As Google began to win the search engine wars some years ago, it became a common expression to say “I googled it,” or to ask, “Did you google it?” It may be way to early to tell, but with a new search engine gaining in some popularity, we might be saying something like “I ducked it” in the future.
I’ve been playing around with the search engine, DuckDuckGo. And I really like the results it provides for the search terms I’ve typed in. Although the number of searches per day is no where near the number that Google processes (I believe one report says that the number has grown to just over 1.5 million per day for DDG – whereas Google processes hundreds of millions of queries per day), more and more internet searchers are using DuckDuckGo (Or DDG for short).
There are many reasons for the interest in DDG; one of which is a major concern among many that Google just knows too much about what you search for, and privacy concerns abound. As well, as Google has grown, search results have sometimes become cluttered and confusing.
DDG’s slogan seems to be “Google Tracks You. We Don’t,” and indeed, there is nothing to log in to. Although there is some advertising on some of the search results, they are not as many as what you will find on many of Google’s search results pages. Another nice feature of the results that a searcher will get is that DDG doesn’t try to guess at what results you might like or are looking for. In other words, the results are really and truly organic. Organic search results are those that appear due to the relevance of the search terms however Google is now trying to “customize” search results – which in my opinion means that organic results in Google are not really all that organic anymore.
As far as the results themselves, I quite like them. For a couple of reasons:
A search for ‘fly fishing’ for example provides a wider range of results in the first ten than what I get doing the same search on Google. The results that appear are a mix of informational websites as well as a couple of commercial sites that sell gear – whereas on Google, five of the top ten results are for websites such as Orvis, Sage, Bass Pro Shops and other retailers. To me, if I was looking for those kinds of sites, I would be searching for something like ‘fly fishing gear’ or ‘fly fishing equipment’.
Another reason I like DDG is that all of our web properties that we manage actually rank better or about the same in DDG than in Google, for the most part. So that’s a personal observation that of course, I’d want to see.
In an interview with Talking Points Memo, Founder of DDG, Gabriel Weinberg, reported that less than 0.1% of their traffic came from the US, with half of all their traffic coming from Europe.
As I played around with DDG, I discovered that while it may not capture or store information about searches, it does know where I am based on my IP address. I typed in ‘Orangeville weather’ and it knew to provide me with the forecast for my hometown of Orangeville, Ontario and not any of the other Orangeville’s that exist in North America.
The one thing I don’t like about the search results is that they are displayed in groups of 25 – and to get more, you just scroll down (or there is a setting to provide a “page break” line) and the next 25 results will appear. I would prefer personally if the search results were on multiple pages. I find it easier to see the results in smaller groups than the way it is designed right now.
Other than that, I quite like DuckDuckGo. I doubt I will use it for all of my searches and completely abandon Google – Google still has features that I use and like. However, there are a number of features on DDG that I do really like as well and want to try out a bit more.
So will we be saying, “I ducked it” anytime soon? I don’t know – it’s hard to say whether DDG will rival either Google or Bing in use – but so far, it’s showing potential.