12) Want to Try a Non-Google Search Engine?

Brigada participant, Michael, suggested we might want to try DuckDuckGo instead of Google as a search engine. “They don’t track you,” he explained. Recently they passed 30 million searches a day, and it seems to work about as well as Google. They don’t offer voice input. But if you can work around that, you’re good. You can even make it your default search engine if you prefer.


3 Responses to 12) Want to Try a Non-Google Search Engine?
  1. JR Reply

    I have been using DDG for nearly a year. I am very pleased with it.

  2. Editor Reply

    One Brigada participant ( Dan ) commented, “Yes, I love DuckDuckGo, too, I have been using it for some years on/off. Recently the quality of search results as well as other features have improved and so it is now my main search engine!

    If I don’t find what I need, I use:
    (Google Search with privacy protection.)”

  3. zorch Reply

    DuckDuckGo is good for routine stuff, but If you do a side-by-side comparison, the results stream is noticeably smaller. Some of that may come from less delivery of irrelevant results.

    Two other options:

    – Startpage.com: is also privacy-enhanced. I use that one as my regular search tool, and I find that it gets better results than DuckDuckGo. Startpage takes your queries and submits them to Google, and where Google doesn’t have access to you, only what is being shown by Startpage. Essentially, it’s a proxy server. In my use, I find this one to be adequate for routine searching, but if I’m doing something more in-depth, there’s nothing that compares with Google.

    – QWANT is a European search engine that advertises privacy that seems to be trying to be a Google look-alike (even if not work-alike) that better satisfies privacy directives in the EU. I haven’t tried it.

    A related observation… I run a web server, and my logs track spider (and other search bot) activity. The most common bot that touches my site are from Bing (BingBot and BingPreview). Google’s bots are the next most common, but far less. I also see some traffic from Yandex, and Yahoo, but much less frequently than Google.

    Yandex is significant — they’re a Russian company, and DuckDuckGo streams results from Yandex. I don’t believe that DDG is operated by Yandex, more likely a proxy for Yandex, in the way that Startpage proxies for Google.

    Seeing the frequency of bot hits from Yandex, and in comparison with Google and Bing, that seems to explain why my experience with DDG searches turns up less content than Google. I’m guessing that Bing probably has more results than DDG, but I don’t use Bing often enough to really have a sense of how thorough their results are (although I have noticed for technical searches, Bing tends to prioritize results for Microsoft-hosted content).

    Remember that you don’t have to commit to any search engine exclusively. For me, I don’t do searching from either the address bar or search bar in my browser. Instead, (using Mozilla browsers) I keep links for several search engines in the bookmarks toolbar. Actually, I have a folder there, with all the search links that I use. Thus, when I need to search, I can quickly get the engine I want quickly, and what I choose depends on what I’m searching for, how thorough I need results to be, and sometimes, the mood that I’m in when I do a search.

    As noted, I use Startpage most often, and the bookmarked link that I use for them uses a fairly complex URL that allows me to specify my personal preference settings, without having to leave persistent cookies, or being logged in to the service.

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