A few weeks ago I followed along with Ben Brooks and ditched Google for DuckDuckGo. I’m not a privacy zealot and I know that my usage of Google is for their sole purpose of getting to know me better in an effort to send me more targeted advertisements. I get it, but I never used Google websites aside from Search and I’ve become so conditioned to ignore ads I hardly ever noticed them. I guess I was fine with what Google was doing because it had little to no effect on me.
But I like competition. Google’s search process hasn’t changed all that much in recent memory (instant search, sure) and I liked some of the details bubbling up about DuckDuckGo.
I’m about 3 weeks in and so far I’d rate DuckDuckGo about a 7 out of 10. The search takes longer, and results are not what I expect. I often find myself hitting the 5th or 6th link instead of the first I found very common when using Google.
Perhaps it’s the profile of me they’ve collected over the past decade that helps with that, I’m not sure, but at the end of the day the results are faster and better.
For instance, if you bang search !wordpress you end up at the Codex search which is… a Google Custom Search. That’s a very circular approach to me. I’ve found with many other sites as well that the on site search is rarely (if ever) better than what you’d get should you use a proper search engine. I could be missing the boat here, but my bang searches haven’t been all that assistive and in fact felt very cumbersome.
I’m going to stick it out another week or so, and I love DuckDuckGo’s approach, but there have been times in the past couple of weeks where I’ve consciously thought “I can’t wait to switch back to Google for this”.