You might be wondering what this is about? I certainly don’t intend to play Duck Duck Goose, I am too old for that. What then? Lets Google it.
Yeah, you see it right. The very first result is a search engine. Never heard of it? Oh! then you are missing something.
Duckduckgo; it’s a ridiculous name, but so was Google back in 1998. If you thinking, “Oh its just another cuil”, then just give it a try.
1. Zero Click Info
Ever wanted to know what “Meson” is? I was looking for it and searched it in all the 4 search engines that I had in my Opera. What I found was same set of results everywhere, Wikipedia, followed by results from various Physics sources. But, where DuckDuckGo beat all was, the way it presented the search’s outcome; a box labeled as Zero Click info, and a short description of “Meson”. This was impressive, and it made me look further for other things.
I ran a search for “Telephone“, keeping in mind the famous 1984 hit by Diana Ross, and to my surprise none of the search engines other than DuckDuckGo came even near the song. DDG’s Zero click info had an entry about the song and all the other major instances where the word Telephone has been used, making it easy to find out exactly what I was looking for.
Search specific to particular site is not new, but to search a specific site with keywords was never heard of. Running the search “!amazon iPad” in DDG will give a search result specific to Amazon.com for iPad. This ! or !bang supports 100s of site and can be conveniently used just by the keyword specific to the site. To top it up the developer is a wonderful person, and can be contacted if you need to add some site of your own in the list of available ones.
Not just that, one can use ‘!ruby’ or ‘!rails’ before the search query, the results related to the programming language Ruby On Rails is displayed.
3. Keyboard Shortcuts
I really am no mouse man, and when I saw DDG, I was fascinated. There were so many shortcuts to do so many different things, I just could not resist. For instance, to go directly in search box, all you need to is to press ‘/’ button and to scroll the search result you need to press j and k.
4. Integration with other search engine and other extrapolative features
DuckDuckGo is a complex blend of many on-line services available. It has its own crawler and also uses Yahoo Boss’s and Bing’s Search APIs. Beyond just displaying the search result, DDG also refers Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia and other available on-line repositories of data to fetch appropriate results.
For instance, I ran a conversion of ’30 USD in INR’ and the zero click info had result fetched from Wolfram Alpha, displaying the converted value at the current exchange rates.
DDG also includes some neat tricks like displaying the IP address when you run a search for ip.
You might have heard hues and cries over Google taking over the Internet with its search engine, and keeping an enormous data of who is searching what. People have put up many issues of privacy and Google has always given an excuse of enhancing the search results for the lack of privacy. If you are big fan of keeping yourself in hiding, DDG is just for you. The developer has specifically mentioned that nowhere in DDG, any information whatsoever is recorded that can cause any privacy issue. Not only that, it has a secure mode (https) and it doesn’t even pass the query string to the referred site.
I have seen DDG getting a lot of beating for its interface and trying to look, not so serious, but we must not forget that Google, in past, did the very same and was admired for the same.
Though of all the positives that I mentioned above, one thing which I consider as a downside is, that it has many features which suite tech-savvy more, than the general mass. But saying that i must say, even if you are not techie, you still will love the clean interface and the zero click information.
Out of all the search alternatives available, what really caught my eyes was the way owner cum developer of DuckDuckGo was active on Hacker News and Reddit. I too had some queries regarding the results I got from DDG, and all I had to do was to post my query in feedback. I got a reply within a day, and it impressed me a lot.
I then contacted Gabriel Weinberg, the sole founder about a week ago about this post, and he was very helpful in pointing me out the reasons, why to use DDG over Google, which I have already elaborated above.
If you ask me, I would definitely give it thumbs up, and give you many more reasons to choose DDG, but it would be better if I leave the choice onto you. I will urge you to use this as your default search engine for a day, and I believe it will speak for itself.