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Google might be the biggest but there are other search engines, too

Most people don't want three dozen search engines, especially people who are not trained internet users. Most people want a single search engine that delivers three key features:

  1. Relevant results (results you are actually interested in)
  2. Uncluttered, easy to read interface
  3. Helpful options to broaden or tighten a search

With this criteria, several of our reader favorites come to mind. These search sites should meet 99 percent of the searching needs of a regular everyday user.

Google Search

Google Search Google Search. screenshot

Google is the reigning king of 'spartan searching', and is the single most used search engine in the world. While it doesn't offer all the shopping center features of Yahoo! or the human curation of Mahalo, Google is fast, relevant, and the largest single catalogue of web pages available today. The search giant also tracks an incredible amount of information that many people don't even know they are giving out.

Make sure you try the Google 'images', 'maps' and 'news' features... they are outstanding services for locating photos, geographic directions, and news headlines. P.S. If you don't want Google to spy on you, protect yourself.

Duck Duck Go Search

DuckDuckGo search results DuckDuckGo search results. DuckDuckGo

At first, DuckDuckGo.com looks like Google. However, there are many subtleties that make this spartan search engine different.

DuckDuckGo has some slick features, like 'zero-click' information (all your answers are found on the first results page). DuckDuckgo offers disambiguation prompts (helps to clarify what question you are really asking). Plus, the ad spam is much less than Google.

Give DuckDuckGo.com a try... you might really like this clean and simple search engine.

Bing Search

Bing Search
 Bing Search. screenshot

Bing is Microsoft's attempt at unseating Google, and arguably the second-most-popular search engine today. Bing used to be MSN search until it was updated in summer of 2009.

Touted as a decision engine, Bing tries to support your researching by offering suggestions in the leftmost column, while also giving you various search options across the top of the screen. Things like 'wiki' suggestions, 'visual search', and 'related searches' might be very useful to you. Bing is not dethroning Google in the near future, no, but it is definitely worth trying.  

Dogpile Search

Dogpile Search Dogpile Search. screenshot

Years ago, Dogpile preceded Google as the fast and efficient choice for web searching. Things changed in the late 1990's, Dogpile faded into obscurity, and Google became king.

Today, however, Dogpile is coming back, with a growing index and a clean and quick presentation that is a testimony to its halcyon days. If you want to try a search tool with pleasant presentation and helpful crosslink results, definitely try Dogpile!

Yippy Search

Yippy Search Results
 Yippy Search Results. Yippy

Yippy is a Deep Web engine that searches other search engines for you. Unlike the regular Web, which is indexed by robot spider programs, Deep Web pages are usually harder to locate by conventional search.

That's where Yippy becomes very useful. If you are searching for obscure hobby interest blogs, obscure government information, tough-to-find obscure news, academic research and otherwise-obscure content, then Yippy is your tool. 

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar SearchGoogle Scholar Search. screenshot

Google Scholar is a special version of Google. This search engine will help you win debates.

Google Scholar focuses on scientific and hard-research academic material that has been subjected to scrutiny by scientists and scholars. Example content includes graduate theses, legal and court opinions, academic publications, medical research reports, physics research papers, and economics and world politics explanations.

If you are looking for serious information that can stand up in a heated debate with educated people, then forget regular Google... Google Scholar is where you want to go to arm yourself with high powered sources!

Webopedia Search

Webopedia Search
 Webopedia Search. screenshot

Webopedia is one of the most useful websites on the web. Webopedia is an encyclopedic resource dedicated to searching technology terminology and computer definitions.

Teach yourself what 'domain name system' is, or what 'DDRAM' means on your computer. Webopedia is absolutely a perfect resource for non-technical people to make more sense of the computers around them.

Yahoo! Search (and More)

Yahoo! Search
 Yahoo! Search. screenshot

Yahoo! is several things: it is a search engine, a news aggregator, a shopping center, an email box, a travel directory, a horoscope and games center, and more.

This 'web portal' breadth of choice makes this a very helpful site for Internet beginners. Searching the Web should also be about discovery and exploration, and Yahoo! delivers that in wholesale quantities. (By the way, here's what happened to Yahoo! avatars and Yahoo! 360 in case you were wondering.)

The Internet Archive Search

The Internet Archive SearchInternet Archive Search. screenshot

The Internet Archive is a favorite destination for longtime Web lovers. The Archive has been taking snapshots of the entire World Wide Web for years now, allowing you and me to travel back in time to see what a web page looked like in 1999, or what the news was like around Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

You won't visit the Archive daily like you would Google or Yahoo or Bing, but when you do have a need to travel back in time, use this search site.

 Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Paul Gil

Published in Search Engine

DuckDuckGo has almost doubled its popularity in the past year, giving it the title of 400th most popular website worldwide

Let’s face it, Google probably knows everything about you.

Whether it’s through the search engine, internet browser, phone or emails, the service is learning new things about you each day. In fact, last year, Google launched an opt-in service known as “My Activity”, a page where you can see everything Google has learned about you in one place. 

But if you want this to change, there is an alternative, and it’s growing in popularity. Describing itself as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”, DuckDuckGo promises not to collect any information about its users, including their IP address.

What is DuckDuckGo?

The DuckDuckGo search engine was launched in 2008 by founder Gabriel Weinberg, who funded it himself until it secured investment with Union Square Ventures in 2011. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength.

According to figures from the website Alexa, DuckDuckGo has almost doubled its popularity in the past year, giving it the title of 400th most popular website worldwide. In September, the website reached 19 million direct searches, a figure that has shown a gradual increase throughout the year.

Unlike other search engines, when you click on a link through DuckDuckGo the site you are sent to knows nothing about the words you used to find it. “What you search for is your own business and we’d like to keep it that way,” the company says.

DuckDuckGo recently reported that only 24% of adults care enough about their online privacy to take action to protect it while 65% would be motivated to switch search engines if they knew the search engine wouldn't collect personal data. 

DuckDuckGo features

The search engine is aimed at providing a quicker answer, requiring fewer clicks. It uses features called Instant Answers, which provide an answer without leaving the app, and !bangs, which take you straight to a particular website.

Elsewhere, the website offers a service that automatically changes the address of well-known websites to encrypted versions, if you click through its search engine.

Plus it offers fewer adverts. “Less clutter, less spam, fewer ads and an overall cleaner design,” the company says. “We can do this since we just focus on web search and therefore don't have to promote other services on our results pages.”

When it comes to advertising, DuckDuckGo makes money based on the keywords a user searches for, rather than the details of the person, meaning it does not need to collect any other information to create lucrative advertising. 

Related...

DuckDuckGo and Brave

DuckDuckGo recently partnered with the Brave browser to integrate the DuckDuckGo search within the browser's private tabs. 

The tie-in is available if you upgrade the Brave browser to 0.19.116. DuckDuckGo will be integrated in the Brave Android and iOS apps in the first quarter of 2018.

Under the partnership, when you open a private tab on Brave - the equivalent of opening an Incognito tab on Google - you'll get the option to make DuckDuckGo your default search engine. 

Many popular sites host as many as 70 trackers, following you around the web and collecting information about your habits. Brave, by default, stops ads and trackers and its private tabs are not logged in History or in browsing data.

DuckDuckGo browser extension

You can set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine and add the DuckDuckGo browser extension to Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari and Microsoft Edge. Below are the links for each extension. Click the one that applies to your browser(s).

For each of those browsers, you can also add DuckDuckGo as your default search engine directly from the homepage using the address bar. 

Go to DuckDuckGo, right-click the address in the address bar, select "Edit search engines" and find DuckDuckGo. You can now set this as your default search engine. 

You can also download the DuckDuckGo Android app or iOS App.

Source: This article was published alphr.com By Abigail Beall

Published in Search Engine

Search engines are a sourcers best friend, but how do you know when to use what search engine and what type of search to perform? A search will pull up almost anything you ask it to do as long as you know how to ask the right questions. The key to a successful search query is knowing what’s available and knowing exactly what you want without having to pour over pages and pages of useless results. Using search engines to find your ideal candidate will help cut out all of the noise by using them correctly.

Using search engines to find your ideal candidate

Not all searches or search engines are made equal. Understanding the fundamentals of search engines and when to use which one is critical when it comes to finding candidates in the most efficient way possible.  

Understanding the power of a Google Search

We all probably use this search engine several times a day, but do you know how to leverage a search to pinpoint what you’re looking for? There are two popular types of search strings that most sourcers are using when it comes to using Google. Both Boolean and X-ray searches will give you a boost in your searching endeavors.

Boolean involves using terms like AND OR NOT in your Google search to limit or broaden what you’re looking for. So, searching for “copy editors” -jobs -Nashville would exclude the term jobs and the results of candidates who live in Nashville, while (“copy editors” OR writers) would give you candidates with editing skills as well as those who may only have writing skills.

Check out some helpful hints from Google:

Common search techniques

Search social media

Put @ in front of a word to search social media. For example: @twitter.

Search for a price

Put in front of a number. For example: camera $400.

Search hashtags

Put in front of a word. For example: #throwbackthursday

Exclude words from your search

Put - in front of a word you want to leave out. For example, jaguar speed -car

Search for an exact match

Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example, "tallest building".

Search for wildcards or unknown words

Put a * in your word or phrase where you want to leave a placeholder. For example, "largest * in the world".

Search within a range of numbers

Put .. between two numbers. For example, camera $50..$100.

Combine searches

Put “OR” between each search query. For example,  marathon OR race.

Search for a specific site

Put “site:” in front of a site or domain. For example, site:youtube.com or site:.gov.

Search for related sites

Put “related:” in front of a web address you already know. For example, related:time.com.

X-ray allows you to utilize a more powerful search engine (like Google) to search a website (like LinkedIn) whose search function may not be as thorough. You can give it a Google to see how to format your X-ray search. site:linkedin.com/in

search.png

Custom Search Engines

Another benefit to using Google over other search engines is their ability to provide a custom search engine. If you’re tired of writing out the same string of criteria time and time again, Google has provided this type of search engine that allows you to set up and refine your search in one easy location.

{youtube}Qd9z48Bo8ZA{/youtube}

Bing Matters!

Google may be the most popular choice when choosing a search engine, but it’s important also to give others a chance as well. Results from each of these sources will be displayed differently and can bring up different results that allow you to see what another may have failed to show you. Make sure you check out the Boolean and X-ray functions of whatever search engine you are using as they may need to be formatted differently.

The reason we pick out Bing as a contender is that all of your popular platforms such as Yahoo, Altavista, and MSN all run off Bing’s search engine (Fun Fact circa 2010). There are some nuances to understand when working with Bing that doesn’t necessarily work when it comes to Google. For instance:

inurl: is something that works well in Google, but doesn’t work in Bing search engine because it was deemed as a “mass data mining tool” back in 2007. It’s long since been retired in Bing and never seen again. Instead, you’ll want to use a more friendly search string such as intitle:recruitment. This type of search string is going to look for the letters “recruitment” in either the title a web page. It also works in Google and most other search engines. This allows you to search for specific titles within a certain website using Bing’s search engine.

Take a look at the X-ray Search in Bing (PRO TIP – In Bing, you have to use the parentheses):

bing.png

Others

DuckDuckGo – The key feature of DuckDuckGo is that it’s a private search engine and doesn’t track your search history, like Google.

Dogpile – Dogpile has been around for decades and is still an excellent metasearch engine that all sourcers should consider.

Yandex – From Russia, with tons of love, this is one of the most popular and widely used search engines in the world!

Search engines are beautiful things. But learning to use them beyond looking up a single term is imperative if you want to remain a productive and efficient sourcer. Let the search engine do the brunt of the work for you, so you can focus on honing in on finding that perfect fit for the job. We know which is your favorite, but humor us anyway, Google or Bing? Go!

Source: This article was published sourcecon.com By Shannon Pritchett

Published in Search Engine

DuckDuckGo - What Can You Do With It?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that offers quite a few useful features for Web searchers; add-ons, streamlined shortcuts, and "zero-click info", i.e., instant answers depending on the nature of the search query. Here are ten different things you probably didn't know you could accomplish with DuckDuckGo, anything from a stopwatch to discovering movies with Chuck Norris (yes, really!).

What is DuckDuckGo?
DuckDuckGo is a great search engine that delivers effective, fast, relevant results, and is especially attractive if you're keeping track of how information is gathered about you online.

  • DuckDuckGo offers a few features that are worth a second look for the savvy Web searcher. For example:
  • DuckDuckGo's results pages are not paginated, making it easy to scroll down and find what you're looking for quickly.
  • Favicons (the small images that show up in address bar, unique to each site) are displayed next to search results for instant recognition of your favorite sites.

Instant answers, called "zero-click info", show up delineated by a red outline at the top of your results, depending on what your search query is.
DuckDuckGo gives searchers the ability to search within any site, using either the dropdown menu next to the main search box, or the "bang" search shortcut (an exclamation point used in tandem with the name of the Web site). There are hundreds of DuckDuckGo bang shortcuts, covering a wide multitude of sites varying in topics from Research to Entertainment.

In addition to advanced site search, DuckDuckGo offers what they call goodies, an intriguing array of all kinds of search shortcuts, anything from special keyboard shortcuts to specialized cheat sheets.

DuckDuckGo and Privacy
In addition to the shortcuts given above, DuckDuckGo offers what they call goodies, an intriguing array of all kinds of search shortcuts, anything from special keyboard shortcuts to specialized cheat sheets. Here's more about their increasingly more popular stance on privacy:

"DuckDuckGo prevents search leakage by default. Instead, when you click on a link on our site, we route (redirect) that request in such a way so that it does not send your search terms to other sites. The other sites will still know that you visited them, but they will not know what search you entered beforehand......DuckDuckGo takes the approach to not collect any personal information. The decisions of whether and how to comply with law enforcement requests, whether and how to anonymize data, and how to best protect your information from hackers are out of our hands. Your search history is safe with us because it cannot be tied to you in any way."

Privacy is becoming more of an issue for many people as the Internet continues to evolve. If you are concerned with privacy and you enjoy a simple, uncluttered interface with plenty of shortcuts, then DuckDuckGo would probably be a good choice for you as a search engine.

Stopwatch

stopwatch duckduckgo
Need to time something - a cooking turkey, how long it takes you to finish that spreadsheet, maybe do a few laps? You can do that with DuckDuckGo; simply type "stopwatch" into the search bar and you're good to go (literally).

Quick word definitions
define duckduckgo
Quick dictionary definitions are only two words away with DuckDuckGo; just type "define" plus the word you're searching for, and instant definitions will be returned to you.

Find information about your favorite movie
movies duckduckgo
Sure, you can find information about movies with DuckDuckGo, simply by typing in the name of your favorite film. However, perhaps you want to find a movie that includes a particular actor or director. Just type "movies with Chuck Norris" or "movies directed by Mike Nichols" and you'll get a list of instant answers.

Get a quick weather reportweather duckduckgo
Local weather or weather halfway around the world, either way, you'll be able to find it easily with DuckDuckGo. The search engine automatically determines where you are located for the local weather; if you're looking for weather in another town, city, or country, simply type the place name and weather; i.e., "Chicago Illinois weather".

Search for your favorite music
music duckduckgo
DuckDuckGo gives searchers the ability to search within SoundCloud, an online streaming music service, for virtually any musical artist. Just type in what you're looking for plus the word "soundcloud," i.e., "daft punk soundcloud," and start listening.

Find your favorite recipe
recipes duckduckgo
Need to impress someone with your culinary skills? Try looking for recipes here at DuckDuckGo with ingredients you already have on hand. For example: "salmon recipes", or "quinoa recipes", or "Christmas recipes". All come back with impressive results.

Convert something easily
conversion duckduckgo
Need to figure out ounces to grams, feet to yards, or inches to centimeters? Type in what you'd like to convert and DuckDuckGo will automatically calculate that for you. Example: "8oz to grams".

Local attractions
local duckduckgo
Whether you're looking for something in your local area that you haven't tried yet, or you're in a new city and you're unfamiliar with what's available, this particular DuckDuckGo feature can come in handy. Remember, this search engine automatically picks up where you are located, so if you want to find restaurants in your area, just type in "restaurants near me", 'bars near me", etc.

Find an image
images duckduckgo
DuckDuckGo promises Web searchers that it will not collect, store, or share personal information, and it goes to great lengths to back up those promises. In fact, one of the most popular DuckDuckGo features are their privacy settings - they don't keep track of what you're searching for. This can come in particularly handy if you're looking for images like "images of cats wearing sweaters".

Find a video
videos duckduckgo
There are literally millions of videos on the Web, and it can get somewhat overwhelming when you try to search for something specific. DuckDuckGo tries to limit that frustration by providing quick shortcuts to popular video searches; i.e., "jimmy fallon videos".

Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Wendy Boswell

Published in Search Engine

Privacy search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage are becoming increasingly popular. They usually leverage the big search engines in order to return results, but proxy search requests so that Google or Yahoo or Microsoft do not know who made the search. In other words, these see only that the search query came from the privacy search engine.

These privacy search engines promise to not log your IP address or any searches you make. Does this sound good to you? Good. The next question, then, is which privacy search engine to use…

Why privacy search engines?

The problem with most search engines is that they spy on you. This is their business model – to learn as much about you as possible, in order deliver highly targeted advertising direct to your browser window.

Google has even recently dropped its moratorium on combining what it learns by scanning your emails with what it learns about you through your searches. All the better to spy on you. Information typically collected and stored each time you make a search includes:

  • Your IP address
  • Date and time of query
  • Query search terms
  • Cookie ID – this cookie is deposited in your browser’s cookie folder, and uniquely identifies your computer. With it, a search engine provider can trace a search request back to your computer

This information is usually transmitted to the requested web page, and to the owners of any third party advertising banners displayed on that page. As you surf around the internet, advertisers build up a (potentially highly embarrassing) profile of you.

Of course, if Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, etc., know lots about you, this information can be (and often is) handed over to the police and the NSA.

Google Transparency Report on the number of User Data Requests received, and the number (at least partially) acceded to

Indeed, it was only recently that evidence emerged showing Yahoo works hand in glove with the NSA to betray its users to the intelligence service.  Naughty, naughty.

The filter bubble

An added benefit of using a search engine that does not track you is that it avoids the “filter bubble” effect. Most search engines use your past search terms (and things you “Like” on social networks) to profile you. They can then return results they think will interest you.

This can result in only receiving search returns that agree with your point of view, This locks you into a “filter bubble,” where you do not get to see alternative viewpoints and opinions because they have been downgraded in your search results.

Not only does this deny you access to the rich texture and multiplicity of human input, but it can also be very dangerous as it can confirm prejudices, and prevent you from seeing the “bigger picture”.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo Privacy Search Engines

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • Looks great
  • Discrete non-targeted ads
  • Bangs
  • Contextual filters
  • CONS
  • US company
  • Uses Amazon servers
  • Yahoo results 

DuckDuckGo is “The Search Engine that Vows Not to Track You.” Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo has stated that “if the FBI comes to us, we have nothing to tie back to you.”

It is a US-based company, and is the most popular and high-profile of the privacy search engines. Searches are primarily sourced via Yahoo, with whom DuckDuckGo has a strong relationship.

This is very worrying given recent revelations about its ties to the NSA,  but DuckDuckGo continues to promise that it does not collect or share personal information.

Aesthetics

DuckDuckGo sports a clean interface. I find its red, grey, and white styling and cutesy logo attractive and fun, although this is, of course, a matter of personal taste.

Search results

  • DuckDuckGo offers search suggestions as you type in a query.
  • Search returns are very fast. This includes image and video search returns.
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Search filter categories include Web, Images, Videos, Products, Meanings, Definition, and News. Displayed filters are adaptive, and DDG will initially show results under the filter category that it feels is most appropriate to the search terms. Depending the filter selected, DuckDuckGo may display image, video or Wikipedia previews at either the top of the search page, or in a box to the right of the results.
  • Ads may also be displayed to the right of search results. Paid ads are clearly marked as such, are discreet, and are never mixed in with the “pure” search returns.
  • Image results, however, can only be filtered by size (Small, Medium. Large).
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. YouTube videos can be played directly from DDG the website, but a warning alerts you to the fact that these will be tracked by YouTube/Google.
  • Results can also be filtered by country and date (Anytime, Past Day, Past Week or Past Month).
  • Subjectively, I find the quality of DuckDuckGo’s search returns to be very good. I have seen complaints, however, by others who do not find them as good as those of Google. This is one reason why “bangs” are so useful (see below).

Here we can see both the contextual filter in actual (auto-direct to Products) and DDG’s discrete ads

How it makes money

DuchDuckGo displays ads alongside its search results. These are sourced from Yahoo as part of the Yahoo-Microsoft search alliance. By default, when advertisers sign up for a Bing Ads account, their ads automatically enter rotation into all of Bing’s distribution channels, including DuckDuckGo

Importantly, however, these ads are untargeted (they are displayed based on your search terms). And as already noted, there are clearly marked and are displayed separately from the “pure” search returns.

DuckDuckGo is part of the affiliate programs of Amazon and eBay. When you visit those sites through DuckDuckGo and subsequently make a purchase, it receives a small commission. No personally identifiable information is given out in this way, however, and this does not influence search result rankings.

Privacy

DuckDuckGo states that does not collect or share personal information.

  • An affiliate code may be added to some eCommerce sites (e.g. Amazon & eBay), but this does not include any personally identifiable information.
  • Being based in the US means that DuckDuckGo is subject to government pressure and laws such as FISA and the Patriot Act. This means that the US government could mandate that DuckDuckGo start logging its users’ activities. And prevent the company from alerting users to this fact via a Gag order.
  • DuckDuckGo uses Amazon servers. Again, this is a US company, subject to pressure from the US government.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has contacted me regarding this article. Please see the Update at the bottom of this page for his answers to some  criticisms expressed here.

Features

In addition to its rather nifty contextual filters, the most striking feature of DuckDuckGo is “bangs”.

These allow you to search other websites quickly and easily. For example, typing !guk before a search query will return Google UK search results, and typing !a will search the Amazon store for you.

Note that bangs take you to the website in question. The searches are proxied, but if you are signed into Google (for example), then Google will know who you are and will record the search terms.

My thoughts

DuckDuckGo is, in my opinion, the best looking and most user-friendly privacy search engine out there. This makes it great to use, although some may prefer Google to the primarily Yahoo-based search results.

Bangs are a killer feature, however, and one that go a long way towards compensating for this issue. Just remember to sign out of your Google account before using a Google bang!

It is little surprise, then, that DuckDuckGo is so popular. But the fact that it is a US company should sound a note of caution.

Startpage (and Ixquick)

Startpage

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • Non-targeted ads
  • Can proxy webpages
  • Based in Netherlands
  • Google results
  • CONS
  • Runs servers in the US (but can you choose non-US servers)

Startpage and Ixquick are run by the same company. In the past, Startpage returned Google results, while Ixquick returned results from a number of other search engines, but not Google. The two services have now been combined, and both return identical Google results.

Although no longer actively supported, the old Ixquick metasearch engine is still available at Ixquick.eu. Interestingly, despite no longer being actively supported, Startpage has recently removed Yahoo results from the legacy search engine. This is in response to news that Yahoo has been helping the NSA spy on its users.

Aesthetics

The cloudy blue sky default theme doesn’t really do it for me, although this can be changed in the settings. Overall, there is nothing wrong with how Startpage looks, but I much prefer DuckDuckGo’s red-themed cutesiness.

Search results

  • Suggestions are not offered as you type.
  • Search returns are fast, but perhaps not as fast as those of DuckDuckGo (this is a purely subjective assessment).
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Searches can be only filtered by Web, Images and Video categories. An advanced search option is available that allows you to specify a variety of search parameters, and you can filter results by time.
  • Ads are displayed above search results. These are clearly marked as ads, and are not mixed with the “pure” search results.
  • There are no additional filters for Images.
  • Video results display an image preview. YouTube can be played directly on the Startpage website, although you are warned that this is not private.
  • Search results are pulled directly from Google, and are therefore very good. This does mean, however, that information censored by Google is also censored from these returns.

startpage-1

Ads are more prominent than with DDG, but the ability to proxy webpages is great

How it makes money

Much like DuckDuckGo, Startpage makes money from ads and affiliate links. These ads are untargeted, clearly marked, and not mixed in with the “real” search returns. They are somewhat more prominently displayed than with DuckDuckGo, however.

Privacy

  • Startpage is based in the Netherlands, which has strong privacy laws.
  • It runs servers collocated in the US. These are owned and controlled by Startpage, and I am assured that they are secure against government snooping. If this worries you, however…
  • It is possible to use non-US servers only (or non-EU servers).
  • Webpages returned from searches can be proxied (see below).
  • Startpage is the only privacy search engine that has been independently audited.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Features

Startpage’s killer feature is that, rather than visiting a website directly, you can proxy the connection. If you select this option, then a proxy server run by Startpage sits between your computer and the website.

This prevents the website from knowing your true IP address (much like a VPN), and from being able to use web tracking and fingerprinting technologies to identify and track you.  The downside is that pages load more slowly, since StartPage must retrieve the contents and redisplay them.

I must say that this is a terrific feature, and one that can greatly improve your privacy. Given its downside, however, you probably won’t want to use it all the time.

My thoughts

Startpage is not as pretty or user-friendly as DuckDuckGo. But thanks to being based in the Netherlands and having nothing to do with Yahoo, it should be more resistant to NSA spying than its US-based rivals long (if you specify non-US servers!). And  the ability to proxy web pages is an absolute doozy.

 SearX

Search

  • PROS
  • Can be self-hosted
  • Choose which search engines to leverage
  • Can proxy webpages
  • No ads
  • CONS
  • Public instances could be logged

Less well-known, but fast gaining traction with the security community is SearX. Not only is SearX fully open source, but it is easy to setup and run your own instance of it.

There is an official public SearX instance, or you can use one of many volunteer-run public instances. But what SearX is really about is running your own instance. This makes SearX the only metasearch engine where you can be 100 percent sure that no logs are kept!

Aesthetics

I would describe SearX as functional looking, rather than pretty. That said, the layout is clean, and results are displayed clearly. It is possible for hosts to customize their instances somewhat, although most instances look and feel fairly similar to the official template.

Search results

  • By default, SearX leverages results from a large number of search engines.

searx-search-engines

In Preferences, users can change which search engines are used

  • Search suggestions are not offered as you type, but are displayed to the right of your search returns.
  • Searches can be filtered by the following categories: General, Files, Images, IT, Map (using OpenStreetMap), Music, News, Science, Social Media and Videos. They can also be filtered by time.
  • There are no ads
  • Wikipedia entries are displayed to the right of search results
  • There are no additional filters for Images, although a preview is displayed when they are clicked on.
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. Clicking on a video takes you to the website it is hosted on (for example YouTube or Vimeo).
  • Search results can be downloaded as a .csv, .json., or rss file.
  • As with Starpage, search results can be viewed proxied. This will “break” many websites, but does allow for a very high level of privacy.
  • Search results are as good as the engine’s selected. The official instance uses Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and a host of other first-rate engines by default, so the results are excellent.

How it makes money

SearX is an open source project run by volunteers. On the official instance there is no on-site advertising and no affiliate marketing.

Because it is open source, individual operators of public SearX instances are free to introduce their own finance models. But I have yet to find a single instance that is not 100 percent ad and affiliate-free.

Privacy

  • There is no way to know if a public SearX instance operator is logging your searches. And this includes the official instance.
  • That said, there is no way to guarantee that DDG, Startpage, or any other “private” search engines are not logging your searches either…
  • If you are serious about privacy, therefore, you should set up your own SearX instance. In fact, setting up your own SearX instance on a server that only you directly control is the only way currently available to guarantee that your searches are not logged.
  • This makes self-hosted SearX instances by far the most secure search engines available. Documentation for installing your own SearX instance is available here.
  • For the casual user, public SearX instances are unlikely to log your searches, and are much less likely to be monitored by the likes of the NSA than the other services mentioned here.
  • Just remember, though, that there is no way to be sure of this.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report for searx.me (the official instance): A. Note that each SearX instance (public or private) is different in this respect.

searx-reults

The are no ads, search suggestions are listed to the right, and as with Startpage, you can proxy webpages

Features

As with Startpage, the ability to proxy websites is a killer feature if you can live with it breaking many websites that you visit.

My thoughts

For serious tech-savvy privacy-heads, a self-hosted SearX instance is the way to go. Simply put, nothing else is in the same league when it comes to knowing for certain that your searches are not logged.

More casual users may also be surprised at how well the software works on public instances. My personal feelings are that these are much less likely to log your searches or be spied on by the US and other governments than DuckDuckGo, Startpage or Disconnect. But this is purely speculation.

Disconnect Search

Disconnect Search

  • PROS
  • No logs or tracking
  • No ads
  • Choice of search engines
  • CONS
  • US company (so beware the NSA)
  • Uses Amazon servers (so beware the NSA)

Before writing a Disconnect review, we knew the US-based company had made a name for itself with some excellent open source privacy-oriented browser extensions. One of these is the open source Disconnect Search add-on for Firefox and Chrome (a non-open source Android app is also available).

This browser add-on is still the primary way to use Disconnect Search, although a JavaScript web app is available. This mimics the browser extension, and allow you to perform web searches from the Disconnect Search web page.

Disconnect also markets a Premium VPN and online security app, with Disconnect Search functionality built-in. Please see my Disconnect review for more details on this.

Search results

  • Searches are usually made from the browser add-on.
  • You can select which of three search engines to query: Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo (default).
  • Unlike the other privacy metasearch engines discussing this article, Disconnect does not display search returns on its own website. Results are simply routed through Disconnect’s servers to hide their origin, and are then opened in the selected search engine’s webpage.
  • Incognito mode searches are supported.

disconnect-search-1

The browser extension

How it makes money

Disconnect markets a Premium product (see review), but the Disconnect Search browser extension is free. It hides your IP when making searches, but then sends you direct to the selected search engine.  This means that Disconnect performs no advertising or affiliate marketing of its own when making a search.

Privacy

  • Disconnect is a US company, and is therefore not a good choice for the more NSA-phobic out there.
  • The browser extension is open source, but search requests can still be logged by Disconnect, as they are made through its servers.
  • Disconnect hosts its service on Amazon servers.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A (this is for the Disonnect.me website).

My thoughts

The Disconnect Search browser extension provides a quick and easy way hide your true identity whilst making searches using your favorite search engine.  The fact that Disconnect is US-based, however, is a major issue.

Honorary mention: Peekier

Peekier is a new no-logs search engine. There is not enough information about this service currently available for me to give it a proper assessment. It is worth mentioning, however, because of the attractive and innovative way that it displays search results.

Results are displayed as large thumbnail previews of returned webpages

In a field were where, if we are honest, most search engines look pretty similar, it is great to see a different approach. I therefore think it worth flagging up Peekier, and keeping an eye on the service to see how it develops.

Privacy Search Engines Conclusion

Using any of these services engines will greatly improve your search privacy. Crucially, your searches will not be recorded in order to build to help a profile that is used to sell you stuff. All the search engines I looked at in this article are easy to use and return good results.

DuckDuckGo, in particular, is extremely user-friendly. This makes it a great service for transitioning away from Google.

Will these services protect your searches from government surveillance (and the NSA in particular)? In the case of US companies, it is safest to assume not. But unless you are doing something very illegal, this may not concern you (although it should).

Startpage is non-US based, has been independently audited, and allows you to access websites with a great deal of privacy thanks to its proxy feature. It is therefore a much better choice for privacy-heads than DuckDuckGo.

Public SearX instances are less likely to be monitored than other higher-profile search engines, but they may be. It is also likely that you will know nothing about their operators. Running your own SearX instance on hardware directly under your control, however, is an extremely secure and private solution. And is therefore only one that I can recommend to serious privacy fanatics.

The fact the SearX has a great interface and returns on-the-button results from all the major search engines is the icing on the cake.

Update

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has contacted me regarding this article. It is his firm (and I believe genuine) belief that DDG is as secure and private as a search engine can be (barring one that is self-hosted). And that my concerns about it being a US company and over its partnership with Yahoo are largely unfounded.

Central to his argument is that DDG keeps no logs. This means that it cannot be subpoenaed to provide what it does not have, and makes it irrelevant who it partners with. As no information exists about DDG’s users anyway.

Gabriel also pointed out the legal protections US citizens enjoy against government spying that are not afforded to other nationals, and that DuckDuckGo operates non-US servers. Users outside the US will mostly be directed to these when performing searches.

Now. I will go on record as saying that I think being a US company is a serious threat to privacy. This article is not the place to discuss such issues in detail, but look out for an upcoming article where I will dive into the subject head first.

Source: This article was published bestvpn.com By Douglas Crawford

Published in Search Engine

DuckDuckGo has almost doubled its popularity in the past year, giving it the title of 400th most popular website worldwide

Let’s face it, Google probably knows everything about you.

Whether it’s through the search engine, internet browser, phone or emails, the service is learning new things about you each day. In fact, last year, Google launched an opt-in service known as “My Activity”, a page where you can see everything Google has learnt about you in one place. 

But if you want this to change, there is an alternative, and it’s growing in popularity. Describing itself as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”, DuckDuckGo promises not to collect any information about its users, including their IP address.

The search engine was launched in 2008 by founder Gabriel Weinberg, who funded it himself until it secured investment with Union Square Ventures in 2011. Since then, the company has moved from strength to strength.

According to figures from the website Alexa, DuckDuckGo has almost doubled its popularity in the past year, giving it the title of 400th most popular website worldwide. On Monday, the website almost reached 19 million direct searches, a figure that has shown a gradual increase throughout the year.

Unlike other search engines, when you click on a link through DuckDuckGo the site you are sent to knows nothing about the words you used to find it. “What you search for is your own business and we’d like to keep it that way,” the company says.

The search engine is also aimed at providing a quicker answer, requiring fewer clicks. It uses features called Instant Answers, which provide an answer without leaving the app, and !bangs, which take you straight to a particular website.

The website also offers a service that automatically changes the address of well-known websites to encrypted versions, if you click through its search engine.

It also offers fewer adverts. “Less clutter, less spam, fewer ads and an overall cleaner design,” the company says. “We can do this since we just focus on web search and therefore don't have to promote other services on our results pages.”

It advertises based on the keywords a user searches for, meaning it does not need to collect any other information to create lucrative advertising. 

So if you are worried about giving away personal information, give it a go. You can add an extension onto Google Chrome or Safari, or download the Android or iOS App.

Source: This article was published alphr.com

Published in Search Engine

Check out these four tips to make the most of DuckDuckGo’s privacy and security features | Shutterstock


DuckDuckGo is a fantastic search engine if you’re fed up with the spying eyes of Google and other search providers. The service vows to never collect information about you and certainly never sell your searches to advertisers.

While that’s enticing in itself, there are features within DuckDuckGo you can take advantage of to enhance your privacy and security even more. The search engine is highly customizable, so that puts the control in good hands: your own. Make the most of DuckDuckGo with these useful tips to boost your privacy online and intensify your security.

1. Turn on WOT Icons

Enabling WOT icons in your search results means you’ll be able to stay away from potentially dangerous websites. WOT stands for Web of Trust, which is a service that analyzes the possible security threats from each website. A green circle means it’s in the clear (safe), yellow means take caution before visiting the website and red means avoid at all cost.

duckduckgo-privacy-security-wot-cloud-redirect-directions-6

Since DuckDuckGo has this functionality built in, you can turn this on from the Advanced Settings. Click the Menu icon at the top right of the DuckDuckGo homepage and choose Advanced Settings. Click the Appearance tab, then scroll all the way down to find the WOT Icons option. Click Off to then turn it on and be sure to click Save and Exit to apply the changes.

duckduckgo-privacy-security-wot-cloud-redirect-directions-5

Tip: All tips in this article will require you to first click the Menu icon and choose Advanced Settings so keep that in mind for later.

2. Ditch Google Maps

If you’re particularly anti-Google and don’t want any aspect of your online life tracked, then you probably don’t want DuckDuckGo using Google Maps to find you directions. Depending on your current settings, however, this might be the case.

duckduckgo-privacy-security-wot-cloud-redirect-directions-2

To ensure that DuckDuckGo uses a different provider for directions, head into your DuckDuckGo Advanced Settings to pick something different. Under the General tab, scroll to find Directions Source.

duckduckgo-privacy-security-wot-cloud-redirect-directions-1

Then pick your preference: either Bing Maps, Google Maps, HERE Maps or OpenStreetMap. Apple Maps is also available if you’re using a Mac.

3. Prevent Websites from Knowing How You Got There

DuckDuckGo has a nifty little feature called Redirect. With Redirect enabled, websites won’t be able to track which search term you used to land on the page. This is because when you click a link, DuckDuckGo temporarily redirects to a subdomain before bringing you to the website. (You won’t even notice.)

duckduckgo-privacy-security-wot-cloud-redirect-directions-3

Note: While this prevents the websites from gathering information about your search, it can still gather your information just from the browser itself. Check out our guides for enabling Do Not Track in Google Chrome and Internet Explorer to stop this snooping activity as well.

Head to the Advanced Settings on DuckDuckGo, click the Privacy tab then click to ensure that Redirect is on to enable this feature. Click Save and Exit to apply.

4. Anonymous Cloud Save

Since DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect information about you, that means it can’t always recognize that it’s you performing your search. However, if you’re one to tweak with settings (like the ones above) or the theme, you might want to keep these settings in sync across multiple devices. That way you don’t have to go back and make the changes every time.

duckduckgo-privacy-security-wot-cloud-redirect-directions-8

DuckDuckGo’s Cloud Save feature is completely anonymous, so it still won’t collect information about you. When you have all your settings lined up that you want to sync, just click Save Settings under Cloud Save in the Advanced Settings. This will prompt you to Enter a pass phrase that you’ll need to remember for the future to restore your data later. Click Save and you’re all set.

duckduckgo-privacy-security-wot-cloud-redirect-directions-7

Now, when you want to restore your DuckDuckGo preferences, you can do so in the same spot: click Load Settings under Advanced Settings and enter in that pass phrase.

Source: This article was published on guidingtech.com By 

Published in Search Engine

Of course you know about Google, Yahoo, Bing and AOL, but have you heard of the DuckDuckGo search engine? Well, it’s an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the “filter bubble” of personalized search results.

Published in Search Engine

I’ve heard about DuckDuckGo a few times over the years, mostly as a name uttered in hushed whispers behind closed doors – “You don’t have to use Google. There is another way.”

As far as I knew, it was a small, scrappy start-up that had nevertheless managed to make its mark in the world of search, dominated as it is by the vast and all-knowing Google.

Frustration with Google might be at a high at the moment with tax-dodging, increasing dominance of search (and now the mobile web) and removing ads on the right hand side at the expense of organic search results.

Therefore I was intrigued by the comments from DuckDuckGo fans on Jason Tabeling’s article on whether you should be paying more attention to DuckDuckGo, urging people to switch to DuckDuckGo and discover the ‘real internet’. How would searches from such a small engine stack up against Google’s, in everyday situations? Would using DuckDuckGo be an exercise in frustration, or a revelation?

I decided to test the waters, using it as my ‘go-to’ search engine every day for a week.

Privacy and customisability

The first thing I did was to install the app on my phone. DuckDuckGo has native apps for both iOS and Android, and compared to most apps which oblige you to sign away your first-born child before installing, its requirements are refreshingly simple.

A screenshot from the DuckDuckGo app installation on Android, which reads, "DuckDuckGo Search and Stories needs access to Photos/Media/Files". There are no other installation requirements.

Of course, this is DuckDuckGo’s main ethos: it “doesn’t track you”, as the desktop version of the search engine likes to remind you, and protecting your privacy is front and centre of its concerns. The mobile app has a straightforward and flexible set of privacy settings, including an option to enable Tor (this requires installing a proxy app like Orbot).

Compare this with Google’s rather lacklustre ‘Accounts & privacy’ settings:

A screenshot comparing the DuckDuckGo mobile app's privacy settings (left) side by side with Google's (right). DuckDuckGo's list of settings includes, "Enable Javascript", "Save" or "Clear" Recents, "Clear Cookies", "Clear Browser Cache", "Automatic Crash Report" and "Enable Tor". By contrast, Google's Accounts and Privacy settings only include options to access Google Account, Nicknames and Google Activity controls, turn on Safe Search, search on Google.com and turn on high contrast text for accessibility.

The desktop version also boasts a range of privacy options, including the option to prevent sharing your search with sites you click on (a shame for anyone who tracks analytics, but great for privacy-focused users) and the ability to save your settings anonymously to the cloud.

DuckDuckGo lets you customise it in a whole variety of other ways, including changing the theme and modifying different parts of the appearance, which I had fun playing around with. You can even opt to turn off ads, and DDG helps you to make up for this by giving you ways you can spread the word instead.

I couldn’t help thinking that Google tries to customise your experience of using its search engine by gathering vast amounts of data and trying to intuit what you want, whereas DuckDuckGo simply lets you choose. 

Fun with features

So now that I was all set up, how did it deliver with search? The first test came when I wanted to look up more information about a story a friend had mentioned on Facebook, about a baby dolphin dying after it was pulled from the ocean and passed around for selfies.

I couldn’t quite believe it was true, but a quick Duck (DuckDuckGo’s equivalent of the verb ‘Google’, though I’m not sure whether this one is going to catch on) confirmed that it was:

A screenshot from DuckDuckGo search results on desktop for the term "baby dolphin selfies". The screenshot shows a carousel of recent news stories with headlines telling the story of a baby dolphin who died after being pulled from the ocean and passed around by tourists to take selfies. The search results below show more similar news stories from different sites.

DuckDuckGo aims to win users over by being helpful without being intrusive. So it won’t amass vast stores of data in order to be unerringly, creepily accurate in predicting what you’re after, but it will, say, present you with a carousel of recent news stories on the topic you just searched.

One such useful feature is Instant Answers, which highlights information designed to give you a quick answer to your search query at the top of the page, similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph or Bing’s Snapshot Search and Autocomplete.

It’s a great idea in theory but falls down a little in its coverage of topics. A search for “Who is Thomas Jefferson”, for example, summons a little Wikipedia bio and a huge range of ‘related topics’ at the side, ranging from “burials at Monticello” to “American deists”; whereas a search for “what is a leap year” just returns a regular results page.

A screenshot of the DuckDuckGo instant answers result for "Who is Thomas Jefferson?" In a grey box at the top is a photograph of the man accompanied by a biography from Wikipedia. Below are search results (including an ad for a book about Thomas Jefferson on Amazon) while to the right is a long list of Related Topics.

DuckDuckGo is an open source project, so Instant Answers, like many of its features, is community contributed: if you spot an area that doesn’t have an Instant Answer associated with it, you can get involved and add it yourself.

This has its advantages and disadvantages; on one hand, it gives users a practical way to improve the search engine in ways that are relevant to them. On the other, it requires Instant Answers to be added and refined one by one, which takes time and can be frustrating for users who just want to access the information they need in that moment, with the minimum of effort.

I didn’t get to truly put many of DuckDuckGo’s features through their paces with just a week of using the search engine, but it gave me a sense of how most of them could be used.

I enjoyed the way that search results scroll vertically into infinity instead of requiring you to click onto the next page to see more. It feels effortless and gives the impression of diving deeper into a topic, instead of the stigma which tends to surround ‘the second page of results’ on Google.

Then there are ‘!bangs’, a much-touted DuckDuckGo feature, which mystified me when I first saw the little exclamation point next to the search box in DuckDuckGo’s mobile app.

A screenshot of DuckDuckGo's search bar with an exclamation mark entered into it, bringing up a list of "bang" commands that allow the user to search directly within different sites, including eBay, Twitter and Wikipedia.

By typing an exclamation mark and a keyword – usually the website name – followed by your search term, you can search directly within a site from DuckDuckGo. So searching for “!ebay teapot” will take you straight to the search results for “teapot” on eBay.

It’s a neat little time-saver which has benefits for DuckDuckGo as well, as it collects a commission from eBay and Amazon for anything that you purchase from those sites after visiting them through DuckDuckGo.

!bangs work with many more websites than just those two, of course; the list of !bangs is currently over 7,800 sites long, and you can add any site that isn’t already covered by filling in a form. It’s unclear how long these take to process, though – after discovering that Search Engine Watch wasn’t on the list, I submitted it as a !bang, but at the time of writing it isn’t yet up and running.

A screenshot of a filled-in form to submit a new DuckDuckGo !bang for Search Engine Watch, in the Tech category under Blogs. (There really weren't any better categories available).Where DuckDuckGo falls down

When it comes to search engines that aren’t Google, I definitely consider DuckDuckGo to be ahead of the flock. With its unwavering emphasis on privacy, fine-tuned customisation and strong community, it has something genuinely different to offer users instead of just playing catch-up to Google with its features.

But it’s still a search engine that isn’t Google, and in spite of DuckDuckGo’s best efforts to offer a “smarter search”, it’s not able to match Google for sheer accuracy and intuition. A number of times as I researched articles throughout the week, I resorted to Googling something rather than waste any more time trying different keywords on DuckDuckGo.

A photo of a cuddly toy yellow duck which has fallen over onto its sideWhere DuckDuckGo falls down

Part of the problem is likely to be that as a lifelong Google user (except for a brief fling with Ask Jeeves in the very early days), I’ve moulded my search habits to fit with what I know works on Google, and I expect Google’s uncanny levels of accuracy in return.

The best example of this came up while I was researching a piece on what to consider before jumping on a new social media bandwagon for ClickZ. I couldn’t remember what the account verification icons on Vine, the equivalent of Twitter’s ‘blue tick’, were called. So I searched for “Vine green tick” on DuckDuckGo.

After several frustrated attempts and pages of nonsense results about grape vine pests and the comicbook superhero ‘The Tick’, I searched Google for “Vine green tick”. It immediately returned this as the top result:

A screenshot of Google search results for "vine green tick", showing the autocomplete results "how to get Vine verified", "Vine verified hack", "Vine verification code" and "Vine verified emoji". The image results show a number of pictures of vine leaves and one of Vine video screenshots. Below, the top search result reads "Vine quietly adds verified badges for high-profile users".Google: you have to admit, it gets results.

Whether Google used its semantic search techniques to know that I had been spending a lot of time on social networks and reading articles about social media to give the correct context to my search, or whether it was able to use its vast stores of data on what previous users had searched to intuit the right result, it was able to find in one search what DuckDuckGo couldn’t manage in four or five.

The question is, am I indignant enough about Google’s knowledge of my browsing habits (and everyone else’s that feed its all-knowing algorithms) to trade the convenience of instantly finding what I’m after for that extra measure of privacy online?

My assessment of DuckDuckGo after spending a week in the pond is that it’s a search engine for the long term. To get the most out of using it, you have to make a conscious change in your online habits, rather than just expecting to switch one search engine for another and get the same results.

Many of its features require you to actively contribute to the search engine to help make it better; you have to put in what you expect to get out. And you have to sacrifice some of what Google has trained you to expect from a search engine in order to ease yourself out of the filter bubble.

A photograph of a poster (said to be from one of the Google cafeterias) reading "GOOGLE IS WATCHING YOU" with "Google" being the Google logo. The logo also has two eyes in the Os.Does this bother you enough to change your search engine?
Photo by Patrick Barry, some rights reserved.

A lot of people are already bothered enough by what Google (and other huge, omnipresent online entities) has been doing to make the switch. As for me, while I’m not sure whether I’m ready to make the break with Google just yet, I’m listening.

I do think that DuckDuckGo is the only search engine offering something substantially different enough to challenge Google. It’s not backed by a huge corporation, but it doesn’t need to be. Actually, that would defeat the object of it.

Unlike most major search engines whose main offering is, let’s face it, ‘basically Google but slightly worse’, DuckDuckGo offers users genuine privacy, control, customisation, a certain amount of hipster street cred and an opportunity for endless duck puns.

And if you’re still not convinced, take a look at our mega list of alternative search engines to find your favourite.

Source: This article was published searchenginewatch By Rebecca Sentance

Published in Search Engine

Google is undeniably king of the search engine world, but other engines are worth talking about, especially when it comes to privacy. In the second in a series of blog posts reviewing alternative search engines, I find out more about DuckDuckGo.

Following the review of Ecosia in celebration of Earth Day, the next search engine I’m reviewing is DuckDuckGo, so get your disguise on as we’re going incognito. No, literally. This search engine sells itself on its tight privacy controls. With the roll out of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018, privacy is a subject being discussed more and more, and the conversations could lead to consumers becoming more aware of their privacy and data protection rights.

What’s it all about then?

DuckDuckGo vs Google - Dog HidingDuckDuckGo states it will not track your IP address or user agent when you’re searching, nor does it share or collect any personally identifiable information about its users. So if you are concerned about your data being collected, and sold on for marketing purposes, or even used for criminal activities – this might be the search engine for you.

The privacy limits extend to not tracking you, as you go in and out of private browsing mode. You’re staying under the radar. Don’t you worry.

Duck, duck, wild goose chase – how is the search functionality?

You can adjust the settings, much like other search engines, to filter the results you see. You may choose seeing results that are safe, moderate, or no holds barred, to customise it to your preferences. You can further refine results by selecting your country, and by allowing content from a certain time period to appear.

DuckDuckGo vs Google - SERPs - Browser Media

It is interesting to see that the only exact replication of results is where Browser Media sits, nicely in position two. The results are different, but both SERPS are serving helpful results, except both engines did return non-UK businesses on page one – Google returned a Denver based business and DuckDuckGo served up a Delhi and Brisbane based business, as well as the same Denver business:

DuckDuckGo vs Google - SERPs 2 - Browser Media

Because your IP address is not being tracked, no specific location criteria are used in the searches via DuckDuckGo. This means you may not find the coffee shop around the corner, unless you specify where you are looking for said coffee shop within your search query.

Additionally, search history is not taken into account. So, whilst it feels much less creepy than other engines, it also won’t be so tailored to your searching habits. You will see the same page of results as the next person using DuckDuckGo when entering identical search terms.

I’ve been digging around a bit to find out what people think of the results DuckDuckGo returns, and it is a fairly mixed response.

DuckDuckGo vs Google - review - browser media

via sitejabber.com

One comment referred to DuckDuckGo changing the search titles and returning incoherent results. So instead of returning pages showing the price of gold, when the user typed in GLD (the investment symbol for gold), the search title was changed to God.

Other comments referred to small irritations when getting the results back. For example, not listing the number of results found, so the searcher is not helped in regards to whether their search should be expanded or filtered differently. As well, complaints have been made about the engine hijacking results when a user tried to use a different engine. Further to this, ‘apparently’ the engine became incredibly tricky to get rid of, not showing up in the program or app lists on desktops and devices.

On the flipside, the review site has many comments defending DDG, with users stating that they found the results to be appropriate, and it was just a case of learning how to use the engine better. I would tend to agree, queries may simply need a word or two added to serve up better results.

DuckDuckGo vs Google - review 2 - browser media

via sitejabber.com

There was also the usual amount of conspiracy theory talk – suggesting that certain search engines are paying folk to write false negative reviews. Such cynics…

How are they doing?

DuckDuckGo vs Google - number of search queries - browser media

via duckduckgo.com/traffic.html

It is hard to gauge how many users DuckDuckGo has since it does not track personal information…

…but we do know that it received over 16.2 million search queries on Monday 24 April.

Therefore, using some pretty basic maths, I have deduced that DuckDuckGo had 188 searches per second on average that day:

16,249,713 ÷ 86,400 (number of seconds in 24 hours) = 188.08

In comparison, Google averages 40,000 enquiries per second.

DuckDuckGo is placed next to Google Hungary, Croatia, and Nepal in the percentage market share tables – and just below Ask that has 0.14% share.

DuckDuckGo vs Google - DuckDuckGo's marketshare - browser media

via netmarketshare.com

DuckDuckGo vs Google - devices - browser media

Quack to the future – what impact could DuckDuckGo have on marketers?

Data from Google Analytics about DuckDuckGo will not particularly benefit marketers since no useful visitor information is tracked. It means you can’t mark your target audience based on age, gender, nor location, for example.

In addition, the engine is reported as referral traffic, rather than organic, which can be misleading when analysing traffic, but can be changed with an advanced segment. A rule is required to instruct Google Analytics that each time DuckDuckGo is seen as referral traffic, to change the medium to organic. For more on advanced segments, read Libby’s blog post on the subject. For further details specifically about the issue described above, this piece should help.

If you’re interested in paid search, bear in mind that they don’t do remarketing ads. Sponsored ads, much like all of the other engines, will appear at the top of the SERP. However, due to the audience seeing the ads being an unknown, how can anyone be sure the ads are being seen by the right audience? It seems a bit pot luck for my liking.

Although, with the GDPR roll out next year, perhaps this engine is wise not to be keeping records on its users. And if, as a consumer, you’re concerned about your privacy when browsing the internet, and do not want to be tracked when carrying out searches, this engine is the one for you.

This article was published in browsermedia.co.uk

Published in Search Engine
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