Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here



A Promising Alternative Search Engine

Its name is one of those silly concoctions that developers are going in for (I blame Google and Yahoo for starting this) but DuckDuckGo has some very good points as a search engine. It is free of the clutter that Google now has and does not have all those paid ads masquerading as search results that Google displays. Google has been my search engine of choice for years but I am growing less and less satisfied with its search results. They are full of search engine optimized chaff. I have tried a number of computer related searches lately and I like DuckDuckGo's results better.

Google’s incessant tracking is another factor that is beginning to weigh against it. DuckDuckGo says it does not track you and that it does not “personalize” your search results. Go to this link to see its illustrated guide about these issues. Also, here is the Privacy Policy

The interface is simplicity, you might even say bare. So simple, in fact, that you may miss the links down in the lower corners of the screen for things like settings and information

There are actually a number of sites about DuckDuckGo and something called the DuckDuckGo Community Platform has additional information about the search engine.

Here is a trick to use if you do not like DuckDuckGo’s results for a particular search or just want to compare with Google. Enter a search query in DuckDuckGo and add “!g” (without quotes) and you will be taken to the same search query in Google. This is one example of what DuckDuckGo calls a “bang”. This page explains how to use bangs to modify queries to search hundreds of other sites directly.

DuckDuckGo has been garnering some awards lately. It is one of PCMag’s Top 100 Websites of 2011 and is one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Best Websites of 2011. Some of my fellow editors here at Gizmo’s have already recognized its potential and there has been a previous Hot Find article.

I haven't exactly switched but I am leaning to heavier use of this promising alternative to Google. Give it a try; you may like the results.

Get your own favorite tip published!  Know a neat tech tip or trick?  Then why not have it published here and receive full credit?  Click here to tell us your tip.

This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's and tutorials, including  a computer education website and a site for learning about the command line.

Click here for more items like this. Better still, get Tech Tips delivered via your RSS feeder or alternatively, have the RSS feed sent as email direct to your in-box.

Share this
Average: 4.3 (27 votes)
Your rating: None


by matel on 5. December 2012 - 3:19  (103358)

although they dont track you like google, what duck duck go, yippy, and ixquick dont tell you is that they forward all your queries to the nsa for secondary screening. real private search engines end up like scrugle, taken down

by snldr1 on 20. March 2012 - 20:56  (90889)

I have been testing DuckDuckGo on Comodo, K-Meleon and Firefox browsers. I don't miss Google!

Thanks for letting more people know about this nice clean search engine.

by billy22taxi on 31. March 2012 - 15:53  (91500)

Have started using DuckDuckGo on Google Chrome 18 as my default search engine. Love https: search.

by Art€ (not verified) on 18. March 2012 - 18:15  (90805)

Yep, I've been using DuckDuckGo too. Especially on my TOR browser and have found it also good and uncluttered.

by crank on 16. March 2012 - 18:56  (90710)

Wow, there's other search engines besides yahoo and alta vista? I'm way behind! Good find, I'll have to give it a try.

by v.laurie on 16. March 2012 - 19:10  (90711)

C'mon Crank, I bet you knew all about HotBot and Excite, too.

by crank on 17. March 2012 - 3:33  (90727)

I vaguely remember hearing of them, I really should try out a lot of these, but like so much on these tubez, the sheer range of stuff to wade through is daunting, if not stifling, so you wait till maybe you get a good report from someone you think isn't full of it and then check it out. I like the philosophy of DuckDuckGo and like you want to give it a good trial and might switch over as my main search engine. I have recently been playing around with Wolfram Alpha and that is really promising. Wow, just for a lark I went and searched 'alta vista' and they're actually still around, but it seems a part of yahoo. Early tubez days, they really stood out.

by A__nonymous (not verified) on 16. March 2012 - 2:25  (90671)

It just doesn't give the same results, I had to !g all the time - so what was the point of using it? There are a lot of extensions for Chrome that help ensure privacy when using Google, and Adblock Plus deals with all the ads. I also tried ixquick and startpage, but Google is just the best.

by MidnightCowboy on 16. March 2012 - 4:48  (90675)

I'm checking stuff out on the web all the time and I've used DDG, the others commented below and Dogpile which I also like. The number of times I've had to resort to Google are minute. Sure Google gives you different results but these are mostly what they want you to see for marketing purposes, rather than what you might need.

by MilesAhead on 16. March 2012 - 4:56  (90664)

I've been using this search engine in my address bar in both chrome and firefox. Works well. Also I like the Bang Syntax. If I want to search with another engine or site just prefix with a '!' such as !images Shu Qi to search for Shu Qi images or !store item to search an online store. Saves having to add dozens of custom search settings to your address bar.

by KV (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 20:52  (90620)

ixquick was so fast, for slow connections. (me.) vivissimo turned clusty turned yippy(?) was great for clustering back at vivissimo. i just wanted to say thanks everyone for the really great info here. in a few decades, how the world opened up! izito was once a good alternative.

by Jake Maverick (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 19:58  (90616)

I was also going to mentuion Startpage, but thanks for this new alternative! I will give it a try!

by benedict1 on 14. March 2012 - 19:56  (90615)

Don't do this. I installed in Firefox this AM and was just having more fun than a pig in mud and all of a sudden it morphed into Bing, The Dreaded Bing, run by Conduit. I had a helluva' time getting rid of it. There is something here that ain't quite right, as they say in America. I have no idea how it got there but it did. I have killed Bing about ten times now. It is everywhere. Rename this tip: "DuckDuck Gone!"(Of course, I may be wrong, but then I am used to that.)

by Martin Chua (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 17:15  (90605)

If you do not like the idea of someone (Google, Bing, etc.) meddling with your search results, DDG is worth looking into.

I've been using DDG for the past few months and I can say I pretty satisfy with the search results 90% of the time, except for some long tail searches where DDG may not be good at. In this case, I just simply adding !g before my keywords to submit my search to Google.

Another thing which puzzled me when I type "1Mbps in Kbps" in Google which always shows "1 Mbps = 1024 Kbps". Now at least for DDG, it gives a correct answer of "1 Mbps = 1000 Kbps".

by JimV (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 17:11  (90603)

I've been using DuckDuckGo now as my primary search engine for about 6 months, and like it a lot. While I will sometimes use the Google option that is always available as a link at the very bottom of DDG's (seemingly) endless listing, I try to avoid it because of the intrusive privacy implications from all of its "features" that I've set various Firefox extensions to block.

The only addition to DDG that I'd truly like to see is a clustering feature for the results, something which was very nice in the now-defunct "Clusty" -- it was bought by someone who changed the name to "Yippy". The new owners imposed their own mandatory screening parameters on the results without providing the user with any option to opt-out, supposedly to render the output child-friendly but which could include anything well outside adult content (i.e., political, social, religious, economic, etc.). When I sent an e-mail of complaint to the new owners and explained I had far too much working experience in China and some other repressive countries of Asia and Africa from World Bank and ADB projects, the reply was effectively "too bad -- this is how we've structured OUR search engine" so I stopped using it as I'd stated would be the case if there was no user-option to modify the default search parameters to eliminate ALL screening.

by Gibby (not verified) on 16. August 2012 - 20:21  (97826)

I actually stumbled across Yippy when I was trying to find info on a very rare and little-understood cancer. I have it as my default search on all browsers, and love it. I've never noticed any problems with screening. Rather, it filters out all of the crap and when I search for something I get information rather than advertisements selling the item or subject I've entered. If they filter out porn or whatever, that is fine. Nice tradeoff as far as I am concerned for the excellent, relevant results.
Just my two cents. :-)

by Michael Leonard (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 17:09  (90602)

I've been becoming more and more disenchanted with Google. Thanks for this alternative!

by Gibby (not verified) on 16. August 2012 - 20:22  (97827)

Yep. They are bordering on disgusting. And talk about useless results! It's comical!

by Bunyip22 (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 17:09  (90601)

When I try to install the DuckDuckGo plugin for Firefox I get a message that says "Sorry, you need a Mozilla-based browser (such as Firefox) to install a search plugin." WTF???

by JimV (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 17:15  (90604)

Navigate to the DDG search page, then click the FF search box down arrow -- you should see an option to add it to the list of search engines. Afterwards, click on the down arrow again to "manage search engines" and move it from the bottom of the list where it's placed by default to wherever you prefer.

by Bunyip22 (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 18:12  (90608)

Thank you, you're a scholar and a gentleman.

by JimV (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 19:12  (90609)

It's kind of you to say both, though I'm sure some would say neither....

by Asif Saeed (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 16:06  (90599)

Been using Google since it was used by Yahoo in the background. There was time when Metacrawler used to appeal to searchers.... For me, although Google is mostly enough, will give DuckDuckGo a spin, just to see how it differs in term of results.

by To do or not to do (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 16:03  (90598)

>Enter a search query in DuckDuckGo and add “!g” (without quotes) and you will be taken to the same search query in Google. This is one example of what DuckDuckGo calls a “bang”. This page explains how to use bangs to modify queries to search hundreds of other sites directly.

I wonder what you mean by "the same search query." You mean the same search result as Google's? Even if so, it's tiresome to add !g whenever I search. I am concerned about Google's privacy policy, yet unfortunately it seems there is no other search engine that searches as many as Google do. I tried some search engines, some of them were "Powered by Google." But their search results were all poor compared to Google's.

by Gibby (not verified) on 16. August 2012 - 20:26  (97828)

Try Yippy. The best part, which it took me months to actually discover, is that on the left where it says "sites" and "sources" you can click on those tabs to really get specific. I often need valid information about some kind of odd topics. Using those tabs I can narrow down the sources to things like .gov, or sites like Highbeam. You can also specific settings about where you want Yippy to search along with its standard search (like Google, etc).

I kind of sound like I work for them or something. Be assured, I don't. I am a realtor and a student.

by Geert on 14. March 2012 - 14:56  (90591)

Martin Brinkmann of is using DuckDuckGo for several months now, and is very pleased with it. And - having read that - I tried it and I am also very happy with it!

>> DuckDuckGo is good but nowhere near as good as google particularly if you search for something local (outside the US).
Than simply redo your search @ DuckDuckGo prefixing it with g!

by MidnightCowboy on 14. March 2012 - 15:56  (90596)

Several Linux distros have also adopted DuckDuckGo as their default search engine.

by Joe_B_Wan (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 14:29  (90586)

I've been using...

...for about three months, I guess. Very anti-Big Brother.

Have read a bit about DuckDuckGo and will give it a try.


by Jason Kauffman (not verified) on 14. March 2012 - 13:27  (90574)

I have used Yahoo as my primary search engine as long as I can remember. I only use Google if I strike out with yahoo. Not sure how much info yahoo collects compared to google, but I'm sure it's not as much. I also use FF and adblock plus, which really cuts down on the adds. I will have to give DDG a try and compare with yahoo. Thanks for the tip.


by johnvk on 14. March 2012 - 14:23  (90584)

yahoo is now bing. And i'm sure they track. bing is microsoft.