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The curious case of DuckDuckGo (hacksandthoughts.posterous.com)
103 points by sbashyal on Aug 22, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 98 comments



This is really an example of taking Google's strengths and making them out to be weaknesses. Google's search algorithm is tuned to what actually works for most people. Does anyone search for Java and click on coffee links? Or links for Java the island in Indonesia? Based on these results I would bet not. The thousands if not millions of people that typed Java before you didn't want coffee or islands. They wanted the Java virtual machine and programming language so all those long clicks to Java programming sites and JVM downloads have corrected the results page to reflect that.

But if you typed "cup of java" or "java island" there would be no mistake. Those people wanted coffee and Indonesia. So that's what links you get.

I have used DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine. But it is not competition for Google. Google is much, much more advanced.

If I typed in a proper name and that proper name was tied to an address in my area such as by being in the local white pages or having an address on a website, I would see the local result for that name because Google looked up the geolocation of my IP. That sounds a little creepy, but I got what I wanted. Google gave that link extra weight for being near my location therefore it wasn't buried on page 50. That's incredibly smart. How would DDG solve the same problem? It doesn't even try.


Google's search algorithm is tuned to what actually works for most people.

Yes. And that is where I think it goes wrong. The fact that a lot of people misspell should not be used to correct a person's right search to a wrong one. That's not the right thing to do. It should suggest a different search, but not change my search altogether.

As an example, if I place an order for a Chicken Burrito but am served a Beef Burrito because that's the most popular dish, it would not be okay. Same applies to search.

Google is much, much more advanced.

Yes! I said they over did it.


I think the burrito analogy is flawed... searching for a word Google doesn't know about is more akin to ordering something that wasn't on the burrito menu at all, or say... if the cashier misheard your order and thought it could have been either chicken or beef so they made an educated guess and served you a Beef Burrito at the same time asking if that was what you meant, giving you an option to receive your correct order if it wasn't.

Obviously in that situation they would just ask you to clarify your order before making a burrito, but if they had the ability to serve burritos as fast as Google serves results, then for the majority of cases (assuming the beef burrito is most popular) the outcome is satisfactory and it isn't worth the time or effort to ask and wait for an answer.


But Google did show the correct results when I clicked on the link suggesting I was searching for the actual string. So it was on their menu all the time. I also communicated my request correctly to the other end; the other end deliberately changed my order!


no, it really is a terrible analogy :)

the menu contains almost every word in almost every language that's online (plus many misspellings and made up words and lists of meaningless character permutations and...), so if you are going to automatically correct a query, some set of words that are on the menu are going to have to be excluded.

On the other hand, if we accept that this case was suboptimal, the solution seems to be one of:

1) never autocorrect, only offer a "did you mean." I would bet this would result in more people having to click than the current situation (in spite of the annoyances reported in this thread).

2) be more conservative with corrections and offer a "did you mean" more often. 500,000 results for "uncollege" and the fact that correcting it to "college" repeats a word in the query string is a good argument for this particular case, at least. On the other hand, testing for "[some random word] and uncollege" never seems to correct for uncollege unless the other word is education related, which is interesting. While the autocorrect isn't smart enough to notice that it's correcting to a repeated word, it is doing some kind of clustering and deciding you probably meant college in this case.


I'm pretty sure that Google being Google, they did exactly this kind of testing.

Put 500k people in bucket 1, and 500k people in bucket 2, and see what happens.

It's pretty obvious to me that the vast majority of times I see that correction message, that I've actually misspelt a word, and that it's pretty rare that I did actually want to search for "dictonary".


I think the analogy is flawed, but for a different reason - if you're given the wrong dish in a restaraunt, you can't correct it in less than two seconds.

I would rather have a search that corrected typos and aimed for the best result which I could rapidly correct than a search which slavishly returned "No results for 'hgihway', did you mean 'highway'?" (as a simple example).


DuckDuckGo corrects typos: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=hgihway

If you actually want to search for "hgihway", search for "+hgihway": https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%2Bhgihway

Of course, Google has results for "hgihway": https://encrypted.google.com/search?hl=en&sa=X&ei=mV...


I think Google should definitely be over-careful when deciding to vacate the searcher's terms due to suspected miss-spelling but I don't agree that it should vacate the feature altogether. I'm sure Google has evidence to support a net increase in searcher satisfaction with the behavior. Perhaps there's a middle ground when the algorithm is less certain there's been a miss-spelling and includes some results satisfying the original query.


Tyranny of the majority. The ultimate expression is to remove the search box altogether and just show the most popular porn sites - because that's the most frequently searched-for result.

Or just show the Wikipedia article on Philosophy :)


We find that our users really like disambiguation. I find it most useful on searches for people (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Doug+smith) or places (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Deerfield).

Re: local search, we're bringing in datasets from services like Yelp. For an example see: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Wood+tavern. We're always looking to improve, so if you've got interesting local data, please reach out.


It’s questionable that in the case of Java the disambiguation helps much.

Here is what you have to do to get results for Java coffee if you are using Google:

Type “Java”,

parse results and see that you didn’t get the desired results,

type space, “c”, “o”, “f”

And DuckDuckGo:

Type “Java”,

press enter,

parse results and see that you didn’t get the desired results,

expand right category in the disambiguation list,

click on “Java coffee” in the expanded list

It’s a wash, it really is.


So try a different example.

Scala also has multiple meanings. As of 3 months ago, it was almost impossible to find relevant pages about "Scala" or Lift through Google without knowing including more relevant information ("Scala Language" or "Lift Scala").


I'm able to easily type in a second word when I search. In the case of Java, I'm able to get the language, island, or coffee on the first search in google - for this 'princely' cost of searching correctly in the first place, I don't have to do the (apparently wonderful) ddg process:

1) visually skip the sizable disambiguation list

2) parse the main results, find they don't match (DDG is all about java language just like google on 'java')

3) go back and parse the disambiguation list

4) click the category to expand

5) parse the newly expanded list

6) click the relevant entry

7) wait for a new search

8) parse the main results again

I mean, seriously, a second word in your search is hardly cognitively onerous. Are we really so spoiled as to demand perfect results on short, ambigiuous topics?


Sorry, but Google's results are not defensible in these two cases. A search engine that spends a fraction of real estate to suggest specificity on rather generic term is performing better. It would be difficult to test but I suspect on a search for "java" that coffee or geography would fare better in relevance than the second half of Google's results.

Likewise, it doesn't even make any sense to search for "college or college" without quotes. It makes even less sense when the internet includes an exact match on "college or uncollege". Oddly, a search for "college and uncollege" (without quotes) finds the article in the #1 position. Again, is it too much to ask that Google include a few exact match results even when it strongly suspects a miss-spelling?


To those who downvoted: is your position that Google's results are better in these two cases? Or that it doesn't matter? Or that the cost to match/exceed DDG's results outweighs the benefits? Or that since Google works differently behind the scenes it should not be expected to deliver these kinds of results?

Downvote? Really?


I've said this for a long time, but I think the biggest thing holding back DDG from truly widespread adoption is the name and branding.

No one is ever going to 'dukgo' someone. Searching is a verb, the naming conventions used with DDG in its current form just don't fly. I'd love to talk shop with Gabriel about the identity decisions, and whether he is open to pivoting the brand identity now that the service is getting more well known..


Before Google we never Altavista'd or Yahoo'd anything, I don't see why this has to be a problem.

Also, please stop abusing the word "pivot" :(


I agree. Google became a verb because the search engine was successful, not the other way around. Furthermore:

- Microsoft spent pots of cash trying to verbify their search engine with their "bing and decide" commercials. As far as I know, this hasn't worked for them.

- IIRC Google themselves tend to use the form "do a Google search" - or they risk losing their trademark.

- Duck Duck Go is a catchy name - three punchy syllables. (I've recently become a fan of The Name Inspector's blog).

- And people should definitely stop using "pivot" when they just mean "change". Or "disruptive" when they mean "new". It's the startup equivalent of the crystal healers who use words like "quantum" to sound more intelligent.


But my disruptive agile cloud startup is going to pivot into being more of a social media cloud platform!!1!1oneone


Or 'impact' when they mean 'affect', though sadly the battle is lost on that one...


Give you a hint, why. Which one of those companies dominates search? Which are dead or also rans?


Right, before Google.. but maybe that's the point: they never became as ubiquitous as Google.


[deleted]


No, but it helps. My grandma says "I'll Google it". In the case of Altavista (yep she already had internet back then), she'd say "I'll try to use the site you bookmarked for me". Reason #1 for her familiarity with Google is the ease-of-use: an obvious box for typing shit, one obvious list for clicking shit, combined into one website for finding shit. But the apparent naturalness of Google as a verb—even in Dutch—makes old (and less old) folks feel like they are with the times. A verbalizable name helps because verbs tend to integrate into everyday talk more easily, whereas nouns always have a sense of otherness attached to them. With a service like search that is so central to the web-experience, you don't want that otherness, but perhaps when you are competing with Google Search it is best to have that sort of distance.


I've got the exact same feeling. Duck Duck Go looks and sounds quirky (and not in a good way for me).


Feelin the same way, but I'll be trying this anyway. I'd rather have it ugly and honest than good looking and insidious.


DuckDuckGo is a good enough name. Penetrating market share is incredibly difficult in the search market. Microsoft is spending billions of dollars each year marketing Bing to the masses and it still only has about 14% market share. It takes time, technology, and money to break the mindshare of users away from Google Search. DuckDuckGo has the name, they just need the time, technology, and money to market to the mainstream.


He should just rename it "Go"...it's both shorter than Google, works great as a verb "I'm going to Go to xyz site" meaning searching on the Go search engine is akin to a behavior many people already have -- searching for sites instead of typing their url.

Plus it helpfully further confuses the word "Go", it's a programming language, a regular old verb, and a search engine!


Well, in general I like the Duck Logo and brand Now checking possible duck domains

    Duck.com redirect to google! 
    Duck.co points to a DDG community site!
    Goduck.com is for sales 
    Duck.net is blocked from work so I guess its a porn thing 
What do you think will work as a good brand?


I didn't know about duck.com. Does anyone know the story behind that?


From a previous discussion on it http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2027691 here's a quote from Gabriel:

"""To be fair, it came as an asset in an unrelated acquisition (On2). But it just sat their (pointing to this Duck Corporation history page) for a long time.

I first inquired about it on 11/4/09. After several attempts, I got back a response "from management" on 3/25/10 that they didn't want to sell it. Understandable.

Now http://www.on2.com/ points to a Google explanation page about the On2 acquisition, yet http://duck.com/ points directly to Google search."""

Also discussed a little bit on the DDG community forum: http://duck.co/topic/duck-com-redirects-to-google


Thank you, that was very helpful and informative.


Duck.com redirect to google!

Huh. Well, that's fairly bizarre.


duck.net is owned by a squatter.


Agreed. He has a short URL but I'll be darned if I can remember it. Something like ddggg?

Edit: Right, ddg.gg. I guess I had it. But don't tell me it's memorable (I only recalled increasing character repetition). How do others remember it? "Duck Duck G-G-Go"? He definitely needs a short, pronounceable name.


DDG.gg


At least it's not named Blekko.


Yeah, I'll just keep on googling on DuckDuckGo. The way I make a xerox on whatever photocopier is around.


Why not just say "Duck it"?


What's with the name? It is derived from Duck Duck Goose, but it's not a metaphor—really. If you're wondering how you would turn that into a verb...Duck it!

From the ddg faq page: http://duckduckgo.com/faq.html


Sounds good to me. Just Duck It! They can even create a promotion around it with a curved beak as the logo.


Maybe save up for www.[just]duck.it.


I suggested it to Gabriel, so we'll see.


> I did the same search in DuckDuckGo and I got results as expected. Simple.

For this unusual case. In most situations I've encountered, Google's auto correction is quite helpful.

> What if I was searching for place Java of Java Coffee fame. I would need to scan through the search results, spanning multi-pages (second page in this), until I came across the one that related to Java, the place.

Or, you revise your query to "Java coffee". Hell, with Google Instant it's not even another pageview. As a programmer, I'm glad Google does a little guesswork and gives me results that are relevant to the types of queries I'm likely to be making.


> "In most situations I've encountered, Google's auto correction is quite helpful."

I'm a fairly good speller and a good typist, and I almost always mean to search for what I typed. Most days, Google's auto-correct feature is of negative value to me. YMMV of course.


but it can be beneficial for those non-native English speakers like me. sometimes, when composing email, i googled for some word to know its meaning and its correct spelling.


> Or, you revise your query to "Java coffee".

Right, but DDG makes it easier. Sure, technological advancement isn't required, you could still just do it the old way and edit your query, but this makes it easier and better. And that's a good thing.


In most situations I've encountered, Google's auto correction is quite helpful.

If I place an order for a Chicken Burrito but am served a Beef Burrito (auto correction) because that's the most popular dish, it would not be okay. Same applies to search. (Sorry, I repeated this example I used in another response in this same thread.)


> If I place an order for a Chicken Burrito but am served a Beef Burrito (auto correction) because that's the most popular dish, it would not be okay.

If I were immediately - i.e. within a second or two - served a chicken burrito when I say "sorry, I ordered the chicken", I don't think I'd mind that much.


I use DDG as my main search engine mostly because of the convenience of !bangs. Also, search results on other engines seem to be going down in quality lately. Too many spam sites are reaching the top of Google, and I'm finding real answers to questions I ask on page 2 or 3. The nice thing about DDG is that if you can't find what you're looking for you can just add !w, !so, etc. to try a more targeted search.


I am impressed by bangs. I am still exploring it's full potential. The reason I did not mention bangs in my write-up was because it was not related to the basic search comparison I found interesting.


re: "Google over does search" (and "autocorrects" your search).

This "feature" has been getting steadily more annoying, particularly with more obscure words, or words where there is a similar word that's in more widespread use.

Thinking about it now, I was wishing there was a way to turn off this feature; but alas, a dive into http://www.google.com/preferences doesn't seem to have "turn off that dang autocorrect" as an option.


In the screen shot in this article, you see some text with a link "Search instead for 'College or Uncollege?' above the results which takes you to the results for the original query. It's possible that the author didn't notice this though.

Just a theory, but I suspect this form of autocorrect is helping more than hurting, it's just that it's easy to not notice when things work well and very visible when they don't.


Append &nfpr=1 (short for "no full page replacement") to all your google queries:

For example:

http://www.google.com/search?q=college+or+uncollege&nfpr...

I am sure it's not that hard to write a greasemonkey script to do that for you automatically, but I tend to like the feature, especially when I fat finger queries with my cell phone.


If you're using Chrome's omni bar to search, you can permanently append that query parameter in the search engine settings in the preferences to avoid having to specify it explicitly.


If you use google as your homepage, you can change the address to something like that:

http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=0&hl=en

You can add as many parameters as you want [1]. I use complete=0 to disable suggestions (I don't need/want them) and hl=en to force the interface language to be in english

[1] http://yoast.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/google-url-param...


In firefox (and others) you can create a bookmark and give it a keyword.

Two different ways to do it: http://johnbokma.com/firefox/keymarks-explained.html http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Smart%20keywords


Surround the uncommon term in quotes and it won't be autocorrected.


Sadly this has not been reliable for quite a while. Much of the time such a search will only suggest the autocorrection, but for words that are rare enough instead of getting a tiny list of matches google will _still_ assume that it's a typo on your part. Its notorious weakness with words that have uncommon punctuation or embedded letters also kicks in for double-quoted phrases under some circumstances and worse, it'll come up with truly asinine substitutions - searches for "prominent female open source developers" used to drop the double-quotes since they were returning no hits and then ignore the "female" part. Net effect? Until you got to the bottom of the page you might be a bit confused by why there were no women mentioned in the first page of results. That example was fixed, possibly by shifts in their index, but I still run across problems google trying to outguess me on exact phrases from a text I'm trying to locate every day or two.


Point one I can’t understand. Google is optimized for the common case. It’s not that often that I want to search for something not in Google’s (excellent) dictionary.


Personally, I frequently fall into the uncommon cases. I realise that that makes me uncommon, and don't blame Google for doing what works for 90% of their users. However, for me personally it's not a great experience anymore, I am irritated by auto-correct far more often than I am helped by it. As someone who knew how to use the synonym operator, I never felt that I wanted Google to do this for me automatically. Now it does, frequently, and in some cases using the exact match operator is overriden by Google deciding to match synonymns anyway. At this point, I can't even control what I'm searching for.


Please see my burrito example in another response in this thread. Let me know if you think differently about search.


You've repeated the burrito example in nearly every subthread here, which is poor form to begin with, and it is a horrible example. You are comparing ("chicken burrito" -> "beef burrito") to ("something with words I've never seen in the past several billion searches" -> "something for which I have many results that get many clicks")

Please stop spamming your analogy to every subthread and please consider that it may in fact have some flaws.


One of the great parts of DuckDuckGo is that if you don't find what you're looking for, you can just type in '!g QUERY', '!b QUERY', or one of the other ~1400 !bangs.

https://www.duckduckgo.com/bang.html


This feature is a builtin on Chrome and Firefox. One need not proxy, and eat overhead time, for specific searches through DDG nor Google, and the keyword configuration is also custom.


See my replies above, Chrome and Firefox's features are nice, but not half of what DDG's !bang commands can do.


If you want your "college or uncollege" verbatim searched for by G, simple put a plus sign in from of it +"college or uncollege" to override the auto correction. Simple.

It's more about "geeks doing a web search" vs everybody else. Especially hackers want and are used to have a machine do exactly what is typed, without "smart correction".

But that is not true for most people, they want fault tolerance and a "you know what I mean" attitude from the machine. That's what G does.

I prefer DDG, of course.


Among the benefits listed and hundreds of others are the !bang commands, which i really love.

Want to do a search on stackoverflow right from your url bar?

  !so Hello world
Or maybe wikipedia?

  !w Hello world
Or do a google search

  !g Hello world


How does this differ from using browser-builtin search-keywords, other than not having to rely/wait on a proxy?

http://i.imgur.com/Tz7by.png


It's really similar, but you get a few hundred without having to configure anything in your browser, and it's the same no matter which browser[1] or computer you're using without having to sync anything. The downside, as you said, is that you have to wait for DDG's servers.

[1] Which matters a lot to me, since i use 3 or 4 different browsers at a time across a few different computers and often don't have the ability to sync my browser prefs.


If you visit any of those sites enough in Chrome, all you have to do is type a couple letters from the domain and then space or tab to search that site, given that they expose an OpenSearch Description. DuckDuckGo can't do this, as it static keywords instead of heuristically selecting the site you most likely want to search with the characters you have entered so far.


This is one of my favorite features of Chrome, but as i said in my comment below, that only works in chrome, it only works on the computer you visit those sites from, and DDG has a handful of hundred sites whereas chrome has only a few that you visit.

A good feature, but for my usage patterns it doesn't hold a candle to DDG !bang commands.


One of the best: The null !bang, if you will, is the equivalent of "I'm Feeling Lucky."

      Hacker News !


I tend to prepend some search terms with a plus sign +like +this, which tells Google not to auto-correct them. For phrases just use double quotes.


I wish there was some way for the system to ban people if they submit their own blog posts. This is a non-study.

The vast majority of people looking for "java" are looking for the programming language. If they weren't, all those links wouldn't be at the top of Google. For most people, this IS the correct response.

For anyone else, seems like they could just say "huh, programming languages?" And then type "java indonesia," "java coffee," or even "java country." REALLY DIFFICULT

In the first example, all you have to do is click on the non-autocorrected text or even just put that search in quotes. I don't even know why the hell you would look for "college vs. uncollege" anyway, any search for "uncollege" is going to turn up a bunch of pages that talk all about that movement and why it exists.

DDG is a good product, but this article is stupid.


The article does a good job of highlighting certain instances where using Google is a pain in the ass. I personally don't like the spell-correct feature. For me, it is only correct in its conclusion that I mistyped a word about 10% of the time. The other 90% is a nuisance because I have to go back and explicitly tell it that I meant to tell it what I told it.


it is only correct in its conclusion that I mistyped a word about 10% of the time

I'd love to see your statistics on that - you must use a lot of very unusual words. Google has published a paper about the algorithm they use.

There are two cases:

If Google thinks you might be wrong it will display "Did you mean..." with the possible correction.

If Google is pretty sure you are wrong, it will search for what it thinks is correct and show what you typed originally as an option.

If you are hitting the second case 90% of the time then you are a very, very special snowflake indeed!

I have to go back and explicitly tell it that I meant to tell it what I told it

You have to click on the link to say you really meant what you typed.


you must use a lot of very unusual words

No. I just type more accurately than the average Google user, so when I do type an unusual word it is more likely that I intended to type it.

Google could fix this (with logged in users) by using some type of Bayesian classification algorithm. They could track how often a user subsequently clicks "Showing results for _____" compared to "Search instead for ______". That would give them a self-rated user typing accuracy score they could use to adjust which results to display when they detect a potential misspelling.

For all I know they already do this. However, based on anecdotal evidence from my own experience (admittedly non-scientific), it does not appear that they do.


What makes you think the vast majority of people looking for "java" are looking for the programming language? How many people in the world are programmers and are you biased by your own particular situation?

The rest of the non-programming world is probably full of people wanting to know where to buy Java coffee, or wanting to know something about Indonesian islands.


I'm biased by knowing how Google works.

http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=java&cmpt=q

The top searches involving "java" are download java, free java, string java, java script, sun, java sun, java code, etc etc. Even in Indonesia, the top searches are about the programming language.

I don't see islands or Indonesia or coffee anywhere.


I don't understand the complaints about auto-correction. At least google shows you that it does, DDG just does it without giving you any indication.

Try "http://duckduckgo.com/?q=pyqt+glp and it will actually search for "pyqt gpl"


This is actually a bug that we are working through. Thank you for the specific example. Our intention is to always respect the query.


I switched and never looked back :) I did have to (re)map my search keyword 'g' to DDG in all my browsers though!


vimperator or luakit?


I've been saying since a while that, barring pure performance, DDG beats GoogleSearch any day. Switched months ago and never looked back. Unfortunately, many people think I'm just a paranoid neckbeard who dislikes Google when I dare to suggest DDG to them.


I remember during uni I got the results closer to what i wanted them to be from google. It didn't have the instant or any of those fancy things but it just gave me what i wanted. It still does now but i just gotta troll through a few more links (which is ok by me)

I feel that the main difference now is because of the immense size of googles data from some 7-8 years ago when i first started uni. However to be able to structure the size of the data they have and still provide relevancy is still an awesome job i think.

I just wonder though, if duckduckgo ever did become a contender (from a data size perspective) and started to approach the size of googles dataset whether they would have the same kinds of problem.


I've been using DDG almost exclusively for about a year now. Every once in a while I'll do a google search because I can't find what I'm looking for on DDG. This is usually when I'm looking for something local/in a non-english language, or when I'm doing a search for a long string (say a couple of lines from a song lyric).

One of google's biggest advantages -- for me at least -- is its localized URLs. google.co.uk, google.fr, google.de, ... they all boost results in the local language(s) and in the relevant country. There's a way to make DDG act the same way, of course, but it's much easier to just type google.de.


Somehow, I still don't get Google's logic behind it. Too often I get thrown back to google.nl from .com. When I am certain that I need an American/English/Int result, I want to use google.com immediately, not .nl, but it takes me two or three times correcting the url before I get where I want to go.

My solution for this is !g in duckduckgo: This brings me to the international Google.com, no matter what locales in the browser, what computer and what google-account is active. For local searches I just type in google.com and somehow 90% of the time end up with the .nl version. Works for me.


Hit http://www.google.com/ncr (no country redirection) once. I think it saves a cookie that will stop google.com from redirecting to a local google. Still works after years and years. See also http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer...


I loved Alta Vista. I had to provide the algorithm. Searches like: ((word AND word) OR (word OR word)) AND word. I could get it to do just what I wanted. Then Google came along and built the algorithm skill into their software. Now we complain that their algorithm isn't as brilliant as us, that we have to still think some.

If we want Google's software to do our thinking for us, it has to know all the relevant information that we do, necessitating a rather complete invasion of our privacy. If we want to withhold privacy, which means withholding data, we have to do some of our own thinking.


I just want something simple. DuckDuckGo just offers me more stuff/info I don't need. I don't need 4000 results I want the best correct result.

http://giffo.imgur.com/search_results

The link above are screenshots from a test page of a search engine project I gave up on last year due to burn out and that I just couldn't afford to get it to the online stage. Today I feel (as biased as I am) - it still does the job better than anything out there for me.

Because its simple.


Google is at its effective best when you are searching for something for which you do not know the result page. You search for expected result page (that too not common), you would be disappointed.


I recently had to rent a car for 3 months in Europe.

Google failed miserably. Even the forum posts it uncovered did not really help me find a bargain. There was too much "advertiser" influence in the search results.

Duck came to the rescue -- pointed at a great forum post and ultimately a cheaper rate than I found using Google and the phone. Cheaper by over 20%!


Google results for "cheap car rental europe 3 month" appear pretty reasonable, and (on casual examination) (slightly) better than results from DDG.

What was the "cheaper by 20%" solution?


Advertiser influence, or SEO influence?


its crazy that through marketing and all the push DuckDuckGo is getting that they only get searched 250,000 times a day.

With the hundreads of millions of searches that go on everyday you would think they could pull a little bit more.

I guess it truly is hard for people to change who they search with after all is said and done.


I don't think it's surprising. The only place I hear talk about DDG is on this website and a few blog posts.

I tried it myself based on all the glowing comments here, but I didn't find it to be particularly impressive (not bad, but not great either). I also found myself using '!g' most of the time because the default results were inferior to those returned by google; in the end I just cut out the middleman.

So I guess I just don't get all the hype about DDG on Hacker News (same goes for bitcoin and the never-ending stream of Python non-stories). Maybe there's a cult-ish aspect to it?


yeah same here. don't get me wrong i think its pretty neat and even have the duck app on my droid.

i guess its hard for me to switch since EVERYTHING i do is with g ( email, search, google+, etc.)

its more a convienience thing for me. but yeah i think it def is a bigger following on tech sites in relation to the average person.




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