One motivation for switching: they have lots of "gadgets" like Google, and will take suggestions and/or apparently let you develop new ones. Here is a cool example: https://duckduckgo.com/goodies#Programming/crontab_0_0______...
Another useful feature: https://duckduckgo.com/bang.html
I just searched Google (heh) and apparently DDG makes their money from affiliate links at the moment. I've been considering switching to DDG so I'll have to make an effort to do my Amazon searches through them; it's a really easy way to support them.
EDIT: useful method of switching: http://help.duckduckgo.com/customer/portal/articles/255650
Overall the use of enclaves is not advised for these two main reasons:
- They will not be supported in future versions of Tor (> 0.2.3.x)
- They do not fit any particular threat model
I'm curious: was the privacy focus by the DDG guys always there, or was it pushed after they found it was a nice advertising point?
Either way, I think this is a good enough reason for me to finally make the switch.
So privacy has always been their focus. It is a nice advertising point, but pushed from the beginning.
You can tell its strategy motivates it toward evil (its term, not mine), because its slogan is "Don't be evil."
It chose that slogan because it risks being evil, in its own terms. It doesn't need a slogan like "Don't be unprofitable" or "Don't break the law" because its strategy doesn't point it in those directions. It points to being evil, in its terms.
Why else would a company feel so compelled to stop itself from doing evil than to make its most prominent slogan to stop itself? If its strategy didn't point it in that direction, why else would it try to stop itself from stopping being "evil"? All the brilliance of its engineers, managers, leaders, deals, and so on exists to support the company's strategy, which it realizes motivates them so much toward "evil" it has to stop itself as its highest or at least most public directive.
"Don't be evil" exists to make the place palatable to humans who understand the company's direction. Who made the slogan? The people who know the company's direction best. They know it better than you and they realize its direction.
Google has a technically superior product to its competitors. When you realize its most knowledgeable and powerful employees know its strategy points it to "be evil", you realize why people use alternatives whose strategies don't point them to "evil," especially when current events highlight the consequences of its strategic choice of knowing so much about you, its users.
According to http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-07-16-n55.html, the 'don't be evil' slogan came from Paul Buchheit, who was brand-new to the company when he proposed it at a corporate-values brainstorming meeting. This meeting was before Google became an advertising company, and Paul intended the slogan to be funny, and a jab at other companies.
I think Paul also wanted to pick an idea that would prevent Google from becoming a typical big company. But I don't recall there ever being any sort of "Google's strategy leans it toward evil; we need to avoid that" undertone in Paul's suggestion. In my mind, it was more like "avoid how almost all larger companies naturally end up being."
The company storytelling that goes along with the slogan doesn't matter, and nor does it matter that it's intended mainly as a jab at competitors in the same industry.
As Buchheit himself said: "It’s also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent." (emphasis mine)
Realizing that your competitors, i.e. firms you acknowledge as being in the same industry, are "kind of exploiting the users" seems to me not far from realizing that your very industry has a tendency towards that.
I think "Don't be evil" is an honest expression of the early confidence and idealism of the founders and core team of Google. However, in the last few years, as with America at large, something seems to have changed at Google. Personally, I tend to steer more and more away from it.
If they truly wanted to avoid evil and, perhaps more important, the potential for future evil, they would anonymize all observations to make, say, search per se better (as opposed to expressly attributing data so as to "personalize" it). That, incidentally, would also make Google immune to NSA bullying. Much like Apple, they could just say: We don't even store this kind of data, sorry guys, look somewhere else. At the rate with which they collect data points and with which hardware, algos, and science advance, it will be possible in a few years to do fine-grained psychological profiling on a massive scale, with all the possibilities of evil I can imagine. It's a fine line between prediction and control in social systems. And we all know that what is technically possible eventually will be tried by someone. It's not hard to think of scenarios.
Btw, Google does personalize searches in a useful way. You may not have noticed it, especially if you're from the US. DuckDuckGo is unusable for me whenever I search for local stuff. Also, when I search for "Ruby", the first result is about Ruby, the programming language. Guess what my wife sees when she's doing the same search.
You can place "personalize" in quotes all you want, but they are doing it because users want it, period.
Also, I see people here being so enthused about DuckDuckGo, ignoring that the project itself uses Bing's APIs as its primary engine. Of course it does, who would be insane to recreate Google's infrastructure and algorithms when you could get it by piggybacking on Google's main competitor and without which DuckDuckGo wouldn't have been possible.
And here's what a lot of people miss - you don't even need a unique cookie to track users down. All you need are IPs and some smart algorithms for disambiguations. You can't reliably identify all users, but you can identify many of them only by keeping the history of searches per IP. And if you throw in a user agent (which I can assure you, it does get sent to Bing), the reliability increases even further. Throw in IPv6 and we won't be needing cookies at all.
If anything, fear of technology doesn't do any good, because it will happen, regardless if you want it or not. Privacy concerns need to be solved by laws. If governments disapprove, then we need new governments.
2. Bing is one of very very many sources, which are all remixed and combined, so the end result is completely different from Bing or any other upstream source (and most often, far better).
3. No, no, no. Nothing at all is sent to bing other than a plain request for an ad coming from DuckDuckGo servers with the query (for a page-relevant ad).
So, this sentence: "user agent (which I can assure you, it does get sent to Bing)" <-- Utterly untrue.
Now, when you click on an ad, naturally your information is sent to both bing and whatever site the ad was for. That's to be expected, you are leaving DuckDuckGo at that point. This is also true when you click standard result links, of course.
Now that that's out of the way, my personal opinion of result tailoring/bubbling is: it's good sometimes.
I love being in my cozy little bubble when searching for coding things, and even local businesses and such. I do NOT love bubbling when I am doing academic research. Why would I want to see content I already know and like? That invalidates the point of research, and even gives me a false idea about whatever I am researching.
Bubbling and tracking, while good in some cases, should be optional in my opinion.
"our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users"
So, they are fully aware that they're entering an industry where exploiting the users is a common temptation. Like I said, this provides motivation for a slogan referring to that.
"Amit started writing it down all over the building, on whiteboards everywhere."
Imagine literally going around plastering "Don't be evil" all over your colleagues' working spaces: I'm not sure that would be accepted as inoffensive in most work places... IMHO that would normally be a very strong action showing you think your colleagues ought to be reminded.
Paul Buchheit, the creator and original developer of GMail.
He participated in a meeting to establish the company's values and because he found things like “strive for excellence" to be bullshit, he wanted something unusual that would actually mean something. He chose "Don't be evil", because it was funny, it was a jab at Google's competitors and it was something that would be difficult to pull out.
Reference, straight from the horse's mouth: http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-07-16-n55.html
> It chose that slogan because it risks being evil, in its own terms
No, it was mostly a half-serious joke.
As it is, they also have a very strong incentive to collect data to make their advertising better, and to analyze the data they collect for this end.
In fact, this chain of evidence is of such brilliance and importance for mankind, you should be appointed US Attorney General.
We should once and for all end this evil and put all Google employees in prison.
I think that even if Google themselves never do anything "evil", by any definition, there still remains this problem of "having very important user data" that you don't want to fall "in the wrong hands". The more data it has about the users, the more other, external, "wrong hands", will want it for reasons other than just to sell you advertising.
Unfortunately, those "wrong hands" will most likely be the government, and not just some hackers or other companies, and Google is relatively powerless against them, if they really want all the users' data.
This is why I think that if Google really cared about us, they'd do their best to at least give the users the option to have their data protected even if it falls into those "wrong hands". We need Google to implement some real encryption and decentralization in its services.
If Google really is powerless against the government, then they should leave it up to us to deal with the government, when that moment arrives, but help make it easy for everyone to protect that data.
This is a commonly discussed psychological phenomenon; if you focus on avoiding the negative, you accentuate that. You're not saying "Be Good", it's don't be evil, and so you not only name the elephant in the room, you chart the path around her periphery, and may actually crash into the elephant of evil.
In other words, as taken from a parenting site:
State Requests Positively
>Positive requests are more effective than negative commands. For >example, your child is more likely to respond to, "Please use your >spoon." than "Don't eat with your fingers."
>"Google's strategy is to profit from advertising. It fundamentally benefits from knowing as much about its users as possible. Every tactic it has will always support that strategy or it will risk failure."
Yes, Google's strategy is to profit from advertising. But this is a gross oversimplification of Google's business model. It also constantly innovates and improves its own technology and domain through research and development. It would be more apt to say, "Google has many strategies, of which advertising is one." Advertising profit is just one relevant strategic position. This is important because if you try to pigeonhole Google like this it makes it easier to build a strawman argument.
>"You can tell its strategy motivates it toward evil because its slogan is "Don't be evil." It chose that slogan because it risks being evil, in its own terms. It doesn't need a slogan like "Don't be unprofitable" or "Don't break the law" because its strategy doesn't point it in those directions. It points to being evil, in its terms."
No, no no no. This is clearly your term. If you read Paul Buchheit's telling of how the slogan was chosen (he was the one who came up with it, before Google was an ad company, before it was "Google" by modern standards, and while he was still fresh at the company).
Furthermore, you're not making any sense with the last sentence. How in the world can you reasonably say a company would try to prevent itself from being "evil" by preemptively referring to that possibility in a slogan?
What? What kind of logic is that? It doesn't even hold up to Occam's Razor, since I just directly refuted it with a primary source and you have submitted no evidence except your clear bias against the company. For such a complex story that requires suspending disbelief, you have no proof.
>""Don't be evil" exists to make the place palatable to humans who understand the company's direction. Who made the slogan? The people who know the company's direction best. They know it better than you and they realize its direction."
Now you're just raving. Paul Buchheit made it. Do you hear yourself? A slogan exists to make an advertising company palatable to humans? What is your problem with Google? This goes beyond any fulfilling debate, you're actually just pulling nonsense out of the air with this. It would be different if you could submit anything that makes sense to support your loathing, but you have nothing but slander and words here.
>"Google has a technically superior product to its competitors. When you realize its most knowledgeable and powerful employees know its strategy points it to "be evil", you realize why people use alternatives whose strategies don't point them to "evil," especially when current events highlight the consequences of its strategic choice of knowing so much about you, its users."
Maybe this makes sense, if you had actually set up a reasonable probability that Google has a nefarious plot to be evil and subjugate the public to its whims while distracting them from that plot. What you're saying is inane and false. It amounts to a tinfoil conspiracy theory with groundless, biased assumptions that have no basis in observable reality.
Google isn't faultless. But you're actually being unreasonable. This comment is polarizing and devoid of any substantial quality. You didn't give a real critique of the company or its ethical standards. You just raved and made it clear you dislike the company.
Finally, just for the sake of argument, assuming everything you said is true (despite the fact that it's a complex web of conspiracy with no evidence) - why would making a slogan have any impact on whether or not a company is ethical? You neither defined "evil", nor submitted any evidence. The entire comment of yours is farcical.
How many queries does google process per day? 1B? DDG is up 1M in the last week. So it could realistically represent a 0.1% drop in traffic for google - or am I way off somehow? It's not unrealistic to think it could go up another magnitude again. Then you're starting to talk about a real impact to Google's bottom line.
Not that I don't wish them success, but PRISM is not the right reason to switch search engine to them.
Developers should read "Playing chicken with cat.jpg"  which was a response from cperciva  to the 37 Signals privacy blunder. It was discussed quite a bit on HN  and for me it was a perspective-changing read on privacy.
See http://vincent.bernat.im/en/blog/2011-ssl-perfect-forward-se... for example.
I don't really see how their model is sustainable at scale.
Now, this makes me wonder: What could be an equivalent implementation for e-mails. An e-mail host that encourages immediate download, totally deletes e-mail contents, deletes logs of any sort, etc. when you delete messages?
And we also need distributed search engines (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_search_engine).
You could also try Bitmessage or Retroshare, where e-mails are automatically encrypted, and P2P (no central server).
Of course, you have to trust them to actually do that.
That would be POP3.
I have found one area that it seems to sometimes outshine Google: finding really obscure stuff. Google seems to be biased so hard toward more popular/stable/canonical content that it sometimes seems to overlook things when you really are looking for something weird, or a needle in a haystack. Try using DuckDuckGo to find some ultra-obscure reference.
This is interesting as Google's index is almost certainly much larger... so it's got to be a PageRank artifact.
Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo results are way worse than Google from what I can tell so I still end up frequently going back and searching Google for things :(
Google has great results, and even with the current fiasco, I do trust google somewhat. But we don't have good alternatives to Google and bing, which isn't a good thing. So I am trying to help ddg out by using their service.
"Ads cannot be retrieved from the developer directly but instead through the end user's browser. Calling for the Ads from a server will lead to detection and termination of the customer."
Nothing I have tried even comes close to competing with Google Search trained fror me when it comes to search relevance.
For example, say I'm programming and I run into some obscure error message generated by some 3rd party library. From what I remember, DDG (in general) tended to require more fine tuning of the search query than Google in order to find in order for me to find the information I was looking for.
Unfortunately I can't think of an example of the top of my head, as this was awhile ago.
Another example: Say I remember an obscure forum post from months ago. Which search engine is more likely to find it? DDG is great, but it still needs to improve somewhat in these areas before I switch over to it entirely.
Sometimes I see an ad on the internet that seems relevant to a private, in person conversation I had with someone, and that same "Google feeling" washes over me.
It's good alternative search engine though as Google becoming increasingly opinionated and rattled by inconsistent changes with never ending improvements to their algorithms.