader goals though we've refined them a bit since that post.

I'll warn you though, the alpha has a really limited index (github results) but was meant to showcase how we think we'll initially prioritize results and gauge people's interest versus this is the final version because as you can imagine crawling the larger internet is a bigger task and if no one was interested we weren't going to do it.

That said we did have a healthy amount of people try it out (over 2000) and are still seeing people use it now over a month out so we've been full steam ahead on our generic crawler, plus a few social media specific crawlers and we expect to have our beta available mid May.


No offense, but I literally cannot find anything on GitHub with this search engine.


It's tuned towards discovery, so if you search a topic you'll get results for smaller, new repos that do something around that topic. We deliberately hard downranked common repos but it's also 2 months out of date now since that was to test the waters and we didnt set up recrawling at the time. That said we shared your concerns and have changed things up with how we are approaching it for the beta


> We deliberately hard downranked common repos

Wasn't google criticized here on HN for downranking specific results? If I'm looking for something, probably I'm looking for the most common, I think


So we didn't pick specific repos, but we crafted a function based on some metrics we we're using from Github that had a sharp drop off after a certain point and basically -any- super common or well known repo would be down ranked based on those metrics.

I can appreciate your thought on that but we're not necessarily geared towards the most common per se (though this might be me misunderstanding what you mean) as we have experienced multiple times the most common result being wrong or outdated and the way things are now it takes a long time for those to slide out of the rankings.

We've been asking around for a while now to flesh out what our actual thought is and the description for the problem we're solving right now is "information staleness", you search for something and it leads you to a reddit post but that's outdated by 5 years and then you wind up actually having to do a deep dive and it turns out there was actually a more accurate post from a year ago but it just hasn't crept up to the top yet because everything references the 5 year old post.

With our alpha we actually think we went too much in the other direction we focused on it all being super super new but the reality is there is nuance between different topics for what timeframe information decays in, if that makes sense, and now we're for the beta trying to strike a better balance.


Right, it makes sense. What I end up doing a lot of times, is manually filtering by "last year". It's good to give preference to more recent results. Thanks for the explanation


DDG used to have issues with responsiveness on their page. Years later I tried it again and it actually feels right. A lot of work has gone into performance optimization and it has sucked me in.


> A lot of DDG fans on HN blame the user or social conditioning and use that as a crutch.

The tools are different, though, so searching the same way on DDG and Google will lead to different outcomes. This is no different than adapting you speech when speaking to an infant or speaking to an adult. [1]

For example, I use DDG as my primary search tool, and I have a habit of using "keywords", rather than natural language, when I search DDG. (This may be an outdated habit from my long exposure to search tools.) With modern Google though, I find that if I follow my habit and use keywords, my search results are poor. I have better results using natural language. As others have noted, I have better results when searching Google when I don't know what the thing I'm looking for is called, or when I'm looking for esoteric content (like code samples.)

[1] I'm not saying that switching is easy or even ideal, I'm just underscoring that different tools are... different. ;-) And "knowing" how to use search well is kinda hard these days, as everything keeps evolving, and we're all busy doing other things.


I have a hard time believing there's actually much google-specific adaption going on for anyone except the biggest HN nerd.

My girlfriend types whole sentences into it. People in this thread have search examples like "harry potter sport". I look at my google search history and it's just generic search strings that DDG has no excuse to struggle.

Having to "tweak your language" just sounds like a cop-out to me. And I think people really just mean you have to add more context to DDG queries because it's easily confused. Like how "elm list" gives great results in google and bad results in DDG.


> Having to "tweak your language" just sounds like a cop-out to me.

Totally agree. But even Google is nowhere near perfection here, so we’re left with the same two strategies we all use when searching:

* try over and over * continually tweak queries

It’s especially easy to forget that we often actually search multiple times, because we do it so quickly that it’s an ingrained habit.


Considering the base idea isn't that DDG's search is better, but that their privacy is better, it's kinda the opposite. The people not using DDG would have to provide clear examples. (Or just say that they don't care enough about Google's privacy issues to switch.)


One could ask that you provide clear examples of searches that don't work right for you, then maybe we can provide advice.


> A lot of DDG fans on HN blame the user or social conditioning and use that as a crutch. It’s BS.

That's no more or less BS than people saying that "DDG results are shit". I don't see anything wrong with trying to guess why DDG doesn't work well for some people, even if the conclusion happens to offend someone's personal choices.


I agree. I’ve been in the DDG camp for a little while, but I finally had to switch back to google as my primary search engine on my laptop - fixing searches was taking too much time. That’s after two or three months of using DDG and Bing exclusively


Funnily enough I just got an example of this from a friend who is trying DDG this week.

Her example query that did better on Google than DDG:

> why did robinhood go down feb 29 2020

What I would search for the same question that does better on DDG:

> robinhood down

She's 24 and I'm 29 so it's possible that difference is real, people who are younger may be tailoring searches in a way that benefits Google (in which case they may not benefit as much from DDG or really would have to change behavior).


For me the differences are:

Google is better at dealing with topics that are trending and providing data right on the SERP without having to click through. If I want to look up the latest Corona Virus stats, I'd do so on google. As the article states, things like Google's stock panel are just superior to other options.

But DDG is better at historical searches. It's like they try to 'understand' you less and want to provide you with all possible things you could be looking for. Like Google used to do and like I prefer. I've looked up old articles I had read and wanted to reference when writing an article. On Google and they just don't come up. No matter what I do: use the date tool, use quotes, etc, it's like Google thinks it's too old/irrelevant for me, so no matter what I search, it won't give it to me. But on DDG, they are there and will come up with the right set of keywords.


Actually the article in this post provides exactly that. https://www.bitlog.com/2020/03/06/duckduckgo-is-good-enough-... Look for the bit about Harry Potter.


I uaed google the last 3 years on my desktop while I used DDG on my phone, so I have a pretty good feeling about the differences. I started using duckduckgo because I accidentally set the default search engine to it and thought: OK I might as well use that for a while.

The question you ask is hard to answer because the differences depend on the thing you are searching for. My feeling: for searching code stuff google is a tad better, while for everyday stuff duckduckgo seems to display more relevant results.

It is definitly worth trying, just to notice the subtle things google does sometimes.


It might be more effective if you try it yourself. Google something you normally google, then repeat the search with &pws=0 at the end of the query string.


Interesting, what is the pws arg?


I think it's something like 'personalized web search' so you turn it off. That used to be the way to do it anyway.


It turns off personalised (based on your browsing/search history) search results.


Let's say there's a new can opener in the drawer [1], it's the same size and shape as a can opener but because it's not what you're used to you try to use it in the normal orientation and it doesn't work.

Even though the tool can open cans, rounds off the sharp edges and requires less grip force you reply with: a lot of OXO folks blame the user or social conditioning. It's BS.

Is that a reasonable response?

I'd argue that it isn't.

But to answer your question I use more precise language for what I'm looking for, specifying the city and state I want results from, specifying the type of thing that I want.

A lot of my searches are !bangs,

!godoc - for searching Go packages !gems - for searching ruby gems !sx - for getting only stack overflow results !w - for jumping to a Wikipedia article !gh - for searching github

- [1] https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000079XW2?tag=duckduckgo-ffab-20&...


GP isn't a peer-reviewed journal, it's an opinion insight.


> You need to provide clear examples

Nope, I don't. I don't care what search engine you like. I do want to see Google knocked down several pegs, but fan rants aren't going to do that.

I just keep using DDG as it gets better while Google gets worse and sometimes think a little about the variety of the human experience.


I use DDG on a daily basis, being my default search engine for the past two years.

However I don't agree — many of my searches have awful results on DDG compared with Google and I often find no words to make it better.

Local searches are an obvious candidate, DDG is awful for my native language, giving me results in Spanish (I'm Romanian).

But lately I'm noticing programming-related results being worse on DDG as well. I'm not sure why because they used to be similar, but now some of the results DDG is giving me (for very specific search terms) are really, really bad, many times DDG ignoring my keywords and giving me something else entirely.

It's fine for now, I prefer the privacy, but they'd better improve and fast.


My experience with DDG has been exactly the same, not just with programming- and, in my case, math-related search terms but also when I look for personal websites of people in academia. On Google, it's usually the first search result but it often isn't even among the first 10 in DDG.


I've been a DDG booster for a while. Their search results are usually good enough. Except after longer use I've found two major issues that eventually forced me back to Google:

1. I can Image Search the most basic of terms and literally get "No Results Found" once or twice a day. Sometimes I'll get like... 8 photos.

2. I will weirdly get the Wikipedia link for a relevant query, but the British or Spanish or some other version often isn't even in English. And I do have "Canada" toggled on.


3. You can't search for "older than" results. For example, if you want news reports about Ukrainian corruption, but only from before 2015, you're out of luck on ddg, have fun reading about Trump.


> ... the British or .. some other version often isn't even in English.

There's only one regular English version of the Wikipedia, unless you're refering to the Galic one, which would be a little odd (https://ga.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pr%C3%ADomhleathanach).


I got the scots one once when I searched for the Hoover dam.

https://sco.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Dam

At first I thought either I was going crazy or the article had been vandalized. But then I figured out that DDG hadn't taken me to the English result.


I'm surely messing up the details. I just remember getting other versions of Wikipedia as my main result.


I think you inadvertently hit the nail on the head here, in that DuckDuckGo requires you to know its incantations, and Google has gotten really good at not having you to know any incantations at all. I can even obliterate the spelling of words and it often knows what i'm looking for.

Now, with that said, if your target is power searchers (like myself) I think you have a better argument, because Google often lacks in some of these areas (like being able to filter by a specific grouping of sorts, like if I want a "dev focused" search, not just filtering by a specific site, DDG has some methodology here that I haven't been able to easily surface with Google)

But there are cases where I've noticed DDG falling behind, like indexing newer content, or being able to filter by time accurately.


> Google has gotten really good at not having you to know any incantations at all.

I disagree -- the decline of the quality of Google's search appears to have begun when it started trying to second-guess what I'm searching for, and has continued to decline ever since.


Today I was trying to find info about Corpus Christi - a Polish film that won some awards lately. DDG gives me information about a place in Texas, including stuff from the local newspaper and attractions. I'm searching from a Poland IP btw. Anyway, the actual film was at the very end of the first page of results for me.

It certainly feels like it priotises things weirdly.

Google Maps has a similar issue though: plenty of US placenames are just stolen from European places and oftentimes I'll be trying to get directions to a nearby town and instead it'll navigate to someplace in Alabama instead. Strangely enough, not where I want to go...


So does Google, "Corpus Christi" is too ambiguous.

"Corpus Christi polish film" is good enough. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Corpus+Christi+polish+film&t=ffab&...

"Corpus Christi film" also works, results look relevant, but knowledge graph shows the old 2014 Venezuelan movie. This is where Google is way superior, it showed me average score on imdb and even local showtimes.


I imagine that if you were searching from a Polish IP, Google would infer that you meant the movie, not the city. For anyone in the United States, however, I'd expect the city to be the more common search.


Wait a second. You can't use a privacy themed search engine and expect them to lookup your ip, figure out what city you are in. The entire point of using ddg is to avoid this.


It already knows I’m in the UK from my IP address. I get a UK toggle at the top of the page.


DDG does use ip address to locate you.


Corpus Christi is the name of a major Christian festival and is a holiday in many countries with a large catholic population, including Poland. The city in Texas and the movie are named after it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_Corpus_Christi


Did you include the word "film" in your search? Otherwise there's no reasonable expectation for it to show up. It's like searching for "Philadelphia" and expecting the movie to show up and not the city.


I understand what you're suggesting but for fun I did that search on DDG and the film was the 8th result (on the first page of results ;)


The experiment was a success


For me part of the problem is that DDG feels slow to index new results. Trying to search for anything that’s happened in the last week almost always is a swing and a miss for me.

It’s a stark contrast to google, where the results seem more or less live, including updated auto complete for things that have happened recently.

And that doesn’t seem like an issue at all related to privacy, it’s just a problem space that DDG doesn’t seem to handle well.


Please teach me how to use DDG, as I’m clearly missing something. I’m happy to switch to a service that provides better results in exchange for a bit more effort in constructing search queries, but the results I get for that effort really do need to be better.

The only specific advise I’ve ever seen is “use !g if you don’t get good results the first time”, which really isn’t encouraging.


It’s not about better results. It’s about good enough results without all the spying.


Can you share what is the right vocabulary for example?

I have DDG as main engine for the phone and unless it’s Wikipedia level question, I have to use g!


Don’t use natural language, use keywords and quotes. Essentially the way people searched 5-10 years ago. I rarely need !g


This is the trick. Google got good at letting people search using 'natural' language. DDG is just a bit different. In some ways, I think it's better because my results are more specific in a lot of cases. I look up a lot of academic stuff where Google has the tendency to feed me a lot of garbage that DDG doesn't.


> Don’t use natural language

So... its worse. People want to use natural language.


It depends on how you look at it. I want to be specific in my searches, which is why I often use quotes, things like `site:somedomain.com`, etc.

That said, that means that DDG is not for everyone. If people want to use Google because they prefer NLP, that's fine, but Google users who trash DDG because it's not smart like Google are totally dismissive of DDG's utility or why people choose it. DDG users on HN, on the other hand, at least seem to understand why people choose to use Google, and I don't think any appreciable number of them expect a large portion of the market to shift towards DDG. In fact, I don't think they believe that DDG is necessarily better. A lot of users, such as myself, use DDG because the UI is a little simpler and because they don't want Google to dominate their life, the compromise being a more stupid but still useful search engine.

Not everyone wants NLP. I dislike NLP and think that it's turning out to be a joke in a lot of ways. When I use natural language with Google, it often doesn't understand my intent, and it even ignores obvious keywords. This is true for pretty much every service or device I've used that has NLP. I don't want it. If others find it useful, that's great, and they should use Google in that case. I don't want it, and that doesn't mean that my chosen tools are "worse".


> which is why I often use quotes, things like `site:somedomain.com`, etc.

this might be true for technical people that don't need accessibility. Nowadays people prefer to use natural language to search, with many people using voice search, either because of preference, or because they need to


I think it is fine to say that DDG targets a different userbase and that the tech community is far more comfortable thinking about computer interfaces and keyword search. But that's not the conversation that people always have about DDG. The conversation is always "why does anybody use Google anymore" and "DDG is a replacement".


...For certain values of "people", sometimes. I sure don't, it is imprecise, more failure prone and generally gives worse results.

This reminds me of telcos trying to get in to content. "Humans appear to value short audiovisual bursts of stimulation. We shall conquer all by providing all the memes!" And then they knife Tumblr.

It isn't that "people" "want" one search method over another. The search grammar is not why they're there.


If I wanted to search using natural language, I'd use Ask Jeeves. DDG is just fine in my experience.


I have to ask, in 2020, or any year, really, was Ask Jeeves ever good at this? Empirically? I can anecdotally it was terrible

I somehow doubt that changed.

Edit: Well I be darned, turns out it was their bread and butter:

https://econsultancy.com/the-state-of-natural-language-conve...


Trained in what way? I type a couple words(misspelled) on Google and it magically returns me exactly what I need. Typing special keywords back in the day sucked.


When I search for Fish Tacos on DDG's maps and Google, it's night and day.

DDG gave me 4 results, none anywhere near me.

Do you have a suggestion for how I could have been more effective?


I do not use DDG for map queries. Google Maps is still light years ahead of anyone else for maps. For non-map queries, DDG is now well ahead of Google except for long tail stuff, for example: technical error messages.


I currently also use Google Maps for map queries.. But I use it through DuckDuckGo, with !gm. I actually find this a better experience than navigating to Google Maps before entering my query.


For POIs, Google Maps is out in front. For motoring directions, Apple is catching up. For walking and cycling, OSM is streets ahead.


'Fish Tacos [X]' where X is the name of the city - or turning on your region toggle is usually enough to solve that problem.


DDG is not good for local stuff. That's in the linked article.


I find DDG more useful when I treat it like it's trying to help me use the internet, rather than like it's trying to replace the internet.

try "fish tacos !yelp"


then, why not just use yelp?


The same reason that any ddg bang is useful: fewer keystrokes, one less page load.


IDK, for all sites I use I have them as custom searches. So Yelp would be: "y" -> tab -> search -> see Yelp results page


I never log in to Google’s services in the browser[1]; clear my cookies on browser close; use several other blocking methods for privacy; and have been using DDG as my main search engine for years.

Yet, I’ve used `!g` more in the last months than ever before. In my usage, DDG’s results are getting noticeably worse. It’s unlikely I’ve forgotten “how to use it”.

[1]: I only log in to a Google account for Gmail, and always on an app.


I'm using DDG but I have to "!g" a lot. The English language results are quite good but the German results are often not what I'm looking for. I'm assuming this will improve with time so I'm not too worried but DDG search results can still be improved a lot (imo). That being said, I'm not switching back anytime soon. Pretty happy so far.

FWIW I use uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger.


On the other hand, when people say you need to learn how to search DDG, they basically mean you need to add more context to your search because DDG is easily confused and categorically worse.

Having to "retrain" yourself to use DDG is the most romantic way to say "it's a worse tool so you need to give it more context."


I find DDG works for most purposes but I sometimes have to use !s to get meaningful results; even with very specific search terms such as a part number. These days I rarely find a need to use !g but it does happen a few times a week.


Ironically Google changing how it responds to my search queries, and me finally figuring out that's why my google experience has degraded, is what actually made me switch to DDG as my primary search engine.


I've made a promise to myself to start paying attention to this when I do searches, but so far that promise has gone unfulfilled.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that I think I see quite a few SEO hackers pop up on the first page, to the point that it's sometimes difficult to find anything meaty.

I'll try to keep an eye on it this week so the next time DDG comes up I can contribute something substantial (and substantiated).


I use it regularly, but for some programming queries the results could be better and I have to use the Goog.


DDG doesn’t work well for my language, but it works perfectly well for my English searches.


I switched over to DDG a few weeks ago. I slowly regressed to more and more !g usage, and finally switched back to GOOG a couple days ago. Then just an hour ago I searched for "google fiber stadia", because I was curious how well they work together. The main reddit result opened in an amp page (and of course reddit pressured me to install the mobile app). I went back to the results and started scrolling down. I honestly couldn't tell at a glance what was ads, amp, or normal links. I personally feel like I'm in a bit of a no-man's land right now when it comes to search, but I think DDG really has a window of opportunity.


I found that searching was more difficult nowadays. Result from Google is becoming worse, filling with content farm and ads. In some sense, that gave opportunity to become a better search engine without any technical improvement, but better marketing.


Search "phrases" are starting to return more and more useless results. I typed in some phrase as a question and got back a list of news articles about coronavirus. Can't recall what it was but it had nothing to do with coronavirus.

More and more often it will drop words out of my search; import words. I can't help but suspect it's because it has more ads to show me without the most contextually important bits of my search.

Half the first pages are ads. The next few pages may be shopping results even though I'm not searching for something to buy.

Something.. Happened on mobile. The search results now have a bunch of BS "sections" before the actual search results section! WUT.

Seems to be getting harder and harder to craft the right searches to get good results. I miss the days when people would write articles with headlines of "<topic> sucks". Was so much easier to find counter opinions to stuff :/


I don't know if DDG is better or good enough - maybe I'll start using it.

But I do know that google has gone far downhill. and I think that is partially its fault, and also the fault of the internet as a whole. It's just become such an infested ad machine.


You can use !s in ddg to get google results without google.


I'm redirected to startpage for both !s and !sp from duckduckgo. Is there a setting I need to flip?


Startpage is a privacy-oriented proxy of Google search results.


Weren't they bought by an ad-company recently? I used their anonymous browsing extensively, even if it was slow. I've all but stopped using them now.


Hi - Startpage person here. Sorry to hear you stopped using Startpage. We hope you'll give us another chance. Here's more info on the investment by System1/Privacy One: https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Artic...

Just FYI: We don’t collect or share your personal information. The Startpage founders continue to run the company as before and they have control over the privacy components of Startpage. With this investment, we hope to further expand our privacy features & reach new users. You may have already seen some of these new initiatives taking place. 1) Unfiltered News Tab launched in November: https://www.startpage.com/blog/product-updates/launching-unp... 2) Privacy Please! Newsletter launched in last month: https://www.startpage.com/blog/company-updates/welcome-priva... 3) We're pushing out more info via our blog & social than before, giving greater insight into how we make money (https://www.startpage.com/blog/privacy-awareness/advertising...) and how we keep your search private (https://www.startpage.com/blog/privacy-awareness/how-does-st...)


Does that bring up Startpage results?


Use !sp for that


Yes


Same boat here. Even for technical searches, which ddg is supposed to be good at, I would routinely find the Google results of much more accuracy and quality. Finally switched back.

Luckily, for the things I search, ads are not usually a problem.


I tried DDG half a year ago when I also switched back to Firefox, but didn't like the results at the time, so I switched to Startpage. Then for the past couple weeks, Startpage has been having technical issues, so I tried out DDG again. And it's nice. Like I don't even think about it. I'm actually impressed


Hi! Startpage person here. Sorry to hear you've been experiencing issues with Startpage. You can always reach out to us via social or our support page: https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Tickets/Submit/Rend.... It helps us let our team know of any issues that may affect users at large.

FYI: We're rolling out new privacy features this year. We hope you'll give us another chance. Thanks!


Similar. DDG just wasn't quite as good, and Google is getting too sleazy.


There's also Qwant. I've been using it a for a while on PC and found it to be not bad. On Android I kept running into no results a few times, I don't know what that was about.


Mobile Google search is atrocious for my preferences. I pretty much avoid it entirely at this point.


Try using a google mirror instead, like Startpage. The google results without the spying.


Startpage is in bed with an advertising company.


Startpage is a search engine so it doesn't really sleep, hence no need for a bed or any bed-sharing. And we don’t collect or share your personal information.

And yes, we announced last year that System1/Privacy One invested in Startpage. Rest assured, the Startpage founders continue to run the company as before and they have control over the privacy components of Startpage. With this investment, we hope to further expand our privacy features & reach new users. More info on the investment: https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Artic...


Google is an advertising company, so Startpage isn't any worse.


There are other choices, such as SearX, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia.

Recommended read: "Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek" [1]

[1] https://libretechtips.gitlab.io/detailed-tests-of-search-eng...


DuckDuckGo works with the CIA so whatever.


Whataboutism 101.

There are more options than these two.


It's only good enough when you're in the US, I live in the UK and DDG consistently returns non local results even though the country is set correctly, it's especially annoying given how many US cities are named after their UK counterpart.


Also in the UK. It's noticeable that for many search terms, DDG's top autocomplete suggestion is the term you just typed, with "uk" tacked on the end of it. That suggests that many users in the UK are finding DDG's search results to be too US-centric.


This is _by far_ my biggest issue with DDG. I've been trying to use it for most of my searching and I'm fine with having to append '!g' to ~25% of my searches, it's not ideal, but whatever, I can manage.

Having to append 'uk' to 90% of searches after the first results page is full of useless American shit, for search terms that Google UK handles flawlessly, gets old, very quick.


Do you have United Kingdom toggled on?


The results did get better after I discovered that setting a while back. But it's still not close to good enough and I still have to manually stick 'uk' onto a search to find relevant results for most queries.


It's not just US-centric. DDG is just a little bad about local queries in general. With Google, if I'm looking for a local business, or something in the news locally, there's a decent chance I can just search for it and I'll find what I'm looking for. With DDG I need to explicitly tell it the locale I'm interested in.

On top of that I live in a small city that shares a name with a larger city. Google understands this and gives me results for my local, smaller city, but DDG needs to be explicitly told city name, state name.


This is my only gripe with DDG.

For daily use, it's fine, but it's awful for local results or anything that requires a map or directions.


I agree, I use it as my main search engine as I'm trying to go Google-free at home but finding UK-centric things is annoying. I guess we must just be a much smaller market for them.


Do you have the UK toggle turned on? Improving local results internationally is a major priority for the team currently - if you find queries where this isn't working well, hitting the feedback button in the bottom right of the screen is a huge help!


Why not default to having the UK toggle on for UK users?


Unfortunately this is the same for Romania as well, no local results are returned even though the country was set correctly.


Same for Australia. I use DDG exclusively on all devices for a few years now, and overall it works great for me. I probably use !g once or twice a month, if that.

But..

Even though I have the Australia button turned on, it doesn’t seem to do anything. So every time I need something local, I add “site:.au” to the end of the query then it works great again.


That's the reason I much prefer DDG over Google. When I want the news about politics in my country or restaurants in my town, I switch to local results in my language and region with the simple click of a button.

Sometimes I want results from StackOverflow, in English. On Google getting this right was a PITA.


I'm from the UK and have used duckduckgo as my default search engine for about 3 years. It's probably due to my specific searching habits but I have never noticed the issue you have.


All you need to do is type "uk" at the end of the query. I now do this automatically if I want UK-specific results, it's not a problem.


I use DDG, I'm not in the US and I never really felt that was an issue. If I'm looking specifically for something local I'd sooner use google maps directly anyway, not just a random web search.


It's not even good enough in the US.


That means I should try DDG. I NEVER EVER want local results, and Google always gives me local results. If I'd want local results I would put my country or my city in the search query.


DDG has a toggle to choose whether to prioritize local results or not. Try a search, and then it's prominent enough that I don't think I need to describe its location; you'll find it if you're looking.


That's great!


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