Random Notes

Avoiding Google

You may not have heard of DuckDuckGo, but it could be just what you’re looking for

3 Feb 2018

3 Feb 2018

When the first friend to see my website told me what they liked best, I was surprised. It wasn’t one of the pages I’d slogged for days writing — it was a tiny link on the search page. But my friend explained:

Duck Duck Go
I’ve been thinking a lot about internet privacy lately, and DuckDuckGo is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

As well as having a cool name, DuckDuckGo is a free web service that can entirely replace Google’s search engine. Here are a few key points from the front page of their (equally cool) website:

  • DuckDuckGo doesn’t ever store your personal information
  • It doesn’t follow you around with ads
  • It doesn’t track you in or out of private browsing mode
  • It’s easy to add DuckDuckGo to your favourite browser

I’ve used DuckDuckGo as my sole search engine for the last couple of years. Once in a while, I’ve had to swap back to Google’s search to look for something with a more fine-grained filter than DuckDuckGo — usually to restrict the search to a longer time period.

But otherwise I’ve really enjoyed using it. It’s got a more attractive user interface than the other search engines. It’s simpler, and easier to understand. And it offers — something that many more people are becoming aware of — much better internet privacy.

Related links

  1. The Case Against Google: A long New York Times Magazine article that compares Google with prior US monopolies such as Standard Oil, AT&T, and Microsoft — vividly describing how these monopolies have abused their powers, how major breakthroughs in technology have created seemingly inevitable monopolies — and why governments try to break them up, despite their popularity with consumers
  2. How to Live Without Google is a geeky list of alternatives to Google’s (excellent, but market dominant, and heavily tracked) other services, such as Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube