Duck Duck Go—Is This a Search Engine to Watch Out For?
Don’t let the name fool you into thinking this is just some silly search engine with very little merit.
A lot of people hadn’t heard of DuckDuckGo until recently, including myself. When I found this post a few months ago, I was intrigued. It prompted me to do some in-depth research.
Here are some of the things that I’ve learned…
Its appearance is simple, straightforward, and pretty much close to what other search engines offer—a brand logo, a search box, and a blank white background. The results page is also non-intrusive and minimalistic. Unlike Google, it does not show snippets and preview tabs for each result. Instead, it offers just a page title, a meta description, and the complete weblink for that page.
You’ll also notice that Duck features something akin to Google’s Knowledge Graph. You’ll find this at the topmost portion of the page (contrary to the latter’s top right position), making it more noticeable to browsers.
One major difference it has from other search engines is its “unlimitedness”. As you keep scrolling down, you will see more links instead of page buttons. However, it still has a hierarchical structure, with the topmost result being the most relevant, obviously.
You may find that it is quite similar to Yahoo Axis in terms of unlimited results, except for the fact that Axis is egalitarian.
Nothing is ever truly forgotten, erased, or private online.
Have you ever had a nightmare where you’re walking around in a public place and you suddenly realise that you’re naked? Well, you’re metaphorically living it every single time you open a browser.
Let me explain…
Emails, search history, personal info you use on e-commerce sites, social media activities—all of these are your digital footprints and they can be used to create a profile that defines you.
So that means…
Nothing is really private online. That email you sent to your Mom a couple of weeks ago, that video you watched on YouTube a year ago, or even your query for “The Silmarillion”—all of this data is stored, analysed, and sold to data brokers who represent advertisers, employers, insurance providers, credit score companies, and so on.
Scared yet? You should be!
Duck thwarts the very concept of “no more privacy”. Its proprietor Gabriel Weinberg campaigns that its babydoes not track users and does not show search results based on a browser’s previous queries.
In fact, the company’s slogan is “Google tracks you. We don’t.”, an ad that is effectively intriguing a lot of people. With Google’s increasing privacy challenge issues, a lot of searchers are finding this alternative a convenient one.
So now that the privacy angle has been covered, what’s next?
The most useful feature I found on Duck is its !Bangs. It allows you to search hundreds of other sites directly, a very convenient tool if you are particular with your query.
For example, if you type “!amazon The Silmarillion” into the search box, you’ll immediately be redirected to Amazon’s page for The Silmarillion. It’s really a revolutionised way of auto-searching, a solution that Duck has effectively presented.
Another simple tool that browsers can use is the Sort by date option. Use it for queries and the results will automatically pop out only the latest pages relevant to your search. For instance, if you type “!date Panda 24”, you will see results as updated as 23 January 2013, which is incredibly convenient if you’re looking for news or updates about a topic.
There is no argument that Google is still the king of search. But with the rapid growth of DuckDuckGo (over a million direct searches each day), plenty of online marketers, SEO practitioners, and Pay Per Click advertisers should definitely keep a close eye on this one.
I definitely will!