DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track

Thu 6 December 2012 10:10, Tamara Yadvichuk

DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track

Which search engine do you use? 4 out 5 will say Google. It is not a secret that Google tracks everything you do online and uses that data to target you with the right ads – even more so thanks to Chrome, which introduced Google search in the address bar. And while many users accept being tracked as an inevitable fact, and perhaps don’t really care, others look for ways to avoid the ‘Big Brother’. 

Search engine global market share, October 2012 (source)

For those who didn’t know, you can check your Google search history here. In my case it dates back to 2009 and lists all the search terms I used in the last three years along with the pages I was directed to. If you find this alarming, this article is for you.

DuckDuckGo is an option for those who do not want to be tracked. It’s a search engine in many ways similar to Google, but with a few perks, of which probably the most important one is that it claims that it does not track your behavior and does not store the info related to you in any kind of profile.

Another one is that, unlike the global leader, DuckDuckGo doesn’t tailor search results for individual users based on their personal history by the means of filters, which suggests that the results for a specific search as you see them are more objective and will be the same for anyone else. Here DuckDuckGo offers a few pretty convincing reasons why no tracking and no filters is good – in some cases, at least.

A few other useful things that the duck search engine offers are a box with instants results which appear before you click ‘search’, and clarification of ambiguous terms. For example, when you use DuckDuckGo to search for an ambiguous term with multiple meanings, it nicely explains them, telling you for example that blackberry is not only a phone by Research in Motion, but also an edible fruit produced by Rubus fruticosus.


Another useful trick is that by placing ‘!’ + site name before your search term on DuckDuckGo you can instantly search only that site (i. e. !facebook tamara yadvichuk). And, last but not least, search results are not displayed on separate pages, as on Google, but on an endless page which extends itself as you scroll! 

Despite being a Google fan, I definitely want to try it. I have just installed DuckDuckGo as a Chrome plugin and will use it for week. Let’s see if it’s better than Google!

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