Why I switched from Google to DuckDuckGo

“Google is fun to say, but DuckDuckGo — at least for me — is a lot more fun to use,” Nate Swanner writes for TNW. “While I can’t repeat the name as a verb (I can ‘Google it’ on Google; I don’t know what I’d say for a DuckDuckGo search), the upstart search engine has quickly become my go-to on a day to day basis.”

“While its main draw is privacy, DuckDuckGo has another killer feature you may not have heard of,” Swanner writes. “In fact, it should cause you to consider ditching your existing search engine for DuckDuckGo — yes, even Google. I’m talking about bangs.

Swanner writes, “Bangs are simply exclamation points ahead of site tags, which redirects you to that page.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you haven’t yet, give DuckDuckGo a try today!

Why Apple should buy DuckDuckGo – June 19, 2015
DuckDuckGo has grown 600% since Apple made it a search option – and Snowden’s revelations – June 17, 2015
Apple’s default search engine: Is DuckDuckGo next in line? – March 4, 2015
Microsoft, Yahoo vie to become Apple Safari’s default search option – November 26, 2014
Apple adds DuckDuckGo option to iOS 8 Safari, ‘a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
Apple slams Google in Safari 7.1 release notes: ‘Adds DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
It’s time for Apple to buy DuckDuckGo – May 30, 2014


  1. I’ve been trying out DuckDuckGo for a few weeks, but have found it lacking in the quality of the search results. I frequently end up going back to Google to do the same search and find the site I was looking for in the top five. With DDG, it is often not within the first few pages scrolling. Not sure if there are additional tricks to search on DDG better, but it doesn’t work better for my searches. Bing had a side by side comparison a year or two ago, and I basically found the same thing. Google returned the sites I wanted much more accurately. The privacy is nice, but I’m personally OK sacrificing a little bit of them knowing about me so I can have access to what I want to know.

    1. I have previously seen similar comments to yours on MDN regarding searching on Google versus DuckDuckGo, but I have never seen an example where the poster provides a specific example. Could you do this for us? I’m just being curious, as I haven’t had the experience of lesser-quality search results between the two.

    2. I’ve had the same experience. I have DDG set as my default, yet I always end up going to Google manually because I trust the results better. It makes me sad, but that’s been the reality.

      1. You don’t have to go to Google “manually” – just add “!g” to your existing search term (that’s one of thousands of
        “bangs” – hit Enter/Return and you’ll get the Google Results without doing the two or three step.

        And e.g., “!w” will give you the Wikipedia results for the search, “!a” for Amazon – and there’s also “!ebay,” “!twitter,” etc., etc.

        So you can have your DuckDuckGo and search everywhere and every other way too….


            1. It’s always about to expire in the near future. Then Apple makes noises about changing, and Google loads up a bigger truck.

      1. Have you been ‘Googled’?

        ‘Googled’ once meant to find relevant information through a search of web pages using the Google search engine by the user.

        ‘Googled’ now means to have all personal user data mined, as a result of Google web searches or use of Google apps, and be targeted by ads relevant to the personal information gleaned through such searches and use of apps, and have such information sold to 3rd parties.

        If you use Google search or apps, you’ve been ‘Googled’!

        You’re not using Google.
        Google is using you.
        You are Google’s product.


    1. Apple should continue doing what they do best… plowing their own path. Siri and Spotlight are redefining search. The idea of a website-based search engine is going to see archaic in a couple of years.

        1. iTunes always made a hash out of organizing my songs in ways antithetical to how I wanted to access and understand my collection. I took back control years ago after much gnashing of teeth.

          I also organize my own family history photos and only let Photos handle my contemporary cell snaps. Too automated.

    1. StartPage.com is essentially Ixquick, which has been around for a few years:

      StartPage was released in 2009 in the United States as a new name for the Ixquick search engine. Because the name Ixquick can be somewhat difficult to remember and spell, people asked us for an easier name, and we were happy to oblige. StartPage uses Ixquick’s search methodologies and privacy features, and is governed by the same privacy policies.

      So expect search results similar to Ixquick.


      1. Hi Derek,
        I’m a big fan of your comments, especially anything you have to say about security.
        If you go to startpage.com and look to the right of the search box and let your curser hover over “enhanced by Google” it explains that they submit searches anonymously to Google on your behalf.
        Maybe after they remove identifying information they use their Ixquick engine to query Google?

  2. Used ddg for a few months, the basic search results sucked for things like a major mall in my local major city, had to switch back to google on the go to stop wasting time looking for search results that just weren’t there. Ddg needs some major improvements before it can be a main or daily search engine. Hope the guy who wrote the article enjoys missing out on the most relevant search results.

    1. Image results on DDG have been improving over the last couple years. I remember when DDG essentially had not image results and had to drop you off at Google. No any more! And the image results pages keep getting better.

      DDG is very much a work in progress!

      1. Google search and Google maps and all the rest of Google’s projects are, and always have been, works in progress themselves. They were just ahead of everyone else, and still are ’cause they were essentially first. They are not regarded by pundits as works in progress, though, when they are favourably compared with upstart competitors. There is an unfair double standard operating, one that seems to expect challengers to spring forth fully grown from the brow of Zeus.

        It’s sort of like being first-born: middle children are oppressed by their older siblings forever, since they can’t hope to catch up in age or experience…unless they strike out in new directions.

        1. Technically, Altavista (now Yahoo search) and Lycos were before Google. There may have been one or two others as well, long since vaporized or engulfed. But Google leapt well beyond them all. I remember when Google first got started and were a little fish in the big pond. Gradually, they developed a great reputation for search results and everything else paled by comparison. Google has stayed that way and as you pointed out, have further evolved.

          But sadly, Google makes money off we users. They treat the user as the product they sell to others. Google Analytics alone is all over the Internet, like a spider web to catch us all in our activities. I hate that and have reasonably gathered and perfected methods of maximizing my anonymity. But surfing the net entirely anonymously is very difficult nonetheless. Even with tracking cookies (including ‘Evercookies’) being demolished minute by minute, there is a lot of data about us flowing to wherever we visit, to the point where the current studies and strategies are about breaking and faking user ‘fingerprinting’, whereby all that loose data being sent about us is either blocked or faked.

          Obviously, all of this work to obtain our right to privacy is well beyond the comprehension of average Internet users. I’ve been avoiding writing user level articles about these strategies specifically because I doubt average users are going to understand them or have the patience to use them. It really is about technology becoming so complicated that only an ‘elite’ can understand it on an adequate, defensive, controlling level. Even then, clever hacks around what we thought was ‘secure’ appear every day. We can only do our best according to our skills and talents, if we want to use the Internet at all.

          1. You’re doing plenty of good with your articles on security. But I agree that trying to do more, to reach the “average user” would be a fool’s errand—a noble goal, but one with a careless disregard of human nature. You can force feed a patient in hospital, but you can’t do quite the same thing with ideas. Our schools’ failure attests to that.

            What can only develop is a growing sense of public unease with the unregulated theft of their information. That will result in a public policy debate about ethics and business. We are seeing the opening shots of Bunker Hill already. Shades of July 4.

  3. I love DDG. It’s easier to use than Google, because there is no paging in the interface. Google is forced to split the results into pages so they can load new ads with each page view.

  4. Made the switch over a year ago. Default search engine on all my devices. Occasionally I feel the results are not quite on par with Google, but I can live with that given DDG’s privacy features.

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