I Ditched Google for DuckDuckGo. Here's Why You Should Too

What was the last thing you searched for online? For me, it was “$120 in pounds.” Before that, I wanted to know the capital of Albania (Tirana), the Twitter handle of Liberal Democrat deputy leader Ed Davey (he’s @EdwardJDavey), and dates of bank holidays in the UK for 2019 (it’s a late Easter next year, folks). Thrilling, I’m sure you’ll agree. But something makes these searches, in internet terms, a bit unusual. Shock, horror, I didn’t use Google. I used DuckDuckGo. And, after two years in the wilderness, I’m pretty sure I’m sold on a post-Google future. Wired UK This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. It all started with a realization: Most the things I search for are easy to find. Did I really need the all-seeing, all-knowing algorithms of Google to assist me? Probably not. So I made a simple change: I opened up Firefox on my Android phone and switched Google search for DuckDuckGo. As a result, I’ve had a fairly tedious but important revelation: I search for really obvious stuff. Google’s own data backs this up. Its annual round-up of the most searched-for terms is basically a list of names and events: World Cup, Avicii, Mac Miller, Stan Lee, Black Panther, Megan Markle. The list goes on. And I don’t need to buy into Google’s leviathan network of privacy-invading trackers to find out what Black Panther is and when I can go and see it at my local cinema. While I continue to use Google at work (more out of necessity, as my employer runs on G-Suite), on my phone I’m all about DuckDuckGo. I had, based on zero evidence, convinced myself that finding things on the internet was hard and, inevitably, involved a fair amount of tracking. After two years of not being tracked and targeted, I have slowly come to realize that this is nonsense. DuckDuckGo works in broadly the same way as any other search engine, Google included. It combines data from hundreds of sources, including Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia and Bing, with its own web crawler to surface the most relevant results. Google does exactly the same, albeit on a somewhat larger scale. The key difference: DuckDuckGo does not store IP addresses or user information. Billed as the search engine that doesn’t track you, DuckDuckGo processes around 1.5 billion searches every month. Google, for contrast, processes around 3.5 billion searches per day. It’s hardly a fair fight, but DuckDuckGo is growing. In 2012 it averaged just 45 million searches per month. While Google still operates in a different universe, the actual difference in the results you see when you search isn’t so far apart. In fact, in many respects, DuckDuckGo is better. Its search results aren’t littered with Google products and services—boxes and carousels to try to persuade people to spend more time in Google’s family of apps. Search for, say, “Iron Man 2” and Google will first tell you the movie can be purchased from Google Play or YouTube from £9.99. It will then suggest you play a trailer for the film on, where else, YouTube. The film is also “liked” by 92 percent of Google users, and people searching for this also search for, you guessed it, Iron Man and Iron Man 3. The same search on DuckDuckGo pulls in a snippet from Wikipedia and quick links to find out more on IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, or iTunes. For the most part, the top of Google’s page of results directs you toward more Google products and services. Go further still and search for “Iron Man 2 cast” and Google displays a…

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