DuckDuckGo – Start Quacking

DuckDuckGo – A great search engine

Since the inception of the Internet, several websites have come into being and cemented their place (rather their domain name) firmly in the history of the World Wide Web. The website which stands out in its longevity is none other than – Google. What started out as a search engine, now offers a variety of services such as Gmail, Google Maps, Latitude, Hangout, Google+ and many more.

Many have considered Google to be irreplaceable in terms of a quality search engine. However, one should know, that in the world of the web (and in general, even the world of business), nothing is irreplaceable.

Many companies launched search engines to compete with Google. Some of these include Yahoo, MSN, and Bing. And although many of them have offered competition to Google in terms on number of daily searches, none of them have offered anything exceptionally different. But then, along came search engine DuckDuckGo which is now offering stiff competition to Google and all these other search engines.

DuckDuckGo was launched in the September of 2008 and since then it has risen in stature and become a very popular search engine of the WWW. In 2011, DuckDuckGo appeared on Time’s list of 50 best websites of the year (position 21).

Here are some reasons why you should switch to DuckDuckGo:

Zero click information – Personally, I feel this is one of the best features of DuckDuckGo. When you enter a search term, all other search engines require that you to click on links of your choice for the information you desire. However, DuckDuckGo provides instant information of your queried search. So, with DuckDuckGo, you never have to click on a link to get a quick answer. And for vague search terms, it displays a list of choices from which you can select the most suitable answer to your query (similar to disambiguation in Wikipedia). In a way, it does combine features of a search engine and Wikipedia.

Zero click information at DuckDuckGo provides faster information access to the user

Privacy – Gabriel Weinberg, the creator of DDG describes it all in a very brief manner – “By default, DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information. That is our privacy policy in a nutshell”. In short, DDG does not store any IP addresses, does not log user information and uses cookies as rarely as possible. This prevention of “search leakage” is a relief in contrast to the endless class action privacy lawsuits which are keeping Google lawyers busier by the day.

!bang – !bang commands are quick ways to access user information which redirect the user’s search to relevant sites. For example, if you enter “Game of Thrones!wiki” in the search bar, you will be immediately redirected to the Game of Thrones page of Wikipedia (English). Quite cool, isn’t it.

Spam – DDG has much lesser span and dead links as compared to other search engines. The DDG web crawler and algorithm combined together omit all spam domains from appearing on the search result page. In addition, links from human policed sources (for example Wikipedia) are placed higher up than other sources. Weinberg puts it as – “Our links are doubly controlled for spam”.

Additionally, you can search for various categories and have easy site searches such as map, Youtube, Amazon, images, Wikipedia and news. A cool feature is that you will have the browser icon displayed next to the search result. And, there are a number of holiday logos, i.e. the duck on the homepage will be dressed up as per the occasion. So, on Alan Turing’s birthday, the duck was animated as per Alan Turing’s appearance (similar to the Google doodle, but cool nonetheless. However, I agree that the Google Doodle is an epic feature which DDG has not matched).

The changing logo – DDG’s version of the Google Doodle

To summarize, DuckDuckGo focuses on cleanliness, simplicity, subtlety, effectiveness and privacy thus making searching for web users much easier and convenient. Since February 2012, DDG has got more than a million searches a day (this stat doubled from 500,000 it originally was over a period of a few months). So, if you haven’t already, then you should start quacking.