In response to a lot of the comments here, please know that two major things we're working on are better programming queries (https://duckduckgo.com/tech.html -- one of my new favorites https://duckduckgo.com/?q=alternative+to+picasa) and speed.
For speed, just this week we upgraded our whole caching system, which should significantly speed up a lot of queries. I'd be interested to know if anyone has noticed any difference over the past day or so. This change should equalize a lot of the location differences, which is the main issue. In some parts of the world we were way slower.
Also, for anyone wanting to get involved we've been open sourcing more and more (https://github.com/duckduckgo). We're working on better entry points, but one could start here now: https://github.com/duckduckgo/duckduckgo/wiki. For programming documentation in particular, this is the repo: https://github.com/duckduckgo/zeroclickinfo-fathead. That will answer queries like https://duckduckgo.com/?q=perl+split
On the back-end we could also use some sysadmin help :). Here's our hiring info: http://help.duckduckgo.com/customer/portal/articles/216387
Of course, we're also always looking for feedback, the more detailed/specific the better: https://duckduckgo.com/feedback.html
I tend to cover any given topic in a brace of interlinked posts across years, and all topics are complex. e.g.:
DDG misses the AGE connection in the results, which is important in this topic.
Many searches are upon specific factors or markers or genes, and for these DDG falls down badly e.g.:
The results there look pretty similar, anyway: http://www.bing.com/search?q=curvio
The ways you can interact with it currently are limited, but I think that'll improve.
I'll also note that what you serve in day ... is about what Google serves in a minute.
Thanks for this
I really really like the "alternative to" feature. What could I do to help you get better at alternatives which are not as popular? (eg, "alternative to cheetahmail" or "alternative to grubhub" or "alternative to xkcd"?)
Also, what kind of feedback would you need to help improve the tech-related searches? Like "ebcdic table" or "1010 in hex"?
You can contribute to tech-related searches by contributing to the open source zero-click info (see this tutorial https://github.com/duckduckgo/duckduckgo/wiki/Open-Source-Pl...).
You can also send in ideas here: https://duckduckgo.uservoice.com/forums/5168-plugins.
Also, if you think the bangs are unintuitive, what's your opinion on keyboard shortcuts? It's basically the same thing.
As I understood a while ago that Google tracks my search habits, I avoid using it. I went back to WebCrawler, Cuil, Altvista, Bing... None of these compare to DDG in terms of quality.
Great job. It is time to get an alternative to Google. Don't be evil is just a silly marketing gag.
But, as I written, I did not check and don't want to spread rumors.
Ideas for more goodies are on https://duckduckgo.uservoice.com/
I also think DuckDuckGo hands out affiliate links to places like Amazon.
Sorry, I know you need to make a living. :-) Just don't try to do it by leveraging my identity or trying my patience, please?
Google probably doesn't see the point. I'm sure there's something in the T&C's that would allow Amazon to close an affiliate account for any reason they want to. If they still get the same amount of traffic from Google either way, they'd close it.
And I didn't know that DDG is written in Perl, good looking Perl too.
Even I can (almost) write good looking code with Moo(se). :-)
Thanks for your hard work. I'll see if I can contribute to the project in any way I can.
Thought it was an awesome name and had to check it out, and since I was already considering switching from google it was good timing.
keep up the good work =)
Any chance of integrated media galleries? I think Bing & Google are really effin this up.
Would be awesome to Not leave DDG and preview the image (jpg/png/gif) results in a gallery.
After seeing them pop up here once or twice quite recently I thought I'd give it a go, I opened up preferences in Chrome and switched my default search over to DDG. It felt good, made a nice change but was certainly a bit "odd". I found what I wanted, most of the time albeit it with a slight drop in quality vs Google.
But my biggest gripe with them was confidence. I'd just started out at a new job as a programmer and as you can imagine, I was searching for a good few things, usually things I was struggling with and I just didn't feel sure that I was getting the best results I possibly could be. You might think thats totally crazy, but when your battling an issue as many of you know, you want more than anything to work out whats going on. I didn't have any margin for error, I wanted the best results right there that second.
Specifics aside, knowing that Google is far superior in their results makes it real difficult to use another search engine really, extra features (!so etc) or no extra features. I personally search because I need to "find" something and I usually don't know where that something is, opening up Stack Overflow isn't that much of a chore for me. Its the other bit I need help with.
Anyway, I commend their mission and hope they succeed in taking a fair slice of the market. I think he's a great entrepreneur and I wish him the best of luck. I can't imagine what it must be like to be head on with... Google.
I tried bing a couple of times, but the results are even worse.
Maybe Google verbatim mode will fix the problem? I've set up a quick search recently, but have yet to start using it.
Third result is: http://docs.python.org/library/stdtypes.html
6th result is: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4426663/how-do-i-remove-t...
Neither one of those contains "popleft".
And this has been an annoyance since years.
These days, I've been searching for things about Flask with Heroku. So I tend to search for something like "python flask heroku sqlite", and often times, I get results that are not specific to Flask. (NB: I don't know if this example works but you get the idea)
So my question is - what is google doing wrong?
Has their search algorithm become worse?
Has the web become more complex?
Have people just become lazy and feel like they should never have to dig beyond the first 10 results to find what they're looking for?
That said, I do understand the confidence issue every now and then. For me it seems to arise mostly when DDG only shows half a page or less of results. Those are usually good. But I'm used to all the bullshit Google puts above and below that and sometimes have the feeling of missing out.
A quick check every now and then by now convinced me that I'm just conditioned to expect quantity. Which needs to be corrected.
I've also been demo'ing DDG the last week. As an ahem experienced developer, I've found that most of the time, the results I get from DDG are pretty close to what I'd get with Google, minus Google's interface.
I've built up enough confidence to feel that DDG is going to give me what I need.
I do wish it were a little faster though. Speed is a feature, and I'm sure it's hard to compete with google.
I use it at home - it's quicker to find out when the new South Park episode is out. But it's less use at work for finding the solution to that weird problem
When I'm searching for "discovery" purposes, such as when trying to diagnose an error message, I add a !g. When I want an image, !gi. If I want to look up some library, I use !clojure, !python, !php, etc. The only time I let it fall to DDG is when I'm looking for some specific thing that I don't know the URL for, like "American Airlines", or something that I know has a lot of results of about equivalent quality, like "Pulled Pork Recipe."
I find I'm effectively using DDG as a search routing service. I really enjoy that, and I miss it when I use a computer that's not set up with chrome and ddg as the search default, but I feel like they're missing out on some ad revenue here.
That is the main problem I see with Duck Duck Go. The quality of its search results depends on Bing. Duck Duck Go can do things to offer something better than Bing, but not that much better that matches Google’s quality.
For queries which I'd like to double check with Google, I resubmit it to duckduckgo with '!g' prefix. It redirects to Google.
It's a smart move by DDG to help people resist the temptation to make Goog their default search engine.
I removed Goog from my list of Firefox search engines a few weeks ago.
Just so you know, you can use keyword searches to get this same functionality directly in your browser for any search engine of your choice.
Except that Google is far from delivering superior results. In fact, many of their results are full of spam links and garbage.
One of the main reasons I use DDG over Google is that DDG often delivers better results.
Another major reason is DDG's promises of no-tracking and privacy (which I hope can be verified some day). That alone sets them far above and beyond Google, which is spyware incarnate.
Google is now basically in the exact same position that AltaVista was in when Google came along and ate their lunch. Only Google is much more dominant and wealthier than AltaVista ever was (not to mention their legendary ability to attract and keep talent), so they'll no doubt hang on much longer. But DDG and other search engines are still primed to take a bite at those parts of the business where Google has drop the ball -- like privacy, literal search, and search quality.
Entire list here: http://duckduckgo.com/bang.html
As for the Google part, right now it's probably just an alarmist prediction, but it's going to be fun to watch un/fold. Especially if DuckDuckGo and other engines continue to get better while practicing their principles instead of a crude mixture of addictive search quality, addictedness to bucks and PR along the lines of "Don't be evil".
Google is definitely pulling users from Yahoo. By mimicking Alta Vista, Yahoo has lost its mojo. Stepped right into the "portal" honeypot. No news. The more interesting thing is the fantastic feeling more and more people have: that Alta Vista and Yahoo will take eachother down the spiral.
As for the Yahoo part, right now it's probably just an alarmist prediction, but it's going to be fun to watch un/fold. Especially if Google and other engines continue to get better while practicing their principles instead of a crude mixture of addictive search quality, addictedness to bucks and PR along the lines of "Yahhooooo!".
"Right now the social networking sites occupy a similar position to CompuServe, Prodigy, or AOL in the mid 90's. At that time each company was trying to figure out how to become a mass-market gateway to the Internet."
Google was vertically integrated from the start: They sent out their own bots to scan the internet, they had their own reverse index, and created their own algorithm.
I'm not sure about DDGs backend---but if people use the g! tag, its almost as if DDG is simple chrome for Google.
Maybe that'll be the future: Google will become the maker of engines, and let everyone else make the car.
At the moment, DDG reminds me of Firefox (or was it WaterSquirrel then?) back-in-the-day. Its something that "feels" better than what is the standard - and it's something that I go on and on about to other nerds, when I'm drunk ;)
It kind of irks me that DDG is still asking if I meant [similar sounding children's book to my business with 3 different letters] when !g stopped doing that months ago. It also has my psycho competitor's defamatory website ranking #8 when this page should have crappy SEO with google.
If I want Google results, it's a heck of a lot faster, easier, and natural to just Google it instead of adding some kind of search operator BS to my query. I used DDG for a while (a long time ago, admittedly) and basically had to !g every query I ran in order to get acceptable results. In the end, I gave up because it was just adding typing and thinking time to search.
I suppose one could argue that the interface lacks some of the annoyances of Google, but I feel like quality and speed are the most desirable traits of a search engine (in that order). If we're just using somebody else's results anyway then why should we accept a slowdown?
Also I frequently find nowadays that Goog and DDG provide very very very similar results for most queries for which I dissatisfied enough with DDG to try Goog.
I don't mind since it saves me from having to go into "privacy defensive" mode to interact with the big G.
Phoenix -> FireBird -> FireFox :)
Are you sure? http://packages.debian.org/search?suite=default§ion=...
That's why I search with DuckDuckGo by default (previously Scroogle).
It's now my default browser, and has been as of about 2 weeks ago. Gabriel has been very keen on picking up where other search site are slacking.
Time Bandits is #8
I realize it is in fashion to make bold claims that somehow Google destroyed its search in a monomaniacal pursuit of social, but a hyperbolic if not patently untrue story. Yes, the user interface has changed and gotten fancier and more cluttered with the introduction of toolbar and sidebar (that's been happening over years, prior to G+), but the actual organic results have not changed much at all except to improve on average, even if you take into account Search Plus Your World (which you can disable)
Shocking, but most people at Google do not work on G+, it is not the sole focus of the company, and the narrative that Google is simply dropping everything else to mindlessly chase Facebook is blogosphere fiction. There are over 30,000 employees and I would be surprised if even 2% of them worked on G+. Teams at Google are typically small and at any given time, people are working on a large number of projects. It's simply not Google's culture to mindlessly focus on a single unproven product to the detriment of others. If anything, Google is frequently criticized for doing too many new things at once, and that's what you get when you have a company run with engineering culture.
Google makes most of their money from Search and Ads. You can bet that they watch data from search quality and marketshare like a hawk, and if social was causing Google search to suck more and lose customers, you can bet they'd turn it off in a heartbeat. It's been said by some analysts that every 1% loss in search marketshare is $1 billion in revenue. Facebook isn't making that much money, and so from a cost-benefit analysis, sacrificing billions in search share revenue to try and gain social-search revenue doesn't sound rational.
It would thus be reasonable to assume, that any changes Google actually makes to core search are a) conservative b) subjected to a battery of scientific tests and c) as low risk as they can make them to their core business.
But the way you read things in the Blogosphere, Search has been radically altered. The evidence just isn't there.
That's at least the second time in recent weeks that I've heard DDG mentioned on national or state public radio.
It might sound... "incidental", but those kinds of exposures really get "the masses" to go and have a look.
EDIT: Here's a reference to the "divorce" segment:
#1 minecraft.net (official site)
#3 joystiq.com/game/minecraft (news blog)
#4 minecraftportal.com (minecraft blog)
#5 minecraft.en.softonic.com (a site distributing a copy of the phased out minecraft trial version)
#6 minecraftwiki.net (official Minecraft wiki)
#7 kotaku.com/minecraft/ (blog)
The #1 result makes sense and is great, but why are the rest of the top results all blogs (besides the wiki)? It seems to heavily favour blogs. The official Minecraft forum isn't even in the top 20...
#1 minecraft.net (can't tell from the search results if it's even the games real website, since there are ~.com, ~.net and ~.org sites all run by others)
#2 minecraftforfree.com (a site distributing the full version for free?!)
#4 wikipedia's article
#5 pocket edition on the android app store, not even the actual website and no links to the iOS version?
#6-10 youtube videos of people playing or reviewing minecraft
#11 3 news links about minecraft
#12-13 both link to googlemapsmania articles on minecraft maps.
Oh and a nice link at the bottom about DMCA requested removal of a link (sent by Mojang at least). I imagine due to copyright/IP violations like link #2.
YMMV though due to Google's search personalisation...
The minecraft forum isn't listed until the second link on page 2. I'm not sure if you missed it but the forum is link #10 on the DDG search...
Here is a screenshot of the results I see: http://i.imgur.com/qIc1J.png
I've visited google from a VM that has never used google before and I see:
#4 Minecraft fan made trailer (video with ~8m views)
#5 minecraft.org (fansite)
#7 Minecraft android app (official version of the game for android)
#8 Minecraft on Facebook
#9 IGN Minecraft review
#10 Minecraft.com (a site capitalising on the domain but offering no Minecraft content)
Google is certainly not perfect but they are a mile better than DuckDuckGo, which does not even include the official Minecraft forum which is linked from the wiki, from the official Minecraft site, from almost every Minecraft Youtube video...
Wait I just did more "investigation", DuckDuckGo cares about capitalisation. What the hell? "Minecraft" and "minecraft" have different results and even the pages differ. Sometimes I can find minecraftforum.net listed for "Minecraft" (but not minecraft) and sometimes it just doesn't show at all. That's on typing in my search and refreshing; seconds apart and the results change.
So I use duckduckgo for coding or factual matters (or wolframalpha occasionally), and Google for searching things like Minecraft or a forum or so.
I try to use DDG as much as possible though for the privacy issue. Since I started to use it (because it was the default search engine in Linux Mint and I wanted to give it a go), my average Google searches per day dropped from hundreds to a couple dozen. I imagine DuckDuckGo ones went a lot up, but they don't track that!
And its doesnt track all my stuff, and this stupid google+ (failure) is not integrated. I just want to search stuff. Google did it right in the past, now duck duck go is my uberlord.
"A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.
As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.
The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,"I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. "But", said the man, "You can't possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can't possibly make a difference."
The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,
"I made a huge difference to that one!""
To me, this means it is out there. I switched too, at least for a while, and now I use both google and DDG, constantly having the impression that DDG's results are getting better and better.
Let's see if PG turns out to be right on this one.
Compared to Google's 38K visits for last week, they have a long way to go to make a dent. We perform better in DDG results, as well.
I'm in China and most links I click on google don't load. Perhaps because China is messing with DNS queries to google.com and trying to limit the amount of data they collect on their citizens.
 The google link for duckduckgo search result first hits this link, and this is where the pageload errors occur: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s...
But that's the negative parts, and otherwise the positive outweighs those by far. I love the bang-syntax and I found myself using their information-box directly on the search page very often, mostly for converting currency.
I think better results will come with time and increasing usage, and I wish them good luck in the future.
You're right that there are a lot more API calls still (~x6). But the gap is closing quickly.
Would love to hear ideas on (iii).
I've also really become accustomed to "instant" search. And
I'll be the first to admit I thought was a total gimmick when it was announced.
Edit: After reading what I wrote, I realized it came off as if I didn't like DDG or didn't use it. Neither of those are true. I really like DDG and use it fairly often.
1) It's not as accurate as Google. Sometimes DDG might return a better result (such as https://duckduckgo.com/?q=alternative+to+picasa), but 9/10 times Google is much more accurate.
2) DDG is playing catchup to a search engine that has hundreds of employees and a 10+ year head start. The types of queries DDG is trying to solve now were likely solved years ago and have been finely tuned numerous times.
3) I think this good video http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/03/video-search-qualit... about sums up the type of problems they are solving now and how advanced their platform is. Google is tweaking an edge-case scenario that is only .1% of their traffic. That is more traffic than all of DDG.
4) If DDG is all about respecting privacy and not tracking users, then use Google or Bing in incognito mode. Problem solved.
I'm not trying to be negative, but all signs point to a losing battle.
Numbers two and three don't make any sense to me as reasons not to use DDG. Using those criteria nobody would have switched to Google because they were just some college guys, while AltaVista and Yahoo have a big head start and huge departments working on search...
Number four is simply too inconvenient. I could go through the trouble of switching to incognito mode every time I needed to search, or I could just use DDG.
I switched to Google because it was more accurate, and for no reason other than that. That's my #1 priority.
Fast forward to today and DDG is not trying to solve an accuracy or crawling problem. I'm not really sure what problem they are trying to solve other than to be an alternative search. There is nothing wrong with that, but I just don't think it fits me.
Google has given up on providing accurate search results to the anonymous user. They now believe that customization is the way forward (Global Warming results depending on your political leaning, etc.).
The reality is, it's not as tuned a search engine as Google is. However, I find it to be a more serendipitous search engine. It's better in breadth than G, IMO. That is to say, the top hit on Google is more precise if I want a specific thing, but the breadth of results on DDG is much more useful than Google in general.
As a matter of fact, it reminds me of the '90s, where a search could teach you more than just the one thing you were looking for.
I like it... most of the time. :-)
However, I switched my Chrome search to DDG last year and the one thing that I realised I couldn't live without was maps.
I didn't realise how often I must search for an address and to have location appear in search makes life so much easier.
If you guys integrated with Openstreetmap, I'd switch back in an instant!
OSM integration would be nice, but I've found that DDG still has slightly inferior results to Google.
I do like the approach to privacy and occasionaly use it :)
The top there results were American Ebay search results (I live in Canada), a drum shop in Memphis (15 hour drive), and various other online stores (discountdrumequipment.info).
The first page of results had links to the official Sabian product pages, Youtube videos of people playing it, and the most impressive thing was a 3 day old Kijiji ad (again, I live in Canada) with the exact cymbal I wanted for a good price in a city just 45 minutes from me.
I responded to the ad, drove the 45 minutes, and purchased it.
DuckDuckGo's stance on user privacy is admirable, but Google still gets my vote... it's accuracy still impresses me.
So far, I have been happy. I normally find what I am looking for within the first few results, and I find myself using !g less frequently.
ddg certainly feels faster and less irritating than google. I have been very satisfied.
I'm creating an art site and have a search feature. I made sure to include duckduckgo along with google, and bing as search providers. It only makes sense, right?
This isn't just about the interface language and search results, but also about !bangs. To be useable !ebay has to use the the already available region setting.
Other than that I have been an advocate from the early days, because DDG is what the world needs.
Speed was a pretty big factor, but more than that, the search results just didn't compare. Still, I'm rooting for them, and hope that they're able to close the gap, both in speed and results. I love their style, and all of the site-specific search shortcuts.
If there was ever a true defection from one of the big guys' services to DDG (i.e., if DDG was actually blowing up), it seems to me they'd just replicate many of DDG's features for their userbase and DDG would wither, or even just pull DDG's access to their search engines.
March 1st caused me to go from DDG dabbler to browser default.
Still use !g, but I find that I recommend DDG more often than I use !g.
I dabbled with DDG a few times, but only when I changed to Mint did I start using it frequently. I've since wondered how much of a proportion of the traffic of DDG is because it's now the default search engine for Firefox in Mint.
Brainwashed by GOOG :)
Entire list here: http://duckduckgo.com/bang.html
(just to make people aware of alternatives, before returning to google/bing/etc)
Has anyone else had any luck?
Am I reading this right? DDG does ~6 times as much traffic in API requests compared to search requests?
That makes a pretty significant difference to the monetisation strategy!
Keep up the good work!
Look at the search results for "Google Verbatim Mode" on DDG vs Google.
On Google, all results are actually about the "Verbatim" search mode on Google. We even get results like "How to set Verbatim mode as default on Google Chrome" with actual instructions.
On DDG, we instead get a really crappy blog article as the first result, and some unrelated junk about Google Earth DirectX and Windows 8. There's one result that asks the question most people searching for that query would want answered, "I would like to be able to use verbatim mode as standard". However... it's a link to a newsgroup posting with no answers, unlike the Google results which actually provided links to blog postings with the answer.
So, I'm going to use Verbatim mode on Google for now, now that I know how to activate it by default... Let me know if you guys work these issues out, I'd love to use DDG, but it's just not returning valuable results reliably yet.
Besides, I like not getting tracked all the time and I can switch off ads without needing any extensions. That in my view is a very civilised set of options and the rest of the Internet should follow by example.