Google's 'long term memory' offers lots of benefits too, and 90% of the time, the filter bubble is the correct answer. Like when I search for a particular business on the desktop, and then later I search on my mobile device in Google Maps, and the very first auto-suggest after typing 1-2 characters it the business I searched for yesterday. This is awesome given how irritating it is to enter stuff on mobile devices, especially when in motion, the fewer characters typed the better.
Most of the privacy issues can be solved just by opening up an incognito window. You can choose with 1 stroke whether you want a bubble or not.
The only defence is to ensure the data does not exist.
In practice, this means using an incognito window almost all the time. Simply the fact that I'm on the other end of an IP logged in to a service is information I'd rather not share. And that's just too onerous, so instead I ensure my main browser isn't logged in to any services, amongst other defensive measures.
[Incognito mode (browse in private) - Chrome Help](https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95464?hl=en)
Sometimes it's better to pay the price of a few extra characters to retain some control.
Ahh, but if the NSA got a secret court order commanding DDG to start collecting data quietly, would users know? Do you think DDG would go the way of Lavabit and shut down voluntarily?
Please do not spread this site saying it does not submit data to Google. It does guaranteed for the ads, and knowing the search engine scene a bit I would also bet that they submit your IP and useragent to Google for every search query.
It seems recently everybody accepts those claims about privacy protecting search engines without checking anything.
However, startpage's help pages claim not to pass on IP addresses, useragents, cookies, or other identifying information. This claimed-independent report says so too: https://www.european-privacy-seal.eu/awarded-seals/de-110022... — verifying such statements is hard; believe what you will.
I agree, it seems clicking on the Google ads (rather than search results) does put a request via google.com/aclk. Privacy conscious users could block ads to avoid such mistakes. Of course startpage must send some data to google: the search terms are needed to get the search results themselves (as well as for selecting the ads). That could be a privacy leak, for example if simultaneously searching for a name and a sensitive topic. It doesn't seem nearly as bad as tying the search terms to a unique identifier across searches however.
Especially to NSA and local police. NSA can't store everything forever so Google chips in.
Are you a Google employee by any chance? If so, your tune would change if Apple was doing it and Google wasn't.
We've seen this sort of thing before. I've gone from no search engines, to Webcrawler, to Lycos, to AltaVista, to Google, and now DuckDuckGo. No biggie.
At first I thought I had done something strange to my Firefox (on Linux), but then I noticed both on my workstation (Windows) at work, and on my laptop (Linux and Windows). I hope someone else can confirm this.
I now do get referrals from DDG on a few on my websites so anecdotally and from a very small sample I see the increase. Google has become very commercialized and too tied up with the FED big boys now.
Had Gnome's browser been no.1 or no.2 in the browser arena, the gesture may have had some impact (albeit just symbollicaly). But right now... do they think Google would even care/notice?
Sometimes we need to be the ones willing to sacrifice a little bit of "convenience" to stand up for products and services that are at least attempting to travel a better road for users. Maybe I'm being a bit naive, but I believe that lines are being drawn and those products on the side of users, have a renewed opportunity to shine.
DDG is right there - in a great position. I get the results I want from DuckDuckGo without bloat and "personalized" crud. If I really want to massage the DDG query results, I can add !sp and get a "Google" perspective with privacy.
The !bang syntax just makes DDG more powerful.
All in all, I think that Gnome's decision is more than just a gesture. It's the beginning of a shift and the big players can either read the message that's being sent or ignore it to their data loss.
"Then again, knowing the humble size of our userbase, we should let neither our expectations nor our imagination run wild on this front."
Still it is the first browser which chooses DDG as its default search engine that I am aware of. This is quite a thing for such a small company like DDG. Now others can follow (or not) when they see that it worked (or not) for Gnome. And even if on Linux more people are aware of the fact that they can change their search engine in the browser, still there is a fair amount who just use what is there. It is therefore browsers nowadays are developed, do sell the default search engine position.
I remember the days when IE had 98% of the market share.
Get off my lawn. :)
Overall I think this is a great change though!
It can't be improving so quickly and still pretty shitty for such a long period of time.
 It still isn't very good at searching for specific error messages. It definitely used to show obscure projects on GitHub way too often. You'd do a search for 'getty' and some 3-commit project with a name containing getty would be the first hit. Also, I think it's actually gotten worse at finding Rails API stuff.
 It's been a while since I tried, but if you tweet at them with a search term with a poor result, they will try to figure out how to tweak the algorithm to make it better. It's really cool to see them act so directly on your suggestions.
It just doesn't give as accurate results as Google in some searches, I assume due to the rafts of information collected about users - a trade off I will make happily.
I don't expect my search engine to be staffed by psychics, or people who have gone through my emails and bookshelves. That's the problem, really.
Certainly more creepy, and not a tradeoff many people would be willing to make, but incredibly useful.
Compare to Bing: in France, "cucumber" returns a porn(!) site as the first result (note: I don't visit porn sites or use bing).
DuckDuckGo and Bing simply aren't good enough, but it has nothing to do with whether they respect your privacy.
Google uses a cookie to tie visits to a certain user for analytics.
The other solution I've come up with is to use a hash of IP + other identifying info, so not recording the IP or anytihng to tie it to a person, but still recording a relatively unique ID. What sort of techniques are you using?
Granted, the situation is probably not that similar to what DDG faces, but it was just one issue that came up. What we use for web analytics is based on awstats, which operates on access logs with anonymised IPs. Not as good as Google Analytics, but as useful as it gets without JS/tracking, I guess.
Even if they collected these stats, they wouldn't be able to refine their results unless they've changed their position.
The only real benefit is that you and your neighbor are in the same filter bubble.
Why? It's a feature which takes a large amount of work to implement, has a series of poor tradeoffs, won't actually increase the size of the user base much, is incredibly hard to do well and is very hard to market to users. Not to mention the fact that a large number of GNU/Linux distros are aimed at markets where such user land improvements are largely immaterial (e.g. on servers).
The simple fact is that most users don't care about privacy in the same sense that DDG cares about privacy. If they did, then there would be a huge economic incentive for everyone to make these sorts of changes.
Unless you want to make a statement, then changing the distro might be the gesture you want.
(I thought the malware component might be in a lower level of the OS than the DE)
sudo aptitude remove unity-lens-shopping
You're fine for a year or so, but when a new version of Mint comes, if you want to upgrade, you'd need to reinstall everything.
The thing to realize is that you can use any kind of desktop environment on any of the main distros. With Ubuntu, moving from its default DE can sometimes result in certain hiccups. Other distros are more DE-modular; that's the feeling I get when working on a Debian desktop, at least.
Overall, Debian is a very user-friendly system (or rather, it exposes the same kinds of interfaces as Ubuntu does, once the leaky UI abstractions in Ubuntu do start leaking. ;)
I have heard of DDG intermittently, but never remember to try it out with any consistency. I generally have my default browser page set to about:blank, but I just updated it to DDG. Maybe that will prompt me to try it for a while.
But, here's the thing: As an avid Android user (phones and tablets), it feels a little "insufficient" to just switch over my search engine in the name of privacy. After all, I use the big G for nav, contacts, and other stuff. Of course, it is easy to use their sevices by default, and I don't know what a viable alternative stack woukd look like. I disabled Verizon's Navigator because its click agreement seemed at least as onerous as what I have seen from G.
So, even in trying to find alternatives, it does bring up the questions: to whom am I willing to provide my info, how much am I willing to provide, and in exchange for what?
Also, there are plenty of email providers out there that are not Google (but it is often unclear whether they are any better privacy-wise. Also, arguably, no one is providing as slick a web interface for email as Google). I am not living in the US, so it makes sense for me to choose an email provider in my own country.
Mapping is more difficult. Tomtom etc. have great navigation apps. But if you just want to look at a map, GMaps is still far superior to most OSM based map apps. Skobbler has a few great ones.
I don't follow the logic. It seems like idealism for the sake of idealism to me.
So you argue that slightly inferior search results are "real harm" and mass surveillance is "imagined harm"? I'm afraid we don't agree on the definition of the word "harm".
Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, eh?
If you think everything that generates records the government can eventually access is "real harm," what exactly are you doing on HN?
There are several cases of exactly that, fishing people's online movement profiles for illegal activity, e.g.:
> If you think everything that generates records the government can eventually access is "real harm," what exactly are you doing on HN?
I post my comments knowing full well that anyone can read them. I do not think my web browsing and searching behaviour is quite the same thing. I cannot decide what to share and what not.
To come up with a stupid analogy, it's like saying: "If you don't like being watched, why do you go to the supermarket?" It's not the same as being watched in my bedroom.
Whatever, good for them I guess. I wonder if would have noticed if not for this article.
So yes, nothing good ever comes out of rarely used web browsers.
Cooperation: It's been some time now since we were first contacted by DuckDuckGo regarding the possibility to partner with them in order to share a percentage of the revenue that they make from the traffic originated on their search engine links ...
So DDG made a deal they could afford and got their partner to hold water for them and link to one of their PR websites, they've been ramping up their marketing efforts to try and capitalize on certain fears, which I suppose is logical.
Generally speaking I think ddg went with the "we don't store data" route because it's the niche they were left with and that ultimately means their search won't improve beyond a certain point.
I'd have to agree with this sentiment. After using ddg for about two years, I was kind of expecting something more to come from the whole zero click thing that could change the way users interact with search and how websites and information is discovered (like a different take on SEO).
Now they could totally ride (and should) the "we don't store data" wave, but I wonder how far the ddg team thinks it will take them and does the general population of people equate that to being a better search engine?
As they will all be too busy not storing peoples data, or how does this line of reasoning work?
Without proper machine learning on the individual level, DDG will never improve beyond a point. They're already kind of shitty, and even if they get millions of more queries they won't be able to improve at the rate that Google does.
It's a trade-off ('privacy' vs. 'quality') that 95% of the world doesn't give a shit about. Therefore I see this sort of move to DDG as just short-sighted and unreasonable overall.
And don't get me wrong, it does improve. I'm glad that I'm not bombarded with ads for TJMax on Google properties but think Digikey could back off a bit.
From a feedback perspective though it gets weird. And you can see that when you search without any identifying information enabled. I found the whole 'Don't Bubble Me' campaign quite creative.
The challenge for search engines though is that being the reference librarian's favorite tool for objectiveness doesn't woo the mass market. And search is a game of numbers if nothing else.
Google is a great advertising business because of what it knows about you.
However knowing your motorcycle is interesting. How do you think it got that information?
Don't spread wrongness if you don't know it better.
Privacy appears to be a concern to a large percentage of Americans. That said, it's not like all of these people are going to delete their FB account, switch to DDG tomorrow, etc.
However, the numbers do suggest that DDG has a sizable opportunity assuming they execute well and that privacy concerns continue.
"Therefore I see this sort of move to DDG as just short-sighted and unreasonable overall."
What do users of Gnome's browser care about? If users of Gnome's browser are concerned about personal privacy, then the move to switch to DDG for search is a sound choice.
DDG has (rather successfully) spun that as a critical feature rather than the tradeoff between privacy and utility that it is.