DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that claims it does not track its users and provides organic search results and ads that are not personalized to you. This is my experience of using DuckDuckGo exclusively for almost a month.
According to their own homepage:
We don’t store your personal info. We don’t follow you around with ads. We don’t track you. Ever.
The Filter Bubble
Apart from all the privacy features, another big claim by DDG is that it helps you escape the “filter bubble”; which essentially means that Google and other similar search engines (like Bing, Yahoo) bring massively different search results for different users, even though the query is exactly the same.
This provides the user all the relevant organic search results and leaves up to the user to form their opinion on a particular topic; whereas on Google you slowly dig up a rabbit hole for yourself and get results on part of the topic which Google thinks you feel is correct.
This makes DDG a really useful tool for doing organic research.
My Experience using DuckDuckGo
I really like the granular control that DDG provides on customization. You can have Dark Mode, Light Mode, and more themes,
customize how results appear, Fonts and Color of literally everything, and also you can entirely disable Advertisements!
The search Results
Based on my experience using DDG, I didn’t find search results to be extremely bad; they were as good as or slightly worse than that of Google. Although sometimes they were slightly better I felt, probably because Google thought I might want a different answer?
Although I was really happy with the reduction in the number of ads I was meant to deal with.
On Google instead of getting a comparison from various sources, the whole page was just ADS; compared to DDG which also gave some comparison websites.
Note: The ads served by DDG are private (means DDG cannot tie it to your profile) but DDG explicitly mentions that when you leave their website by clicking their ads (which are managed by Microsoft) then MSFT can track your IP, Fingerprints on web and more. Read More
Experience on Mobile📱
The experience on Mobile was fine. Because of the location permission constraints, some queries gave very weird answers, but it does work for quick searches
The DuckDuckGo extension
DDG also has a Chrome/Firefox extension that blocks trackers and ads, but my experience with it was slow, it took a long time to load a page and blocking didn’t seem to work every time. Other such extensions work way better and are more responsive.
Should you switch?
Except for some little quirks on mobile, DDG is a really good Search Engine (and also a very powerful search tool with the use of bangs). And according to me, as people become more extremist on a political/social topic, being provided organic search results is essential.
With less obstructive Ads, getting almost similar search results to Google, it’s a no-brainer.
Although I will be covering Video and News search along with !bangs in a later post which is not as good.
Credit to Aryan Tiwari for helping in editing this post.
Originally published on January 5, 2021.