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June 30th, 2016

DuckDuckGo: The Little Search Engine That Gives Back Big

An unadorned search page that loads fast. Search results combined from a number of sources. No sponsored search results to get in the way of the real ones. And they don’t collect personal information or track you in any way. Some people, including most of us here at FOSS Force, think DuckDuckGo is the best search engine out there.

The FOSS Force Video Interview

The company’s website says, “DuckDuckGo is a general purpose search engine that is intended to be your starting place when searching the Internet. Use it to get way more instant answers, way less spam and real privacy, which we believe adds up to a much better overall search experience.”

It’s an excellent search engine. I use it myself. But that’s not all. Check out this FOSS Force headline from May: DuckDuckGo Gives $225,000 to Open Source Projects. That’s right. A search engine that is (HYBERBOLE ALERT!) about one-billionth as large as Google manages to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to open source projects.

Proprietor Gabriel Weinberg says his once-personal project (founded in 2008) isn’t making anyone wealthy, but he and his workers live decently, and he says they’re doing well enough that giving money to open source projects doesn’t hurt their budget.

DuckDuckGo is profitable. Not Google-profitable. Closer to Craigslist-profitable, and Weinberg admits he admires Craig Newmark, who famously has made a bunch of money, but nowhere near as much as he could if money was his main goal.

So you know: We aren’t the only ones who admire DuckDuckGo. In May, 2013, The Washington Post ran two news articles about DuckDuckGo, along with one all the way back in 2012. For even more DuckDuckGo (and Gabriel Weinberg) information, see Wikipedia. And watch the interview, of course.

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Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin "Roblimo" Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he's mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

9 comments to DuckDuckGo: The Little Search Engine That Gives Back Big

  • Mike S.

    I love DuckDuckGo, but for complex queries or recent news, I frequently find myself using the !g syntax to drop directly to Google.

    There are two other search services I know of similar to DuckDuckGo, ixquick and dogpile.

    Yacy is a fully open source peer-to-peer distributed search engine. The concept sounds awesome, but the last time I tried it the search performance was terrible. I searched for ‘Spongebob’ as a test case, and got all sorts of random results that just had the character somewhere in the page.

  • Bob W

    I, like Mike S, love DuckDuckGo and I too use the !g syntax when I want to find something more recent. I cannot wait until DuckDuckGo gets the feature to look for articles, links, etc within a specific time frame.

    One thing I tell people and that I notice is that with DuckDuckGo, is that your search results are more accurate. Maybe not always in most recent order but you get more links that are relevant to your actual search.

    Keep up the good work all you people at DuckDuckGo!!!!!!

  • tracyanne

    I’ve been using IXQuick for years, I never liked the look of Duck Duck Gos search results.

    But if they are supporting FOSS to that sort of tune, I’ll have to check them out.

  • fred

    Duckduckgo frequently returns some pretty dubious results that have absolutely sweet FA to do with the search terms given, but that is where !g comes in handy.

    It is a great search engine though, I’ve been using it since it started.

  • configX

    You can customize that in the settings. I tend to use the terminal theme.

  • Albin

    All those good things about DDG being true, the actual search results on DDG are almost laughable by comparison with Google. StartPage builds privacy protection onto the Google search algo, and there is an https version of it. Not quite up to “pure Google” for results but leaves DDG in the dust.

  • Mike

    I don’t like that Google’s results are colored by past searches from that login/IP.

    I imagine that even using StartPage, you are getting results filtered by all past StartPage searches (performed by all users due to the anonymity of StartPage).

    DuckDuckGo’s search results have been more than adequate in the years I’ve been using it exclusively.

  • I have used DDG for a couple of years now. I like it for many reasons, especially fewer random hits (the opposite than what a couple of other commentators have suggested).

    I suppose a part of the reason is my anti-Google bias (though I think GMail’s spam filtering is currently the world’s best).

    JRG

  • bob burger

    Is DuckDuckGo still hosted on Amazon?
    Not my first choice for a privacy-respecting service.