DuckDuckGo is a general-purpose internet search engine with a focus on user privacy and experience, founded by the company CEO, Gabriel Weinberg. DuckDuckGo company headquarters are located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The company business plan is to allow users to find the most relevant information related to their search topic, faster, and without all the "garbage" of search result pages found in other search engines. The search engine also does not track its users, thereby respecting their search privacy.
Search Vision and Goals
According to Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo's vision is to provide "Superior search experience and great privacy at the same time." The primary goal of DuckDuckGo is to give users the information they're looking for faster and with less mental effort. The second goal is to help users find related information they might not otherwise have thought of. DuckDuckGo offers links to related topics, and it also has category pages that group topics with similar concepts.
The Pennsylvania-based search startup boasts "less garbage" than the big search engines, and better at avoiding dead-end links.
DuckDuckGo vs Google
The biggest difference between DuckDuckGo and other search engines is that DuckDuckGo does not track its users; it doesn't store search history or record any data that could be used to identify user computers. Other major differences between DuckDuckGo and its primary competitors, Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, include variations in each User Interface, and the algorithms the corporations use to 'fetch' information from the Internet. DuckDuckGo includes Zero-click Information, Category Pages, ambiguous keyword detection, simpler links, topic detection, and overall much less spam; DuckDuckGo provides relevant information, faster. This information includes topic summaries, images, and related topics, and often answers search queries directly.
Search result innovations
The Zero-click Info section, following a search term request, displays a snippet of information from the top result for each specific search. It's intended to provide users the ability to learn about a search topic without having to click the link.
Other unique features include "Category Pages," which group topics about similar concepts, and "Disambiguation Pages" in front of search result pages where applicable. An ambiguous search term with many meanings (for example, "apple"), DuckDuckGo asks the user what meaning they want, and then displays results (and Zero-click Info) that is more targeted to that particular topic. For searches that contain topics within it, DuckDuckGo will detect those topics and similarly adjust search results to target them in particular.
DuckDuckGo attempts to identify spam and parked domains in search results, and omits them. The search engine also uses human policed sources like Wikipedia and Conservapedia, placing links from these sources (note not just to them, but from them), above algorithmically generated links. The CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, explained, "We've gone out and found entries in about a hundred other human-powered sites that are policed for spam. We use their APIs and extract the info. [...] As a result, our links are doubly controlled for spam."
On DuckDuckGo, one can directly search popular websites using commands called !bangs. For example, to see the Wikipedia article on DuckDuckGo, one can type !w DuckDuckGo, and to see the Conservapedia article on DuckDuckGo, one can type !conservapedia DuckDuckGo.
Despite its dedication to user privacy, One America News Network claimed that, through cookies and targeted advertising, the search engine may be tracking users after all, contrary to its claims and despite its innovations.
The platform has also been criticized for not encrypting search terms, which would be complex to implement but should be possible. However, they do offer an optional setting to send search terms by POST, which helps conceal them. Additionally, some have pointed out that using DuckDuckGo still leaves traces on the local computer, such as which terms were searched and which results were viewed. However, this is the case with any web browser, for any website or search engine. This information can be manually purged from the browser, or a private browsing mode (if offered) can automatically delete this information.
It is also important to keep in mind that DuckDuckGo is not, and can not be, a complete privacy solution. For example, the service still knows its user's IP addresses and browser fingerprints, ISPs can see what websites their users are connecting with, and to some extent, determine what they are doing. It is best to consider this, and any privacy-centric search engine, as one of several parts to securing one's privacy online.
Embrace of Google-style censorship
In March 2022, DuckDuckGo founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg announced that he would begin censoring and suppressing searches on the search engine - akin to what Google does - based on false liberal claims of "Russian disinformation" and labeling of content that liberals do not like as such, which has resulted in the censoring and suppression of conservative content and the banning of the Gateway Pundit news site based on those false claims; Weinberg dodged questions from outraged DuckDuckGo users on Twitter by making flimsy excuses for his actions (while in a New York Times hit piece which smeared DuckDuckGo users as "conspiracy theorists", Weinberg admitted that he now uses his search engine as a scraper of results from the Microsoft-owned Bing search engine and that his company now acts as a snitch for Bing, as well as discriminating for employment with the company based on race and sexual preference while disregarding work experience and merit), but the backlash against Weinberg caving in to the liberal SJW crowd and "wokeness" was swift and massive, with Twitter respondents denouncing and disavowing DuckDuckGo for Weinberg's actions, with plans to switch to alternative search engines such as Brave's search engine.
- Duck Duck Go (Founder and CEO)
- CJ. Duck Duck Go!, Science for SEO, March 2009.
- Interview with Gabriel Weinberg on Search Privacy, Intego, March 5, 2015.
- New search engine Duck Duck Go has less spam and more content, pandia.com.
- Chris Dannen. Skip Google, and Try These Search Engines, Fast Company, April 14, 2009.
- Difference Between Google and DuckDuckGo
- DuckDuckGo CEO Announces Censorship Scheme of Content Labeled “Russian Disinformation”
- Two references:
- You Go Woke You Go Broke: DuckDuckGo TANKS Its Brand With A Few Tweets