Personally I'm hoping DDG will at some point pick up the slack from Google dropping the Discussions tab (forum search). Evidently it wasn't so popular, but I found it hugely useful for researching product decisions and haven't found a good alternative. Seems like it could be a good niche to cover.
That would be very handy and I can see Spotlight being a lot more powerful if that's possible (integrating with specialized fact DBs, SaaS, etc.).
My guess is that they were testing a new search engine, and since they gave that up/wasn't done in time/turned too expensive, they just put duck duck there. or maybe they didn't even tried... anway, that does not matter. Since the point was not to have a search engine, it was to not have google by default until google pay it up to be there.
...the fact that you hope apple will relinquish control of any aspect of your mac/ios usage is cute.
I hadn't noticed as I use Firefox on Android which has similar search engine options to what you'd see on a desktop browser.
Fuck Apple deciding what I can and can not run on my phone.
Now the web view runs in a separate process with a separate sandbox, so it can run the same JIT of Safari without security concerns (mainly, writable memory with execution permissions).
I can think of a number of widely touted alternatives which utterly failed to do so: Cuil, Bing, Blekko, A9, Teoma, and more (a DDG search shows a bunch of skeletons: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22new+search+engine%22+challenge+...). None has had the traction DDG seems to have garnered.
I see a confluence of a number of things:
• Snowden. People are now privacy conscious, and aware of the tremendous amount of information disclosed in Web searches. DDG's huge traffic spike following the Snowden disclosures is testimony to this: https://duckduckgo.com/traffic.html
• Google is the one to beat. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Rackspace, and others see Google as their primary competition. This creates an alignment of interests among them.
• Google has shown vulnerabilities. Failures to execute on a string of social efforts, most recently G+, as well as an increasing sense of distraction, as well as possible signs of weakness in its core search business, suggest a vulnerable underside to Google. DDG isn't big enough to cause real damage yet, but it can certainly get Google's attention.
• Democratization of search. Was a time when massive datacenter investments were necessary for search. That's both no longer the case, and DC infrastructure's getting cheaper, both of which cut away at Google's core competency and advantage.
• Google's lost its favored status among the technorati. While it's not clear who's won that crown, there's an increasing strong sense among many that Google have failed at their "don't be evil" pledge, have disappointed users, and simply don't have the chops they once demonstrated.
• Specialized search is making inroads. OpenStreetMap is taking on geosearch, Wolfram+Alpha and Knoema specialized data search, Wikipedia is a basic more-or-less-trusted repository of actual information (as opposed to random Web sites), Amazon is a product and bibliographic research library. There are places to go for information which, if you've got a specific interest, are better than Google, and they're carving off bits of the search market.
So, yes, for the first time in 15 years, search looks like it may be ripe for a bit of disruption.
Don't get me wrong: Google does some things amazingly well. Date-bounded Web searches still draw me back (I did some here to turn up a few of the more obscure search contenders from the early 2000s), the Google Books Ngram viewer is fucking awesome, Google Trends isn't bad, and a few other elements. Reliability of Google services is amazing. But there are chinks in the armor.
Fanchildren, stop. You know that DDG is an untenable alternative without Bing, right? Sure, they do a little bit of their own result integration, but when you actually compare results side by side, there are very few differences:
My point is not that DDG shouldn't exist, or that it won't diverge, but that to claim that DDG has traction that Bing does not is silly. Bing is larger (and more popular: it's a top-50 global website!) than DDG, and it is clearly providing much of the technical infrastructure for DDG.
There's the additional situation that I'm absolutely no fan of Microsoft and trust them to my search data even less than I do Google. Handing either my queries via anonymizing proxies is rather more palatable, however.
DDG's share of search is still small, but its growth rate is on fire. It also seems to be largely organic (today's announcement by Apple would be an exception to this), which strikes me as generally more persuasive than growth driven by various sorts of gimmickery (see the extensive manipulations of web server stats Microsoft attempted through the years largely through changing parked domain hosting status).
Do you have a reference for search engine ranking? I'm not turning up any clear stats, though from Fool.com I get a reference to 4.7 million queries/day vs. 3 billion for Google. That puts DDG at 1/640th Google's traffic, though as I said: growing quickly.
The problem is that DDG's compelling case to switch (anonymous searching), undermines the technical reason that Bing can provide results that are competitive with Google. DDG would almost certainly suck if it wasn't built using a search engine that uses the collected behavior of millions of people to produce relevant results.
The "we don't track" thing is a great bit of propaganda for the insurgency, but it's a terrible burden if you happen to win the war.
"DuckDuckGo gets its results from over one hundred sources, including DuckDuckBot (our own crawler), crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia, which are stored in our own index), Yahoo! (through BOSS), Yandex, WolframAlpha, Yelp, and Bing."
I also don't see "we don't track" as a liability, given that Google themselves get relatively little by way of relevance from profiling (though it may contribute to ad sales). Rather (and this is straight from a Google engineer): "It's really hard to do much better in search advertising than current query + location."
So: DDG gain a niche, possibly a large one, influence the marketplace, and lose very little in ad placement relevance.
I understand that DDG does not have to fulfill every Google use case. However, I don't see it likely that they're going to be number one any time soon. There are multiple discussions on HN where people say that if you can't be number one, you must shut down and walk away (I think we said something similar about Spring pad). Here we are encouraging DDG even though we know it will likely not be number one.
I am confused.
As is Apple now.
Pretty much, though if DDG can make a go of it on their own, so much the better.
Sometimes balancing things against one another is useful. Actually, more than sometimes.
And if all it does is convince Google to stop ingesting so fucking much personal data I'll consider it mission fucking accomplished.
Though what I'd really like to see is a true distributed search engine capability emerge. There's a tool for this (YaCy) though it's still fairly rudimentary (and is Java based, which I'm increasingly allergic to).
What a terrible and insane advice! Apple doesn't sell as many phones as Samsung and therefor they should shut down and walk? Or am I missing something here?
1. It would lead to toxic consumer environments with no competition.
2. It would stifle innovation as market incumbents could coast without further optimisation.
3. It fails to address the fact that everyone was in second place at some point. No industry or product is a spontaneous invention which has no competitors. The automobile had the horse; even Gutenberg had competition.
Stop if you are not number one. Craziest business mantra ever.
Bing's search results are OK, but when you compare the search result pages, DuckDuckGo is much cleaner and easier to navigate even with the same results. Google is almost as bad as Bing now, where the number of ads outnumber actual search results.
Bing, to me, tries too hard to be a destination, rather than a highly tuned tool to help me find websites.
You don't. All major SE that predated Google did so, from AltaVista to Yahoo... I used to maintain a CGI-based wrapper for a bunch of SE (these 2 plus "USE IT!", Lycos, Infoseek, WWWW, anyone remember them?) in the mid-/late 90's that removed the annoying ads from search results.
Google was the first SE with text based ads though, from what I remember.
This from a critic.
The current situation is worse for users both on Google and competing SEs, paid text ads are put in front of and made to look like search results. On mobile browsers, you typically have to scroll past several ads to see a single real search result.
Google's benefits were relevance of results (you'd find what you were looking for on the first page, very nearly always as the first result), as well as speed. Not polluting results with adverts would help with relevance (advertising is often distressingly irrelevant).
It provided a local apple store which I know of as the 5th result when DDG just showed the generic untargeted bing results.
DDG's main drawcard is anonymity, and Google/Bing are hoping the masses will prefer customised results. So if your perception is common, DDG is in trouble.
Or perhaps they can find a way to provide location data in their anonymised searches.
Bing (and Yahoo), etc are all competing against google at pretty much Google's game. We already know Google will win at Google's game. They make the rules, they hold the keys.
DDG played a different game. It attacked the hacker sphere. It then gave people something they want, privacy. And the quality was good.
Note: Android still does not allow DDG as the search engine, and makes every damn effort to ensure Google is the search engine used. And of course note that DDG, being the only real competitor is magically excluded from relevancy. But no matter, soon, soon.
If Mozilla switched Firefox's default search engine to Bing (or even Yahoo!), Google's dominance of everything internet might get some healthy competition. Google fans would howl for a day (then simply switch Firefox's search setting back to Google), but hundreds of millions of other Firefox users wouldn't care.
>>> !Bang https://duckduckgo.com/bang.html
Personally it's not really my thing, but a lot of users really seem to love this, especially when having DuckDuckGo as default search bar.
And I agree OpenStreetMap will probably be a really big factor in the future. Especially considering how objects can be directly linked to Wikidata and other services.
o !github language:python
The funny thing is that unless I am actually searching DDG, I almost never see it.
Sure you could do this by defining a whole bunch of search aliases, but it is more fun to think, "I wonder if I can search the Arch Wiki from here," type `o !arch some search`, and all of a sudden find yourself on the arch wiki search page.
I'm not suggesting that any of these scenarios have necessarily taken place, but we'd have no way of knowing if they have. Also, the more popular DDG becomes, the more tempting a target it becomes to the NSA et al.
So by all means use DDG if you like its other features, but try to be realistic about privacy.
Now, if I was really paranoid about NSA or wanted to hide stuff, I would use much more radical measures - say: using linux Tails, only browsing with Tor, and possibly from a public network whenever possible (in order to use a different IP each time).
For me, DDG is a decent middle ground. I suppose the NSA could track my search history if they really wanted to, but meanwhile it's a bit harder for them and I am less targeted by advertisement.
For DDG, with a surveillance proxy installed, you're limited to IP + browser fingerprinting. You can largely defeat both with the addition of privoxy and TOR. I agree that, were DDG compelled to install monitoring equipment, their assurances are fairly thin defense. But they are an improvement over the status quo.
Meanwhile, you'll also escape the sort of snooping and across-the-net following side-effects of advertising and marketing:
DDG's claims of not tracking are auditable, though I'm not aware that they've actually been audited. It absolutely is a step in the right direction.
How would they do this?
It's possible there are SSL flaws the NSA knows about that the public does not, but I can't think of many other ways the NSA could achieve this through technological means.
There could be a secret court order forcing DDG to place monitoring hardware on their internal network, but given that they're basing a business on privacy, this would be corporate suicide. DDG aren't behaving in a manner that suggests they believe they're living on borrowed time.
The problem with a MITM attack is that it involves changing the message stream. It's not a passive attack. A MITM attack is unsuitable for wide-scale surveillance, as it would almost certainly be noticed.
The NSA might be using a zero-day flaw to passively listen in on connections, but the possibility of this will diminish once the OCAP gets around to finishing its audit of OpenSSL.
For many people, the NSA isn't even the problem. Google is the problem.
Average direct queries may:
- Ixquick/StartPage 5,076,959 (source: https://www.startpage.com/traffic/)
- DuckDuckGo 5,314,203 (source: https://duckduckgo.com/traffic.html)
And they do it with a better looking interface too. Let's hope DDG's land a default spot on Firefox or Safari soon. They both lack there own search engine and are competing with the Google and Microsoft on some level.
The aspects of this I see being possible game-changers across the hosted SAAS space are of 1) autoconfiguring cheap systems, 2) better residential broadband, and 3) distributed tools which work very effectively even with tremendous decentralization.
On a per-user basis, the amount of compute resources allocated by even very large sites is relatively small. You can provision as much on your own. What providers do offer are engineering, robustness, reliability, and data redundancy.
Engineering can be provided through self-configuring systems -- a Debian base, set of packages, autoconfiguration, and a minimal set of things the user needs to worry about, and you're up and running. With SSD / flash drives, you buy yourself around much of the seek latency of spinning rust.
Robustness and reliability through a grid-provisioned service would ensure that the system as a whole is up even if individual nodes are offline. You'd also need some smarts against attacks, but if the system could communicate among nodes indicating what traffic is considered harmful it should be reasonably self-healing.
Data redundancy can be provided through sharding and replication schemes. Figuring out how to account for balance of data of a given node (if you want to load a lot you've got to offer a lot, and/or obtain credits somehow, perhaps through payment).
The one additional benefit DCs provide is for very rapid communications between nodes -- < 0.001s, sometimes better, latencies, rather than 0.01s - 0.1s between Internet sites (sometimes worse). This matters for multi-tier applications where web proxies, application engines, and databases need to talk to one another.
And if you do need some DC infrastructure, costs for that are falling (and capabilities increasing) such that much of it can be provided on a light budget (traffic costs are likely your biggest concern).
What I see is an erosion of the technological limitations which have made the present commercial model viable and/or necessary. Which suggests that it may be increasingly supplanted, especially for mature spaces.
It felt, and still feels, to me very much like the failed UI redesigns we've seen from Google as of late.
Even after giving it some time, I still don't think I'm better off with DDG's redesigned site than I was with its old design back at the beginning of May.
It may not be a complete UI disaster like the Google Maps redesign, for example, but it's still unfortunately a step in that direction. I sincerely hope this isn't a continuing trend with DDG.
Visually, the contrast is worse now than it was before. While this may be "trendy", it does harm usability.
The default coloring of the old results page was much easier to look at, as well. It made it easier to differentiate between the different types of content.
The fixed red bar at the top is distracting and pointless.
The auto-suggest is also wasteful and unnecessary. I find it contrary to the simplicity that DDG used to offer.
Yes, they're relatively minor changes, but they add up to result in an experience that just isn't as good as the previous experience. These types of minor, but harmful, changes can build upon one another over time, amplifying their negative effect.
The auto-suggestions have helped improve my results a few times, particularly when I can't think of a bang.
The red bar and default coloring are probably a little more subjective, so I can understand that. I do hope changes don't accumulate to become more negative, but I find these changes to be largely pleasant.
And that is very high praise.
DDG's use of additional search engines other than bing (mostly for ancillary responses AFAICT -- the primary Web results seem to rely heavily on bing) is another differentiator, and can add value.
Likewise the bang syntax.
If they can make that mobile UI much better I'll make it my default but I've essentially done a search and saw no results without having to scroll.
This is a great partnership, as both companies, unlike Google, seem to see privacy as a major feature.
Don't expect a beta experience to be awesome when DDG has months to get it right for the real release date.
Edit: Let me rephrase, it's my default search engine. If the result isn't great, I may rerun it with !g which will then forward my request on to google. Makes it really easy to migrated while still being able to fall back when needed.
Meaning, if I just need to RTFM, DDG finds it for me. If I search for "Pymongo find function" it will return the documentation I want. If I'm having a problem or debugging something not explained in the manual, there's a slight chance I'll have to use !g and use Google. If I search for "Pymongo find function not returning all results while sorting" I might need Google.
The number of searches where I've had to use Google has decreased significantly in the last year.
Yeah, google is still the best for SOME technical term. if it has too much symbols, yahoo/bing/duck are better.... but only so slightly.
the scary part is that even google still being the best, technical terms results are becoming awful everywhere.
On the occasion when I do see oddball results, I report them and it gets straightened out promptly. (It's kind of awesome to be able to report a spam site, get a human response, and have the site removed within a day or two. I'm sure it won't be that way forever, but their results also keep getting better and better.)
Initially it was just "send Gabriel an email", which he still graciously responds to, but I've been trying to do things the "right" way more recently because I'm sure he gets a lot of email :)
You can re-run any search on google with the "!g" bang notation (or "!sp" for a proxied StartPage search, which is nearly the same).
The recent UI changes have been nice (my biggest observation was that my local CSS changes no longer actually change anything about the site, which is to say, my annoyances have all been addressed).
The primary lacking features are date-bounded search (I still use Google for this), and certain specialized searches (e.g., Google Books, Google Scholar, Google News), though DDG have been expanding their tools, and I'm increasingly using site-specific searches (e.g., reddit, HN, StackExchange, and certain blogs) rather than general Web searches.
I wonder whether iCloud tabs still work in private browsing mode. In other words, do Apple and others still get to see all your supposedly "private" URLs?
Apple did not add ddg in the past few years despite people asking them to, which might indicate that Apple, too, asks for money for these referrals.
So this begs the question - how how much did ddg have to pay?
Mozilla grossed 311M for FY2012, almost all of which came from their deal with google: https://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/Mozilla_Audited_Fi...
A couple of years ago, I was at a ddg hackathon when inclusion came up. I believe they mentioned that it was on the order of a 7 digit number to be include in the list of search engine. Regardless of how much it was, they couldn't justify spending that much money on being include in Apple devices.