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What is DuckDuckGo and What Advantages Does it Have Over Other Search Engines?

Articles in Computer Software | By Louis J. V. Cicalese

Published | Last Update

All about DuckDuckGo, the secure and private search engine

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What is DuckDuckGo?

If you’ve ever used a computer before the chances are you've heard of Google, the world’s most popular search engine by far. Though people like to make fun of Bing for forever living in Google’s shadow, you probably have some experience with that site as well. These are just two of the many search engines out there. Among the countless other search engines options, one stands out due to both its emphasis on searchers’ privacy and overall quality: DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo was founded on February 29, 2008, and by 2012 was being used for over one million searches a day. Nowadays, the site serves over 20 million searches daily and currently has a search engine market share of 0.24%. Though this is a very small percentage compared to Google’s overwhelming share of about 73%, or even Bing’s share of around 8%, it shows that people are invested in DuckDuckGo’s business philosophy and are starting to take a greater interest in protecting their personal privacy online. DuckDuckGo is a notably small and personable operation, with a current staff of only 55 employees.

DuckDuckGo’s Pro-Privacy Philosophy

DuckDuckGo is built on the philosophy that users deserve privacy online and that your search history should not be used as a marketing tool.

Most major search engines, such as Google, for instance, track their users’ search terms and the results that you choose in order to create a profile that is used to personalize your search results and target advertisements toward you. DuckDuckGo is one of few search sites that abstain from this practice. It does not collect or store personal information, nor does it share your IP address, search criteria, or other info with the sites you visit.

DuckDuckGo keeps a record of all search terms that are entered, in order to improve things like misspellings. However, because DuckDuckGo does not store your IP address or unique user strings, these search terms are stored in a non-identifiable way. Similarly, DuckDuckGo does not use cookies by default, but will use them to store changes if you change any settings. These too are not stored in a way that can be used to identify the user.

DuckDuckGo also makes it a point to prioritize the secure, encrypted version of a site rather than the unencrypted version. They also do not log your search history, and because this information is not tracked, it cannot be hacked or requested by law enforcement (if that’s something you think you need to worry about).

DuckDuckGo Aims to Provide Only the Best Results

Far from being a one-trick pony, the other major pillar of DuckDuckGo’s business model is that they aim to provide not the most results, but the best results. Whereas Google can come up with thousands of results in under a second, DuckDuckGo by default provides a single page of what it believes to be the best results, though you can load more results if necessary.

Because DuckDuckGo does not track your history in order to optimize search results, it shows the exact same results for a given keyword to any person who searches it. DuckDuckGo generates these results using a combination of 400 different sources including crowdsourced sites like Wikipedia, other search engines like Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex, and Wolfram Alpha, and its own web crawler, the DuckDuckBot.

DuckDuckGo relies heavily on open-source resources in order to provide you with private and relevant search results. For example, the search engine’s Instant Answers feature are supported by open source answers and maintained by GitHub, where anyone can contribute. The site itself is also built from an open-source stack.

DuckDuckGo Features

Though DuckDuckGo does not have an integrated pantheon of apps akin to its massive rival, Google, it does include a number of helpful features that can help make your searching easier and more efficient.

Because it was mentioned above, let’s start with Instant Answers. When relevant, these answers are displayed in response to the search term, at the top of the page above the usual results. These Instant Answers are referred to as zeroclickinfo because the goal is to provide the user with the answer to their search query without them having to click on any unnecessary links. This can be a good time saver when you are just searching for basic information.

Another of DuckDuckGo’s features, and perhaps its most useful, are “bangs.” Bangs are shortcuts that allow you to instantly search a certain website from DuckDuckGo’s search bar. For example, if you want to search for the Wikipedia page on Shia LaBeouf, you can preface your search term of “Shia LaBeouf” with “!w” to denote the Wikipedia shortcut. If you want to buy a throwing star on Amazon, you can type “!a throwing star.” YouTube, Facebook, and many other major websites have bang shortcuts available.

DuckDuckGo also has several other features, such as voice search, keyboard shortcuts to navigate results, and a Yelp-like sidebar that gives extra information while searching for local restaurants.

How Does DuckDuckGo Make Money and Keep the Lights On?

DuckDuckGo earns revenue by serving advertisements, though it typically shows fewer ads than Google or most other search engines. Because DuckDuckGo does not store your searches and create a consumer profile for you, the ads it shows are generic and provided by the Yahoo-Bing-Microsoft search alliance network. DuckDuckGo also makes money through affiliate marketing with Amazon and eBay.

DuckDuckGo does target ads toward your searches, but without storing any of your personal searches. It does this by only showing advertisements that relate to your current search query. For example, if you just searched for “best computer monitors” your page of search results may include an advertisement for a computer monitor. Once you move onto the next search, you don’t have to worry about any more ads for computer monitors popping up unwanted.

In this way, DuckDuckGo is able to serve advertisements and make revenue without compromising their values or privacy policies.

DuckDuckGo -- The Hero We Need?

Using DuckDuckGo is a great first step towards achieving online anonymity. However, it’s worth noting that for optimal privacy, it should be combined with a proxy such as Tor. This is the best way to get end-to-end encryption with true anonymity.

Currently, DuckDuckGo is listed as the eighth most used search engine, worldwide and seems to only be getting more popular. With the revelation of how companies like Google and Facebook store, share, and profit from their personal information, many people are gravitating toward the type of security that DuckDuckGo has to offer.

Users Who Have Downloaded More RAM:
August R. Garcia (1 year ago)
🐏 ⨉ 1
Posted by Louis J. V. Cicalese 1 year ago

Edit History

• [2019-01-18 14:25 PST] Louis J. V. Cicalese (1 year ago)
🕓 Posted at 18 January, 2019 14:25 PM PST

Read More:
Profile Photo - Louis J. V. CicaleseLouis J. V. CicaleseAuthor
Profile Photo - August R. GarciaAugust R. GarciaLARPing as a Sysadmi...Portland, ORSite Owner

Jordan Peterson Two Months Ago: "I switched to DuckDuckGo yesterday."

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Timestamp: 50:30, in case this embed doesn't include the timestamp correctly.

Download more RAM. 🐏 ⨉ 0Posted by August R. Garcia 1 year ago

Edit History

• [2019-01-18 17:42 PST] August R. Garcia (1 year ago)
• [2019-01-18 17:42 PST] August R. Garcia (1 year ago)
• [2019-01-18 17:42 PST] August R. Garcia (1 year ago)
🕓 Posted at 18 January, 2019 17:42 PM PST

Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.

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