I used DDG for a few weeks and I'm glad I did because I'd forgotten just how good Google is. A few things that DDG made clear was:
1) How useful personalized search actually is. I like that my search engine knows what city I live in so when Googling the name of a restaurant I don't have to include it (that I don't live in an American city might emphasize this).
2) How much speed and responsiveness matter in web design (not to mention autocomplete). Searching google is a much, much smoother experience.
DDG is really good at returning a good result for a really general search term like "C++". However, for me at least, that is an extreme edge case.
People go on quite a bit about the bang syntax in DDG, but is this not a functionality that's entirely contained within Chrome's (and many other browsers') search keywords function? When I type 'wik http codes', it takes me directly to the wikipedia page for http codes, and it's built in. Does bang syntax do anything else in addition?
Mainly that you don't need to set them up. I have set up loads of custom searches in Opera (which was the first to have this functionality, years ago), but there are always search engines you hadn't thought of.
Looking at the !bang help page for DDG, I discovered HN Search, for instance, which I did not know of before. Knowing this, I could of course set it up as my own custom search, but `!hn whatever` is easy enough that I haven't felt the need yet. Additionally, dunno if Chrome or FF do this, but in Opera if you select text and right-click it you can search it with a custom search engine. It's in a submenu of the context menu, and it's nice to not have it too cluttered :)
One additional trick with custom searches in the browser, is to key Google's "Feeling Lucky" to `go` (just append `&btnI=yes` to the search URL) and DDG's equivalent feature to `dd` (prepending `!+` to the query, that's a bang and an encoded space btw). Super useful if you know your first hit is going to be what you want anyway. For some reason, Google occasionally gives you the result pages anyway instead of redirecting you, btw. Didn't use to, but they changed something I guess.
In Firefox it is only a matter of right click on a search-form input + click on "Add keyword for this Search...". Couldn't be easier than this. Reading the DDG help on available shortcuts takes me longer. (In Chrome it is harder and they should really copy the Firefox user experience)
Using DDG for such functionalities makes no sense when this particular feature should be a feature of the browser.
Yes it can. Chrome does it automatically. It also has a better UI to boot.
The way Chrome works is, if you've ever searched a site, typing the first few letters of the site name (say, "go" for google), then hitting tab, will give you the site's search. These are added automatically, as long as you've ever searched a site before.
Advantages of Chrome's way:
* They're added automatically. Visiting your family's house? They probably already have the standard Amazon/Wikipedia searches, no setup necessary.
* Once in the mode of searching a website, the text you typed (e.g. "go" for Google) is NOT part of the textbox. This means that when you press "home", you go back to the start of they text you're trying to type. Want to copy paste the query before hitting enter? Much easier with Chrome.
Disadvantages of Chrome:
* Very rarely, a search isn't added. I don't bother adding them manually cause they're rare.
* The letters you have to type for a site are the first letters of the URL, not site name. This means Hacker News Search isn't "Ha<tab>", but rather "ne<tab>".
I don't even use Chrome's search shortcuts anymore. I just type whatever into the address bar, and Google almost always has what I want in the top 3 results. With keyboard shortcuts, I can launch the correct Google result with my keyboard, and I think it ends up being considerably faster than using a specific search engine keyword. It's also better at times, since some sites (like Wikipedia and some documentation sites) have terrible built-in search functionality.
For this very purpose (trusting Google in certain searches) my default search engine is Google's Feeling Lucky. If I want regular Google search I use 'g' keyword (I got used to it as it was default in Opera since I can remember). Also, when you mistype or your search is just bad (Did you mean?) the Feeling Lucky won't redirect you.
I guess you guys must be using much simpler searches than me, because Google rarely has what I'm searching for as the top link unless the search is super simple (like a search for "wikipedia" or something).
Google also screws up constantly when it tries to search for what it thinks you meant rather than for what you actually typed. I hate that feature.
And, of course, there's the spyware keystroke monitoring when you type in google's own search form.
All these reasons and more is why I long ago switched to DDG as my primary search engine.
I tried using Scroogle for a while, which at least tries to solve some of the privacy issues with Google. But the search results were just not as high quality as those of DDG.
And in Firefox, you can either set it up in the search bar's menu (by going to its preferences), or, if there is no search plugin for a site, go to that site, right click in the search box, and choose "Add Keyword Search". This'll create a bookmark with the same effect.
I've done this for every single site I search regularly, and have used up almost all 26 letters at this point. It's amazingly useful.
Yup, exactly. This is the exact question I had last time I saw a ddg thread here. (Also works with Firefox, Opera, etc)
(And again, the same thing I said last time, the added benefit of using browser shortcuts instead of ddg is that you can map them to intranet results that can't be indexed (by an external search engine))
Perhaps I'm not using the search keywords functionality correctly, but in my experience, it works in one of two ways.
- Start typing 'wiki...' and it will autocomplete to http://en.wikipedia.org In order to search that site, I have to left arrow, space, and then type my query. I found that while usually helpful, the autocomplete was occasionally unpredictable/frustrating enough to me that it negated the times it was helpful. Having fine tuned control w/o autocomplete is preferable to me.
- Using the omnibox to enter 'wiki http codes', which will pull up google results. I then have to tab or otherwise use keyboard shortcuts to select the first link, all of which are a worse user experience than the bang syntax to me.
once you start typing wiki, and the autocomplete comes up, you can press tab, and it will search using the wiki search. you're able to add custom search engines (as pointed out by other users), but chrome also picks up on many of these itself
Yeah, that's because you need to set up a search engine keyword in chrome's preferences. It's under 'Basics'->'Manage Search Engines'. After you do that, all it takes is typing a keyword you've defined into the omnibar, a space, and then your query. Works quite well.
I tried using DDG for a few weeks, and I had the same experience as you. I frequently found myself doing the same search on Google to see if there were more results, but the biggest issue for me was speed - both Google and Bing are blazingly fast, and I found myself being annoyed with the noticable delay in DDG.
There are typically more results on Google. But the extra results are usually of a far lower quality (often just spam sites, or other grabage).
I'm very satisfied with using DDG as my primary search engine. And when I feel my search results aren't finding what I need, I might go to Google and wade through the garbage to try to find the gem I'm looking for. But it's rarely worth it.
I spent a week on duckduckgo and I jumped ship because it was slower than Google. The queries took longer to return and it took me longer to cognitively process the page (because I'm so adjusted to Google.)
I'll use it when I want independent search results, but Google's catering to my interests usually works in my favor. When I search for Ruby on Google, all of my results are about the language. DuckDuckGo gives me results about the gem.
I believe to remember a recent discussion on HN where Gabriel seemed to be somewhat astounded by how important query speed is, even when we're talking about seconds here, and promised to look into that. I guess we have become spoilt and now cannot go back to waiting if only three seconds sometimes.
I've been DDG as my default search engine in Firefox for quite a long time now, and sometimes I still find myself re-running a query with "!g" - mostly when I expect to have to tweak my query once or twice and google is just faster (and still gives better results sometimes).
I stuck with it for nearly a month and it made me fall in love with google all over again, both for its speed and the quality of the results.
I think I would have been able to stick with DDG through the speed issues as painful as it was, but too often I found myself going to google anyway after failing to even find what I was looking for on DDG.
I switched from Google after the DDG redesign a few weeks back and the slowness is getting to the point that I am thinking of reverting. I considered Blecko, but the few queries I tried were far worse than DDG. I would consider Bing but the design is horrible.
One nice thing about the bang syntax is that if DDG fails I can easily rerun the search on Google. I don't end up switching back to Google out of frustration after a bad search.
I've been on ddg for a couple weeks now. I agree the speed is, by far, the biggest issue. I find it quite inconsistent..sometimes its ok, sometimes is slow (3+ seconds). Though, I've gotten used to it somewhat and it rarely bothers me. Think I'm gonna stick with it.
I gave up on DDG. The !bang syntax fails, for me, in a pretty annoying way. "!django modles" sends you off to django's search page (as it should), but now I'm trapped in an inferior search engine.
searching for just "django modles" returns pretty bad results, including what could kindly be described as a linkedin blog entry.
Now try the same search on google. (I made sure to try this logged out in case google personalized my results.)
search for "django modles". The first result matches DDG. The next three are Model field reference, instance references, and how to make queries. All highly relevant! I work with Django, and I think these are good results.
DDG in general has provided dissatisfying results and I suspect it is from not knowing what I don't know when searching, so I can't identify bad searches as they happen. But not knowing is why I search to begin with, so that is Why I don't use DuckDuckGo, but I don't care if you do.
Sorry if you took offence to what I said, I simply interpreted you listing all the issues searching specifically for django and how you work with django, then claim that they are generally a bad service.
Your complaint was very specific, yet you claimed it was a general issue.
All that being said, your complaints were entirely targeted towards meeting your needs. Hence, specific need. I can't even conceive of how your complaint wasn't about a specific need, or how this is so drastically different from a specific issue.
>Your complaint was very specific, yet you claimed it was a general issue.
My complaint was a specific example of the general issue I wrote about in the last paragraph of my post. Did you ignore the last paragraph from my original post on purpose?
Let me spell it out for you.
DDG in general has provided dissatisfying results
follow by I suspect it is from not knowing what I don't know when searching, so I can't identify bad searches as they happen.
So I clearly say in general I am dissatisfied and posit a reason why that might be the case. The point of the example is, for the curious, something they can go try or talk about, but thanks for the nitpicking!
Your only other comment on this story is an "It works for me!" So thanks for contributing nothing but fanboi garbage.
I switched to DDG, and a couple days later, I find myself running searches while at Google headquarters, feeling... a bit awkward.
Seriously though... I switched back a week later. Speed was one thing, but I'd rather take the latency hit and support DDG. The biggest issue I had was relevancy. I would find exactly what I needed using Google, while I'd have to scroll down quite a bit to find what I needed in DDG. Also... the format of search results in DDG is a bit too big for me (seems like too much centering and spacing)... I'd like a lot tighter layout.
I'd really like to use DDG. Until some of my qualms are fixed, I'll stick to Google. That said, I'll definitely be revisiting and retrying DDG every few months.
I've been using DDG for the past 2 weeks or so.
First, the bad:
1. It's really slow. Latency is usually on the order of seconds, as opposed to 100s of milliseconds on Google.
2. Results could be better. Roughly 80-90% of the time I find what I'm looking for, but the rest of the time Google does much better (note: it's possible that DDG is getting queries that Google misses).
Now, the good:
1. The one-box is really, really good. A lot of the time, I'm searching for domain-specific queries, especially when I'm coding. DDG brings up a one-box with something like a stack-overflow link and often has exactly the code snippet I'm looking for.
2. I don't have to give more information to google. Admittedly, they already get my email and stuff, but at least this way I'm spreading my information so no one has absolutely all of it.
Finally, the things that are in principle useful but I don't use much:
1. Bang commands. Seriously, I'm not going to type !cplusplus to search cplusplus.com, I'll just click the first link. I also can't remember all of them. I do use !g, !image, and !video, but mainly because they take me to a better search engine.
2. The search suggestions in the top right. It's a good idea, but I don't have the cognitive capacity to keep track of those in addition to the search results.
As explained, the author is not really using a search engine as most do. He/she really is just using DDG as a bookmark for searching a specific site. This works, but how would you then discover that a better information source is available?
When would you stop asking Jeeves or HotBot and switch to Stack Exchange?
I want to use DDG, and it has been my default search engine for a while now, but most days, I need to fall back to Google for at least one search because the DDG results simply aren't good enough. When I fall back to Google, I go via Scroogle though: https://ssl.scroogle.org/. DDG has a bang command for Scroogle, it is "!s"
I think it's funny that people argue Google's more relevant. One of the reasons I got fed up with Google was the constant link spam in it from the content mills like Demand Media. Which is why I gave DDG a go. Maybe things have changed at Google, but they lost me as a heavy search user. Habits have completely changed.
I've been using DDG for quite some time (months) as my main search engine and it's been great. I'd say I only need to hit Google once every 50+ searches.
The inline results from Stack Overflow, Youtube and Wikipedia are excellent. That and the keyboard shortcuts are more natural to me (specifically j/k) than Google's (tabs and arrows).
The only interest I have in DDG is that of a satisfied user.
I bet that's not the case for a lot of the other people commenting here on Google. More than a few of them are probably Google employees and/or have some other financial interest in Google and aren't disclosing it.
"I don't work at Google in case you're wondering."
Working at Google is not the only way you could have a financial interest in them.
It's still pretty bad for mailing list archives. Archiveorange, ugh. Markmail, nabble (the one that is actually decent), the fact that I can name these sites from memory proves how truly badly deeply Google has let these duplicate content sites infect results.
I agree, for about 95% of my searches the results are vastly improved, but I still run into the occasional search that's just a spam minefield. Recently my boss asked me to look into purchasing windows licenses, and between the google spam and the awful microsoft.com experience (everything requires silverlight, which I can't install, and half the links opening .docx instead of just a webpage) it was far too difficult. /rant
I have them set to my search engine and I would say about 90% of my searches hit productive results. For the other 10%, I consult with Google via their handy link or just via Google directly.
You can't compete with Google for breadth of web search, but I find most of my searches don't utilize that for accurate results, eg finding a company page. When I look for a specific error message or help with a code snippet, GOOG is still king.
I like everything about DuckDuckGo except for the search results. I so often wind up re-googling what I searched it isn't worth the effort. And this is with a unpersonalized Google version. I am not logged into any Google account, I run Ghostery and I clean cookies at every browser shutdown.
Many times a search time yields zero hits in DDG and I instantly find what I search for with Google. Sad but true. And yes, i use "" around all words and phrases in Google.
If you use google chrome you can do a faster search by using the omnibox. For example if you want to find a youtube video type youtube.com into the omnibox and then hit 'Tab' then enter the search terms of the video you are looking for and it will automatically point you to the results page of youtube. This works for almost any site that google can find a search box for (wikipedia, ebay, amazon, hacker news, airbnb, etc.) You can also customize this in the settings of chrome if it doesn't find a site you are looking for.
I tried really hard to get used to DDG for an entire week. I changed my bookmarks to DDG, learned hashbang syntax etc.. But at the end of the week I just came to know how much more google does than DDG. I kept missing:
Auto complete (suggestions) - I tend to type a lot of things wrong, integrated image search and unfortunately some times quality of the results too..
I'm not saying every one has to stick with google.. just saying DDG isn't a viable alternative for most people used to google search (but its a lot better than bing)...
I just switched my search box over to DDG after Google changed something and now the results are clicktrackers instead of actual URLs. They'd done this before but I'd been able to opt out of it by changing my User-agent string.
I don't know who actually goes to google.com and types the query in. I simply CTRL+L to Firefox bar and write "wiki http codes". the same number of clicks as going to DDG and typing the 'bang' query. I'd probably save one click when having DDG as main Firefox search and CTRL+K and 'bang'
I'm sorry, what? Chrome does not send your info back to Google, unless you have the anonymized usage statistics (not sure what it tracks) option turned on, or are using Google as your search provider with Suggestions enabled as-you-type.
I switched to using DDG exclusively when I got fed up with the poor privacy practices Google was continually enacting. I haven't missed google at all since I switched. DDG provides great results, has lots of cool goodies and best of all doesn't track you at all.
If Google implemented !wiki → wikipedia.org they'd be facing a possible antitrust lawsuit (even though they can't be a monopoly as you don't have to use Google, US officials seem to think they are). Wikipedia isn't the only wiki.
I switched to DDG about 3 Month ago and use Google only for image search and when I am not happy with DDGs result. More often than not Googles result are not better so I have to change my search terms :-)
one really important aspect of DDG is that I use it to route my google searches. To search for german google I have to go to google.de (type the whole url). With the bang syntax I can just type !gde and it takes me there. Same for Amazon, !a takes you to .com !ade takes you to Amazon.de.
I have used DDG for a while now and by now I've got a feeling of what DDG will find and where I should go to Google so I rarely do duplicate queries.
the bang syntax is the wrong way to market this product. i was a fan of ddg until i read about how this bang syntax is the almighty saviour to search engines. the reason why i like google is because i can just search anything i want in plain english w/o any query-language/search-filters. all i'd want from DDG is the ability to get rid of all the fake landing page sites from my searches and i'll be sold from there.
The only reason for me to use the DuckDuckGo is the privacy. I am a little fed up of feeding my search patterns to google. And until they will do the same thing, I will use them as 95% of the searches are ok even with Bing, who's behind them.
I do use DDG and I like it. Oddly, and unlike most of the comments thus far, it does seem to actually find results which I'm actually more interested in than either Google or Bing (although DDG uses both). I do use them too.