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posted by mattie_p on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:31PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the tor-not-required dept.

Papas Fritas writes:

"There's an interesting read today by John Paul Titlow at FastCoLabs about DuckDuckGo, a search engine launched in 2008 that is now doing 4 million search queries per day and growing 200-500% annually. DuckDuckGo's secret weapon is hardcore privacy. When you do a search from DuckDuckGo's website or one of its mobile apps, it doesn't know who you are. There are no user accounts. Your IP address isn't logged by default. The site doesn't use search cookies to keep track of what you do over time or where else you go online.

'If you look at the logs of people's search sessions, they're the most personal thing on the Internet,' says founder Gabriel Weinberg. 'Unlike Facebook, where you choose what to post, with search you're typing in medical and financial problems and all sorts of other things. You're not thinking about the privacy implications of your search history.' DuckDuckGo's no-holds-barred approach to privacy gives the search engine a unique selling point as Google gobbles up more private user data. 'It was extreme at the time,' says Weinberg. 'And it still may be considered extreme by some people, but I think it's becoming less extreme nowadays. In the last year, it's become obvious why people don't want to be tracked.'"

Related Stories

Google Throws DuckDuckGo a Bone, Adds Redirect on duck.com Landing Page 35 comments

Google owns Duck.com, but it'll give rival DuckDuckGo a shoutout anyhow

Google owns Duck.com, which has been driving rival search engine DuckDuckGo up the wall for over six years. Because when you type "duck.com" into a web browser, you get Google.com. Doesn't make a lot of sense, yes?

But after a new round of complaints this Friday, Google has relented. Google comms VP Rob Shilkin just quacked tweeted that a new landing page will give people an opportunity to click from Duck.com straight through to DuckDuckGo. Or to the Wikipedia page for ducks, because that's only fair.

From on2.com:

Please note that On2 was previously called the Duck Corporation. So if you typed Duck.com, you are redirected to On2.com:

  • If you meant to visit ducks.com, click here. Note that it redirects to Bass Pro Shops.
  • If you meant to visit the search engine DuckDuckGo, click here.
  • If you want to learn more about ducks on Wikipedia, click here.

Related: DuckDuckGo Is Google's Tiniest Fiercest Competitor


Original Submission

State of the Site: 02/23/2014 108 comments
Well, we've survived our first week as a functional website, and have yet to go belly up because of it. The speed and growth of our community is staggering to say the least, and we are working hard to get this site fully operational. I'm pleased to announce that a development VM is now available for public consumption, and if you're interested in site development, one should join us in #dev on irc.soylentnews.org. Beyond that though, I've got a few points to address on and updated statistics to share ...
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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by allsorts46 on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:35PM

    by allsorts46 (574) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:35PM (#3810) Homepage

    In case anyone knows any interesting references I can read...

    How do we know that they really do (or don't do) what they say they do (or don't)?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:39PM (#3815)

      Read their code. It's open source.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:42PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:42PM (#3820)

        Devil's advocate: how do you know that it's what they're running?

        • (Score: 5, Funny) by maxwell demon on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:50PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:50PM (#3829) Journal

          You hack into their servers and check? ;-)

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by animal on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:57PM

        by animal (202) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:57PM (#3835)

        It may be open source, but are they running that code?
        Somehow they do make money. Maintaining something like that doesn't come cheap.
        I'd feel much better if they were more transparent and letting us know how they operate, how they pay the bills etc.
        Google is snooping all around our computers, but at least they admit it.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Fluffeh on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:05PM

          by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:05PM (#3844) Journal

          Taken from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

          By May 2012, the search engine was attracting 1.5 million searches a day. Weinberg reported that it had earned US$115,000 in revenue in 2011 and had three employees, plus a small number of contractors.[24]

          Compete.com estimated 277,512 monthly visitors to the site in August 2012.[25] On April 12, 2011, Alexa reported a 3-month growth rate of 51%.[26] DuckDuckGo's own traffic statistics show that in August 2012 there were 1,393,644 visits per day, up from an average of 39,406 visits per day in April 2010 (the earliest data available).[27]

          In a lengthy profile in November 2012, the Washington Post indicated that searches on DuckDuckGo numbered up to 45,000,000 per month in October 2012. The article concluded "Weinberg's non-ambitious goals make him a particularly odd and dangerous competitor online. He can do almost everything that Google or Bing can't because it could damage their business models, and if users figure out that they like the DuckDuckGo way better, Weinberg could damage the big boys without even really trying. It's asymmetrical digital warfare, and his backers at Union Square Ventures say Google is vulnerable."[4]

          Seems pretty straightforward in terms of how they make their money...

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:48PM

            by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:48PM (#3883) Journal

            I can't see anything in that quote where the money comes from. You know, many people using your service for free doesn't magically make you money.

            It says they have a small number of contractors. Do those contractors pay them? And if so, what do they get in return?

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
            • (Score: 5, Informative) by Fluffeh on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:59PM

              by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:59PM (#3887) Journal

              The Wikipedia article states that the revenue is from advertising.

              If you perform a search on the site, you will see simple sponsored links at the top of the results. No adwords, no sneaky embedded "paid" search results, just a result in a yellow/orange highlight with the words "Sponsored Link" at the bottom right.

              Enough visitors and that's a simple way to make money covering costs.

            • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Friday February 21 2014, @05:37AM

              by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @05:37AM (#4103) Journal

              There was an article with the founder. DDG makes money by displaying targeted ads. They use the search query to do the targeting. He explained that knowing the search query is 95% of the equation. Obviously, they'll know that because the user typed it in. So they make money the same way google does, by serving ads, except instead of trying to compile a dossier on you like google, they take the straight forward approach of assuming that if you are searching for something, you are interested in it.

              Now, how can you tell if their servers are running their software? You can't. But what advantage is there to not? If they get busted one time, their business is dead forever and all the work that went into it evaporates. I do have some faith in enlightened self-interest.

              • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @07:13AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @07:13AM (#4140)

                That's all true but all it takes is one "National Security Letter" or similar.

                I don't really care that much about the NSA et all spying on my searches. To me the real problem is that Google's searches have gone down in quality. It seems like I have to switch to "verbatim" mode for almost everything (or I get "joe sixpack" results without the search terms I'm looking for) but switching to "verbatim" sometimes seems to not rank the pages as usefully.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by Caballo Negro on Friday February 21 2014, @08:12AM

                by Caballo Negro (1794) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @08:12AM (#4161)

                They also ask you politely to whitelist their site if they spot you using an ad blocker. I've complied.

                • (Score: 1) by mister_playboy on Friday February 21 2014, @11:45AM

                  by mister_playboy (2664) on Friday February 21 2014, @11:45AM (#4245)

                  Indeed... that is the one and only whitelisting I've ever made in ABP after having used it for about 6 years!

              • (Score: 5, Informative) by TheRaven on Friday February 21 2014, @08:55AM

                by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 21 2014, @08:55AM (#4171) Journal

                They do a few other things too. For example, if you type !amazon in your search terms, then you get the result of your search on the Amazon site, but via the referrer link. This means that they get some percentage of anything you buy. I usually just type things I'm looking to buy into the search box and then add !amazon if I don't find it in a quick search of the web.

                Those commands are really useful. The !freebsd tag will search FreeBSD man pages, !devapple will search the Apple developer database, and so on. I find it really useful to have a single search box that can redirect me to all of the site-specific searches that I use easily. Most of the ones I use don't provide referrer kick-backs, but some do, and I'm very happy for DDG to get the money.

                I switched to using them around 2008 when Google decided to hijack the up and down arrow keys in the search box. On OS X, up-arrow in any text field means jump to the start, and having to relearn muscle memory for a single Google text box was a UI decision that killed the utility of the site for me. At the time, DDG also did the infinite-scrolling thing (no other search engines did, although they all added it soon after) and had a much cleaner UI. I exchanged a few emails with Gabriel over usability issues that were present and he set up a test site for me to complain about and then fixed all of the issues and rolled out that version on the main site. Amazing service and not something I'd see from any of the big search companies (and I know quite a few people who work at Google and Yahoo! personally...).

                I still find their zero-click information very useful. Gabriel has actually been very clever there, avoiding the need for complex natural language processing by making it easy for users to explicitly disambiguate what they really mean.

                --
                sudo mod me up
              • (Score: 1) by hubie on Friday February 21 2014, @03:25PM

                by hubie (1068) on Friday February 21 2014, @03:25PM (#4356) Journal

                they take the straight forward approach of assuming that if you are searching for something, you are interested in it.

                Of course, that isn't always the case [youtube.com]. :)

                • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Friday February 21 2014, @03:44PM

                  by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @03:44PM (#4371) Journal

                  The best part of that video:

                  Mr. Internet on a Segway towing a trailer of cats.

                  • (Score: 1) by hubie on Friday February 21 2014, @04:23PM

                    by hubie (1068) on Friday February 21 2014, @04:23PM (#4401) Journal

                    With his latte and bluetooth earpiece. :)

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Friday February 21 2014, @12:47AM

            by Angry Jesus (182) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:47AM (#3918)

            Seems pretty straightforward in terms of how they make their money...

            No it doesn't ... at least not what you quoted. It just says they are "non-ambitious" - but what does that really mean? Apparently he does have VC money and as a group they tend to take "ambition" to the deepest depths of evil.

          • (Score: 4, Informative) by FatPhil on Friday February 21 2014, @01:06AM

            by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Friday February 21 2014, @01:06AM (#3940) Homepage

            > May 2012, the search engine was attracting 1.5 million searches a day

            And now, 4m s/d.

            ? exp(log(4/1.5)*(12/21))
            1.75

            So there's 75% growth per year, not 200-500%

            > 45,000,000 per month in October 2012

            So 1.5m s/d

            So between May and October 2012 there was 0% growth, not 200-500%

            These figures do not add up (or multiply, divide, log, or exp).

            I did sums at university, dammit!!?!?!? (which my mum still says, without the dammit)

            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Geotti on Friday February 21 2014, @04:41AM

        by Geotti (1146) on Friday February 21 2014, @04:41AM (#4082) Journal

        Read their code. It's open source.

        No it's not: [duck.co]

        DuckDuckGo is partly closed source, but increasingly open source. If you want to contribute, a great place to get started is at DuckDuckHack, our open source platform for instant answers.
        Please see the overview of our open source projects.

        You can do a lot with the open parts, though.

        Get started here [duck.co] and here [github.com]. If you do, be sure to sign up for the mailing list [listbox.com] and/or join #duckduckgo on freenode.

        There's a VM image [github.com] to get you started and a vagrantfile [github.com] for those who prefer that (no dockerfiles [that I know of], though).

        Happy duckduckhacking!

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Professr on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:42PM

      by Professr (1629) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:42PM (#3821)

      More importantly, how do we know there isn't a nice little NSA box sitting in front of their open-source code?

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by snick on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:46PM

        by snick (1408) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:46PM (#3827)

        Get serious.

        Of course there is a nice little NSA box sitting in front of their open-source code

        Where do you think you are? America?

      • (Score: -1) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @06:38AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @06:38AM (#4131)

        More importantly, how do we know there isn't a nice little NSA box sitting in front of their open-source code?

        Traceroute shows me about thirty of them. Probably thirty one.

    • (Score: 2) by h on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:00PM

      by h (1820) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:00PM (#3839)

      Can we really trust them if they're situated in the USA? Can't the NSA just pull whatever they want from them?
      Pardon my ignorance on the matter, I've not really kept up with all the Snowden Cypherpunk NSA battles etc

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jcd on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:09PM

        by jcd (883) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:09PM (#3851)

        Honestly, you can't really trust a packet that goes anywhere near the US. But at least DDG is a step in the right direction - away from the corporate overlords that want to hoover up every little detail about you to sell you MOAR STUFF.

        --
        "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:29PM (#4359)

          Then where can you trust your packets to go? Is it NSA == bad guys, everyone else == good guys? You're not one of those "USA is the Great Evil" guys and work that into all your comments are you? That pretty much ran me off of the other site and I shudder to think that cancer will be picked up here so soon, but your +5 mod suggests otherwise.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Friday February 21 2014, @12:41AM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:41AM (#3914)

        Can't the NSA just pull whatever they want from them?

        One of the benefits of not keeping records is that you never have to do the work ($$) of complying a subpoena (or national security letter) to hand over any records. That doesn't stop the NSA from recording all the traffic in and out of their site, but it does make retroactive fishing expeditions much harder. And if you are lucky the encryption on the traffic is enough to make it too expensive to decrypt in bulk making it useless for fishing expeditions too.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by TheRaven on Friday February 21 2014, @08:58AM

          by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 21 2014, @08:58AM (#4172) Journal
          Note, however, that since the start DDG has used SSL by default. This means that the NSA can't passively intercept their traffic, as they've been able to do with a number of other sites. They have to explicitly intercept it. If you're really paranoid, certificate transparency will protect you from that (when it's finally deployed, probably later this year in some form or other...), but I think once you get to the stage where the NSA is actively watching you, rather than just passively sniffing traffic that happens to contain your data, you're likely to be under physical surveillance quite soon (if not already), so it's less of an issue.
          --
          sudo mod me up
          • (Score: 5, Informative) by Angry Jesus on Friday February 21 2014, @11:51AM

            by Angry Jesus (182) on Friday February 21 2014, @11:51AM (#4247)

            One of the suspected methods of NSA interception is factory-compromised SSL front-ends that covertly expose their internal keys through not-so-random choices of various packet headers. That makes most high-traffic SSL sites potential targets of passive sniffing.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by darinbob on Friday February 21 2014, @02:44AM

        by darinbob (2593) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:44AM (#4015)

        It's simple. Just search for bomb making supplies, then time how long it is until you get a knock on the door.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by visaris on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:40PM

    by visaris (2041) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:40PM (#3817) Journal

    I think most people probably don't care about privacy much, unfortunately. The quality of the search results probably matters more to them. I haven't used DuckDuckGo; how do current users think the results compare to Google, et al.?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by dx3bydt3 on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:49PM

      by dx3bydt3 (82) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:49PM (#3828)

      In my experience the search results from DuckDuckGo aren't nearly the same quality as those I get from Google. That said, they are also quite different than those you get from Google and Bing. Sometimes when searching for obscure things that difference comes in handy.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by No.Limit on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:20PM

        by No.Limit (1965) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:20PM (#3859)

        I've had the same experience. However, I just switch to google if I need better results.

        That's mostly the case when I want to find out things about 'niche technical subjects'. Like today searched for spaghetti stack.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:38PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:38PM (#4365)

          It's better to use startpage.com (or ixquick.com - it's the same as startpage) as your backup than google.

          • (Score: 1) by maxwell demon on Friday February 21 2014, @07:14PM

            by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:14PM (#4477) Journal

            It's not the same, it's just the same company. Startpage is basically a Google anonymizer, while Ixquick uses several search engines.

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:57PM (#3836)

      I've used duckduckgo and I find the search results a bit lacking compared to google. Personally, I prefer startpage.com which seems to just act as a proxy between you and google. You end up with google quality results, but google loses the ability to track you. Startpage claims to not be recording IP addresses or using any tracking cookies.

      The only issue I can see with startpage is their reliance on google. I'm sure if they got too popular, google would find a way to block queries coming from their servers to shut them down.

      • (Score: 2) by jcd on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:07PM

        by jcd (883) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:07PM (#3848)

        I use an instance of searx on a friend's server and I worry about the same thing. It's ultimately meta-search, which relies on Google's infrastructure. I've looked up search alternatives, but they often provide lousy results. I used to use DDG before all of the hubbub about privacy &c (they aren't generally trusted any more by the super-paranoid), but I found myself sneaking back to Google and feeling rather guilty.

        Anyone know of any other real alternatives? I've heard of Yacy, but I'm not sure I want to run a p2p search service on my machine. Not only do I have limited internet usage, but I don't trust the security and I'm not confident enough in my ability to code to check the source myself.

        --
        "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
    • (Score: 1) by acid andy on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:38PM

      by acid andy (1683) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:38PM (#3875) Homepage Journal

      I think the Duck Duck Go results aren't bad and like the other person said you can soon get used to trying Duck Duck Go first and only resorting to Google if you can't find what you needed.

      Duck Duck Go does seem to give relevant results. I just get the sense that they've indexed fewer pages than Google, perhaps a lot fewer.

      I am sick of how bad Google's results seem to have got compared to 5 or 10 years ago. I know they've been fighting an arms race against the SEOers and autoblogs but their algorithm seems utterly dumbed down these days. I hate the way they outright ignore some of the keywords I type in or the algorithm acts like it knows better and searches for different words that are only vaguely related.

      I also get pages and pages of commercial stuff that all seems almost identical. Maybe that's the blackhat SEOers again but I'm not so sure. The thing is Google most likely wants these millions of ad laced blogs because they're getting revenue through Adsense.

      --
      Where did that thought come from? And that one? What about this one? Woah, man...
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by TheRaven on Friday February 21 2014, @09:15AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:15AM (#4174) Journal

        I switched to DDG around 2008, and I fall back to Google about once or twice a month. I've found that most of the time Google is a complete waste of time. DDG will say 'no results' for a query, Google will say '10,000 results', but none of the ones I try are even remotely related to what I'm looking for. I don't know why Google thinks that I'll be more favourably disposed to them if they give me nonsense and waste my time than if they just say 'no pages contain that phrase, sorry'. The other irritation I find with Google is that they'll provide exactly the same mailing list post on 100 different list archive sites. Their algorithm really ought to be able to group those and say 'see almost identical pages...' as a separate link.

        Your AdSense comment is spot on. For Google, there's always a conflict of interest between wanting to avoid spam in the search engine and wanting to promote sites that actually give them revenue. Hopefully they manage to balance this in favour of maintaining their reputation, but there's always going to be pressure towards the long-term game. DDG, in contrast, simply doesn't have this pressure. Their revenue comes entirely from the sponsored links, so their only incentives are to give useful enough search results that people keep using them and to give accurate enough sponsored links that people will want to click on them.

        The odd thing is, this is how Google used to work: they'd base their ads not on their profile of you, but on their analysis of what you were looking at (the page containing the ads or your search terms). Back then, I clicked on their links a lot, because if I'm looking for information about widgets there's a good chance that I'm interested in companies trying to sell me widgets too. Now, they base it on a profile of me and so are most likely to show me ads for things I've already bought and don't want another one - by the time I do, they've given up and started showing me ads for something else.

        --
        sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:39PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:39PM (#3878)

      I care about privacy as something I have a right to, but I also appreciate that Google provides some pretty decent services for me for 'free'. So far, Google has a very good privacy and security record. My information is valuable to them so they don't want it leaked. Yeah, if they go evil, it could be bad, but for now, the services provided are worth the information I provide. I also block ads, but when if I unblock them, I'd prefer they be as targeted as possible.

      The big problem I see is not with Google search so much as the tracking cookies on all the other sites that affect those that just Google search (as an example). The 'payment' in that case may be a bit high for them, assuming they are aware. I should be easier for those people to opt out.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Cactus on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:54PM

      by Cactus (32) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:54PM (#3885) Journal
      I have (in the past) used DDG as my default / only search engine in Firefox for months at a time. The search results are ... DIFFERENT. Maybe worse, depending on what you need, certainly better if you need unadulterated results, but different. The best part is the !Commands. If you change the appropriate about:config entries, you can designate specific sites to search in your address bar. !yt will go straight to a YouTube results page. !w will go straight to Wikipedia. Full list here [duckduckgo.com].
      They have a few other neat features, but the !bang commands are easily my favorite. Only reason I don't use it now is I ended up doing a full wipe of my comp, and I (still) haven't gotten around to redoing the about:config.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by MrNemesis on Friday February 21 2014, @10:42AM

        by MrNemesis (1582) on Friday February 21 2014, @10:42AM (#4212)

        Haven't you been able to do this in browsers themselves for years? In FF and Opera, you can right-click on a website's search box and use the "Add a keywords for this search" or whatever the Opera version is called; annoyingly it insists on saving it as a bookmark but you can define IMDB as, say, "imdb" and typing in "imdb some film wot I want to search for" will ping you off to IMDB's search page. Much faster IMHO and with zero reliance on a third party, and much more portable than relying exclusively on about:config hackery.

        --
        "To paraphrase Nietzsche, I have looked into the abyss and been sick in it."
    • (Score: 1) by pjbgravely on Friday February 21 2014, @12:03AM

      by pjbgravely (1681) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {ylevargbjp}> on Friday February 21 2014, @12:03AM (#3889) Homepage
      I use DDG for subjects Google doesn't work well. Google is still my main search engine. DDG doesn't have photo search which at times is a deal breaker. There are no ads yet so it is all results which seem better than Google.

      It also seems Google copied DDG's search result showing a photo and description orf the result. Perhaps they both copied Bing, which I have never used.
      • (Score: 1) by TheRaven on Friday February 21 2014, @09:18AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:18AM (#4176) Journal
        DDG doesn't have photo search which at times is a deal breaker Sticking !image in the DDG search term will send you over to Google Image Search (it used to be Microsoft's equivalent, I think), !spi will send you to the startpage image search, so that's not a reason to stop using DDG as the default.
        --
        sudo mod me up
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:46PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:46PM (#4372)

          Nice!

          I didn't know DDG had a bang for Startpage image search. Thanks!

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by pp on Friday February 21 2014, @02:25AM

      by pp (1566) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:25AM (#3997)

      They farm out their results from various sources, but unfortunately they pick up some of the quirks and errors from their result sources.

      One of the things that bugs me the most about Google, which DDG seems to do too, is the silent dropping of search terms to boost the number of results. It's as if getting two million irrelevant results is better than getting the four results that you actually want.

      The worst part is that the search term dropping is silent in DDG. I believe that Google at least tells you when certain terms aren't present in a particular result. In DDG, you can't always tell.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by ztoth on Friday February 21 2014, @02:53AM

      by ztoth (821) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:53AM (#4019)

      I've been using DDG for years (i.e. since the privacy reveals), pretty much exclusively. It gives results good enough, I rarely have to "fall back" to G or other engines.

      One killer feature DDG provides is called !bang [duckduckgo.com], which allows you to search for keywords in specific websites very easily, without going to that website first. For example, if you type "!a arduino" in DDG, it will take you to Amazon and search arduino stuff for you. There's a shortcut for every major site and the list keeps growing. You can even do this !bang thing in the URL bar if DDG is your default engine, which has simplified my life a lot...

      DDG lacks some features like image search. For that I use startpage, and with DDG's !bang feature it's as simple as typing "!spi natalie portman" in the URL bar :-)

    • (Score: 1) by MaxiCat_42 on Friday February 21 2014, @05:39AM

      by MaxiCat_42 (2087) on Friday February 21 2014, @05:39AM (#4105)

      I usually use DDG when I want fairly specific answers to technical queries. For example, I bought some ultrasonic range finder modules and wanted details on their use with microcontrollers. Google gave me a page of drell (sorry, I'm watching Farscape ATM), whereas DDG gave specific links to the info that I needed. It's the default on Rasperian too. Simple, basic and uncluttered design: I like it.

      Phil.

      --
      Lexicostatistical Glottochronology - you know it makes since.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @09:35AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @09:35AM (#4186)

      I use D2G regularly. I find that it is more reliable than Google, in the sense that it won't arbitrarily decide to leave out keywords of your search without telling you so. It enables me to search pretty well.

      D2G has some nice features, such as highlighting the "official" site for a product, and putting a short link to a Wikipedia article first. That really speeds up searching.

      OTOH, regularly, D2G doesn't find an acceptable answer, when Google (but also Bing) can. This mostly happens to me when looking for something technical, e.g. some aspect of multiple measurements in statistical testing. So I do switch from time to time.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Keldrin on Friday February 21 2014, @02:24PM

      by Keldrin (773) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:24PM (#4309) Journal

      I use DDG for about 95% of my searches, and have pretty much since they started up. Their results are much better now than they used to be, but they still aren't quite on par with Google. Every now and then I'm looking for something very obscure and specific, and Google will usually have that answer. But since I can just append !G to DDG, it will send me over to the google results without having to change the little picture in my search window.
      I mainly use them because it honestly seems like they are just trying to provide a helpful and useful service, and they are doing much better at the "don't be evil" thing than Google.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by martyb on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:41PM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:41PM (#3819) Journal

    So, with over 4 million page hits a day, and having an index of (a large enough part of) the internet, how do they pay for it?

    Do they have free bandwidth and servers?

    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:53PM

      by demonlapin (925) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:53PM (#3830) Journal
      I wonder pretty much the same thing about Startpage.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by etherscythe on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:58PM

      by etherscythe (937) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:58PM (#3838) Journal

      That, and the quality of search results, was my concern with it when I first looked for an alt-Google. I've settled on Startpage [startpage.com] (or Ixquick [ixquick.com] for those who like a metasearch option). They have sponsored results, but the user details are not shared as detailed here [startpage.com].

      Follow the money, as they say. Also note that Ixquick has been certified by an EU privacy initiative, for whatever that's worth.

      --
      "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
      • (Score: 1) by martyb on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:28PM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:28PM (#3870) Journal

        etherscythe wrote:


        That, and the quality of search results, was my concern with it when I first looked for an alt-Google. I've settled on Startpage [startpage.com] (or Ixquick [ixquick.com] for those who like a metasearch option). They have sponsored results, but the user details are not shared as detailed here [startpage.com].

        Follow the money, as they say. Also note that Ixquick has been certified by an EU privacy initiative, for whatever that's worth.

        I was unaware of those two search engines; thanks for the links!

        So, my fellow Soylenters, what do YOU use for a search engine when you don't use google, bing, or duckduckgo?

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by maxwell demon on Friday February 21 2014, @12:11AM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:11AM (#3893) Journal

          Well, that thread reminded me of metager, [metager.de] which I had used years ago, but somehow forgotten about. I now looked, and they also have a policy of not tracking users [metager.de], and they even offer a TOR hidden service search.

          Given that I haven't used it for years, I naturally can't tell how good the search results are. However one nice point is that they tell you which search engine found the specific links (which includes search engines I've never even heard about).

          BTW, Soylent News is link #15 when searching for Soylent News. ;-) [metager.de]

          One advantage of Startpage/Ixquick is that they by default use POST instead of GET, so your search terms don't show up in your browser history.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1) by siliconwafer on Friday February 21 2014, @12:51AM

      by siliconwafer (709) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:51AM (#3923)

      They have advertisements ("sponsored links"). Presumably that provides revenue and perhaps profit.

      • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday February 21 2014, @02:33AM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @02:33AM (#4005) Journal

        siliconwafer (709) wrote:


        They have advertisements ("sponsored links"). Presumably that provides revenue and perhaps profit.

        Thanks for the reply! Of course, and only AFTER submitting my question, I went to do a search on DDG and noticed a new-to-me request to white-list them in AdBlockPlus. Up until then, I honestly had no idea they even HAD ads!

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 1) by ragequit on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:46PM

    by ragequit (44) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:46PM (#3826) Journal

    TFS summary says --by default-- /me applies freshly minted tinfoil hat.

    --
    The above views are fabricated for your reading pleasure.
    • (Score: 1) by DECbot on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:05PM

      by DECbot (832) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:05PM (#3846) Journal

      /me applies slightly soiled and tarnished tinfoil hat.

      Modern tinfoil contains no tin [wikipedia.org].

      --
      cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by EvilJim on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:22PM

        by EvilJim (2501) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:22PM (#3862) Journal

        yup, if your hat doesn't 'cry' while you're shaping it, it's no good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_cry [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Foobar Bazbot on Friday February 21 2014, @12:06AM

        by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:06AM (#3890) Journal

        Re: your sig, sudo -i is generally the recommended way to obtain a root shell. It also, unlike 'sudo su', moves you to root's home directory -- unless root's $HOME == cats's $HOME, most shells would show a prompt like 'root /home/cats#' after 'sudo su', but 'root ~#' after sudo -i; I don't know of any that, by default, uses $SUDO_USER to show 'cats ~#' in any circumstance. (Sorry to be "that guy", but it's who I am.)

        Like 'su -', 'sudo -i' is very cautious (some might say paranoid) about the user's environment variables, to protect against privilege escalation, e.g. the case where, having obtained access to your non-root account e.g. while you walked away from your terminal, somebody set up you 'export EDITOR=thebomb', where thebomb is a program that checks effective uid (and does malicious things, if zero) then execs the editor you expected. "sudo su -" would accomplish a similar end, though the details of which environment variables are sanitized, and where the new values are loaded from, do differ slightly.

        • (Score: 1) by DECbot on Friday February 21 2014, @12:24AM

          by DECbot (832) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @12:24AM (#3902) Journal

          I'll get that fixed this weekend. I also wanted a third line, "cats ~# write base All your FILES are belongs to us." but it wasn't fitting/formatting correctly when I was setting up the sig.

          Thanks for the heads up.

          --
          cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
        • (Score: 1) by pp on Friday February 21 2014, @02:41AM

          by pp (1566) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:41AM (#4011)

          The -i option is for "simulate initial login", so it changes to the user's home directory and .profile/.login and the shell's .rc are sourced.

          -s is good if you just want to become a user while maintaining all of your initial user's environment.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Buck Feta on Friday February 21 2014, @12:52AM

        by Buck Feta (958) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:52AM (#3924) Journal

        >> Modern tinfoil contains no tin [wikipedia.org].

        Sure. That's what they want you to believe.

        --
        - fractious political commentary goes here -
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:54PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:54PM (#3831)

    'If you look at the logs of people's search sessions, they're the most personal thing on the Internet,'

    This is a big reason I use Tor for a lot of my casual browsing. Tor uses another privacy orientated search page https://startpage.com/ [startpage.com] on top of the anonymity provided by the Tor network. I can imagine some NSA spook drawing some horrible conclusions from my innocent curiosity in some eccentric and controversial things.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by revilo on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:01PM

    by revilo (1973) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:01PM (#3840) Homepage

    It is not only the privacy but the search bubble which is of concern.
    A good selling point for Duckduckgo is that we are more and more
    fed search results based on where we live, what we have searched
    before and what my operating system we use. We want an objective answer to a question
    and not a biased projection of what the search engine thinks, is interesting for us.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by JimmyCrackCorn on Friday February 21 2014, @12:09AM

      by JimmyCrackCorn (1495) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:09AM (#3891)

      Maybe a more powerful statement toward search diversity is to accomplish economic boycott on a mass scale by not using Google and using some other search that does not use Google. DuckDuckGo has a sponsored link at the top of the search results, presumably an income stream.

      The general rule of thumb seems to be that a company has value if it has users.

      It is not that google doesn't give me results, it is the results of us using google that give me pause.

      • (Score: 1) by SMI on Friday February 21 2014, @01:41AM

        by SMI (333) on Friday February 21 2014, @01:41AM (#3961)

        Very insightful, especially that last line..

      • (Score: 1) by TheRaven on Friday February 21 2014, @09:21AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:21AM (#4177) Journal
        DuckDuckGo has a sponsored link at the top of the search results, presumably an income stream Not only do they have them, they're actually pretty good at showing useful things there. It's certainly not universal, but I quite often find that the sponsored link is actually the one I want to click on. If I'm shopping, it always is, although it may not be the one where I actually spend money eventually.
        --
        sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 1) by evk on Friday February 21 2014, @09:42AM

      by evk (597) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:42AM (#4189)

      I'm a bit torn on this issue. By principle i dislike the idea of a search bubble, but I often find that Google finds me what I want at once, while I have to spend some time with DDG to find the same thing.

      So the bubble can be good or bad, depending on the goal with the search. If I'm researching some issue and want to get something close to an objective view, I certainly don't want the be walled in by my previous activity.
      If I search for some specific resource, it's another issue. I don't want the alternatives. I know exactly what I want, and _mostly_ Google will give it to me.

      • (Score: 1) by lhsi on Friday February 21 2014, @02:33PM

        by lhsi (711) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:33PM (#4317) Journal

        Imagine if you could prefix a search query with "pop" to have non-bubble search results :-)

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by duvel on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:04PM

    by duvel (1496) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:04PM (#3843)

    This is actually something for which we have to thank the NSA and Facebook.

    If it wasn't for them, people wouldn't worry nearly as much about their privacy. Increased usage of anonymous search engines, of Tor, of VPN's: it all comes from the valiant efforts of NSA, Facebook and the like to let everybody understand the value of privacy.

    And let's not forget the efforts of the music industry. In Europe, the lobbying of the music industry has gotten legislators to the point where they have made accessing torrent websites illegal (never mind that those sites don't contain any 'illegal' content themselves). This is enforced by altering DNS. Every visit to a torrent web site is diverted to a page warning about the illegal activity you're embarking on. Thanks to this, I have started using Tor.

    It's all good.

    --
    This Sig is under surveilance by the NSA
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by zford on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:20PM

    by zford (9) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:20PM (#3860)

    I frequently use DuckDuckGo for their goodies. For example, searching for NameVirtualHost [duckduckgo.com] will bring up the relevant section of the Apache docs.

    https://duckduckgo.com/goodies [duckduckgo.com]

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Foobar Bazbot on Friday February 21 2014, @12:41AM

    by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:41AM (#3917) Journal

    Nice superlatives. Funny how I don't see a word about ixquick/startpage in TFA; I guess we're to take it as a matter of faith that they are larger and/or less fierce than duckduckgo?

    I don't wanna call slashvertisement, exactly (it seems like just another US author being totally ignorant of foreign search engines), but this article is the sort of puff-piece that could really use an editorial note mentioning the other contenders.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by EETech1 on Friday February 21 2014, @02:15AM

      by EETech1 (957) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:15AM (#3990)

      Ahemmm... Wouldn't that be a Soilentvertisement?

       

      • (Score: 1) by Foobar Bazbot on Friday February 21 2014, @05:04AM

        by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Friday February 21 2014, @05:04AM (#4086) Journal

        Well, it's supposed to be a dirty word, so I think it's one context where retaining "slash" makes sense. ;)

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @07:23AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @07:23AM (#4146)

    Which engine does DDG use? Bing or google? I was under the impression they use bing, since i remember going there and there somewhere saying "powered by bing" or something, but now i tried to look it up, but i can't find shit from their site.

    Anyway, i use startpage.com, they use google. Just like many here have said about DDG, you don't get all the results you would with google, but then again, you don't usually get that many relevant results with google either (it was different 15 years ago, when there weren't so many fucking ad pages and shit around).

    • (Score: 1) by timbim on Friday February 21 2014, @08:21AM

      by timbim (907) on Friday February 21 2014, @08:21AM (#4163)

      Yeah I could not find the association to bing either, thought I heard that too.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @08:30AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @08:30AM (#4167)

      > Which engine does DDG use? Bing or google?

      You are aware that there are other ways to build a search engine than use an existing back-end right ? How do you think such back-ends exist in the first place.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @11:27AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @11:27AM (#4239)

        I am, but these days, who does that? Google, microsoft and that wolf something something

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by TheRaven on Friday February 21 2014, @09:23AM

      by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:23AM (#4179) Journal
      They use their own crawler and a few other sources. They have deals with a number of domain-specific search engines to use them for certain terms and they certainly used to be using Yahoo's build-your-own-search-service, which became powered by Bing when Yahoo sold their search business to Microsoft and started using the Bing engine for search, but I don't know if they still do.
      --
      sudo mod me up
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:35PM (#4363)

      Who ever tagged this redundant should link where this is exlained already or maybe not tag at all and let someone else do it if he's so damn lazy.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by zafiro17 on Friday February 21 2014, @12:05PM

    by zafiro17 (234) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:05PM (#4255) Homepage

    I use DDG as my primary search engine and stick to it whenever possible. It's not perfect - unfortunately, Google definitely provides better results and also offers things like address and image search that are pretty darned useful.

    But I'm willing to usually forego those aspects in order to prevent Google from getting more of my data. Seriously, to all the people wondering if the NSA isn't secretely pasting your packets back together, keep a grip on the big picture! Whatever the NSA might be doing to DDG, they're also doing it to Google, so it is a tie. Meanwhile, DDG makes it a policy to keep your searches private and untracked, while Google makes it a policy to rope you increasingly into their ecosystem the way Microsoft did so effectively with their products back in the 90s.

    I really hate it that Google asked me a hundred times if I wanted to convert my Youtube profile to a Google Plus profile. A said "no" every single time, and then they went ahead and did it anyway, goddammit. A week later, I commented on some video and Google went ahead and published that comment on my G+ feed. WTF! It makes me not want to even use Youtube anymore.

    DDG might be a search engine whose searches aren't the number 1. But it's worth it in order to spread my data around more providers instead of just letting Google have it all. (I also use fastmail.fm for IMAP email, fruux.com for calendaring and addressbook, and Opera for a browser). My two big failures in that area are and Android phone in my pocket (can't help it, I love the Note III) and using G+ as a place to post mindless drivel.

    DDG remains my go-to search engine and I think you should use it too. Also, cute duck icon!

    --
    Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
  • (Score: 1) by thoughtlover on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:19PM

    by thoughtlover (3247) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:19PM (#7482) Journal

    Why use a competing search engine when you're only going to end at a URL that has some Google-based service attached to it?

    Almost every website out there uses some Google service, like googleapis, googletypekit, or even Youtube. I constantly deny sites like facebook, etc., but Google's dev tools are used almost everywhere by developers.

    Google still sees your IP address soon after you've clicked on a DDG or StartPage link, and they know they just served up that link to a search engine, so...