Over the years, I’ve tried both main search engines but always ended up using Google. On my Windows Phone 7 I use Bing as you don’t have a real choice there.
Google’s decision to include social network content into the search results and the way they handle your privacy made me look for something else. And a few months ago I discovered something way better: DuckDuckGo (twitter), a startup created by Gabriel Weinberg.
Doing things differently
The first time you visit the site you’re greeted with a very clean layout - remember Google in their early days? Now I don’t visit their home page that often because I’m a strong advocate of the “there’s no better home page than about:blank” movement. The first thing I do when configuring Internet Explorer is removing all search providers and adding the one from DuckDuckGo. To add DuckDuckGo to Internet Explorer, simply go to the homepage and click “Add to IE” at the bottom. You’re all set now. Just press CTRL-E when you like to perform a search.
You’ll notice that DuckDuckGo uses HTTPS by default. It also does not send your search terms to the sites you visit or use them to do all kinds of fancy stuff that plays around with your privacy. You would be amazed what Big Brother knows about you through your usage of your favorite search engine. Hey, I even noticed recently that LinkedIn knows what car I’m driving although I’m fairly positive I never discussed that on LinkedIn.
Search engine productivity
When you use DuckDuckGo and you have the feeling you’re not getting the results you wish for, you can use some shortcuts to send your search terms to other search engines:
- !g for Google
- !gi for Google Images
- !gm for Google Maps
- !b for Bing
- !bm for Bing Maps
They have hundreds of these ‘Bang’ shortcuts that you’ll want to take a look at. I often use “!Technet” or “!Microsoft” for example, but that’s just me 🙂 By default, you’re always redirected to the HTTPS version of these other search engines if it’s available.
What I also like is the ability to use the search bar as a application:
- “100 USD in EUR” provides you with currency conversion
- “weather in Brussels” provides you with, well… the weather in Brussels
Ego searching (“vanity search” as SharePoint calls it) or looking for info on someone is also very convenient. This is what you get when you search for my Twitter handle:
So go ahead, give DuckDuckGo a try - you won’t be disappointed! Oh, and did I mention their search results are pretty good?