Duckduckgo (DDG), The People's Search Engine.
28th of January was Data Privacy Day, and this year it should be taken seriously. The implications of uncontrolled data sharing will be tremendous. Fortunately, there are people like Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo who try and save us from the approaching doom.
Brief DDG story.
Gabriel Weinberg is an MIT alumni, before starting DDG he founded several companies. The most successful of which was Opobox whose main product was 'The Names Database', the company sold for $10 million in 2006. The phenomenon related to this company was the mass public following: they had interested potential users before they had created the product. Gabriel is also an author of a great book - TRACTION: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth that can be found here. As someone who has read this book, I definitely recommend it.
The thing that I love about DuckDuckGo and the people from this project is the simplicity( of design, usability or functionality). The official site on the history of DDG is provided by the DuckDuckGo Community Platform they explain that detailed information about the company's origins can be found on Wikipedia.
The primary reason why DDG was founded is that Gabriel wasn't happy with the results he found on Google . During that time there was plenty of crappy results - such as prioritising spamming sites and the most useful answers (like Wikipedia) were lost. He decided to improve the way searches work. At the very beginning, it was a personal project that with time has become one of the most successful the search engine of our time.
Why Duck Duck Go is the engine of the people?
They don't store your data. It is as simple as it sounds. Whenever you search for a particular term, there is personal data leak, your IP registers that you are looking, clicked sites and other data is stored by the search engine provider. This data is used for creating a personalised experience with better ads and service improvements, but the cost is quite high - it's your privacy. There is another problem - most sites know that you clicked them from a search engine. So they can give you better or worse results depending on their policy. This is not the case with DDG. Another big thing is that DDG is the default search engine for Tor browser and many GNU/Linux (free operating system) distributions.
So how DDG makes money?
Like most web pages - with advertising. However, DDG advertising is different from the state of the art personalised ads. Because personalized advertising strips you of your privacy, they decided to take a different approach. DuckDuckGo ads are based on keywords. For Example, when you type "Ibanez guitars" into duckduckgo.com you will be shown advertisements for a guitar shop. All advertisements are clearly marked with an
DuckDuckGo advanced capabilities used by SEQE.
Unfortunately, you won't find as many advanced search operators in DuckDuckGo as in most popular search engines (Google). However, the big four (the most used operators) are present. The big four are - simple words, exact phrase, OR operator of words and filetype. Unfortunately, not all official operators work as expected; the best example is inurl which gives mixed results and doesn't work well without additional data. You can find a simple form for DuckDuckGo Advanced searches at SEQE DuckDuckGo Advanced Search. Because DDG results aren't as good as competitors, we decided to put it in 4th place when it comes to sorting priority. Still, it's my favourite search engine.
In next article, we will cover some fantastic DDG features that are unique to this search engine.