Is DuckDuckGo a good alternative search engine?
Honestly, having never heard of DuckDuckGo before I am definitely not any kind of expert when it comes to knowing about their services, rather I have learned purely through visiting their site and searching on it. Thus, this post will be more based on my experience of using DuckDuckGo as opposed to other posts on Google – which I use daily, have studied and is more widely known by the masses.
What is DuckDuckGo?
Launched in 2008, DuckDuckGo is a search engine that uses information from crowded sourced websites to obtain results (2013, Wikipedia). It protects users’ privacy and does not record user information (it does not track your IP address).
My experience using DuckDuckGo
Firstly, I wasn’t quite sure what the website address was so ironically I had to Google search for DuckDuckGo. Similar to Google, they have their simple logo and search box on the home page. When search criteria was entered there was a unique attribute about the results, an icon of where the information is located appears in a little box beside. Additionally, there are no ads displayed on the results page unlike Google. In order to compare the search results, I DuckDuckGo’ed and Googled myself to see if the results would be similar or not, which they were. In hindsight, it may have bee more useful to search a more well known person as there is relatively little information about me on the internet. I know DuckDuckGo does not filter the results based on my past search history as they do not track my information so the results did not appear in the same order as those in Google results. Overall, the search experience was quite simple and easy.
Do I think they are a good alternative search engine?
Right now, no, I would say they need to make improvements in order for me to switch to their search engine. However, with that said they have the potential to overtake the traditional players such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. DuckDuckGo has something the big players cannot compete with, their goals allow them to do almost anything they want and it won’t affect their business model whereas the others cannot do this. As well, the privacy component they offer users will definitely be an important attribute going forward as people and corporations want to protect themselves from government subpoena’s and overall just don’t want to have their privacy violated.
Finally, as an avid Google user myself I felt that DuckDuckGo was very similar to Google, and I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed by it to make me want to switch to their search engine. I believe Google right now offers more value to me then what DuckDuckGo could offer. There are some services such as Google Maps and translate that I could not live without, and these services are not offered by DuckDuckGo. So really there is no incentive for me to use the search engine functionality of DuckDuckGo and then switch to go use Google for only those two services. Ultimately, Google offers the value of simplicity and quick access to its services in one location. Once DuckDuckGo provides more services and meets my needs I would definitely switch to protect my privacy.