Duck Duck Go: an alternative search engine

Duck Duck Go is a search engine that can be used as an alternative to search engines such as Google or Bing.

Duck Duck Go logo
Image taken from duckduckgo.com

You may not be aware that popular search engines, like Google or Bing, use your browsing history and location to tailor (or bias) their search results. This means that searching for ‘Italian restaurants’ will bring up those closest to your home. Whilst this can be beneficial for eating out, it can mean you miss out on vital information when conducting a search on an academic topic.

Duck Duck Go takes a different approach to its service and does not track your search history or use your location as part of its search algorithm. These two factors can be very important depending on the type of search you want to conduct. For example, if you wanted a global perspective on a particular medical condition then Duck Duck Go can provide results without a location bias. Additionally, the fact that Duck Duck Go does not track its users prevents your previous search history influencing future search results. This avoids a filter bubble effect where you begin to see search results that agree with what search engines presume is your opinion or interest in certain topics. As it is important to get all the relevant information, regardless of personal viewpoints, avoiding the filter bubble can be crucial when searching for information on contentious topics, such as abortion.

However, switching to Duck Duck Go doesn’t mean you have to stop using Google, or any other search engine. If at any time you want to use a different search engine add an ! followed by a pre-assigned code and Duck Duck Go will use that website’s search mechanism to run its search. For example !g will search Google and !b will search Bing.

Duck Duck Go's ! search feature
Duck Duck Go’s ! search feature (image taken from duckduckgo.com)

For more information on Duck Duck Go take a look at this interview with its creator Gabriel Weinberg.

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