An Introduction to DuckDuckGo

The word “Google” has become synonymous with searching the internet, but Google is not the only decent search engine out there. There is another one called DuckDuckGo. In fact, I actually like DuckDuckGo better than Google.

What is DuckDuckGo? Well, it’s a search engine. But it’s a search engine with a lot of nifty features. The biggest of those features is that it doesn’t track you. Unlike most search engines, DDG does not store your personal information that some search engines collect through your search history. You can read more about all of this here. While this is great to have, it’s not what sold me on DDG.

DuckDuckGo just launched a new version of their service that updates the look of the service, as well as adds some cool new features.

My favorite feature of DDG is all of the data available without leaving the initial search page. For instance, this search for “avocado” gives me the usual list of links. However, at the top of the page I can click ‘About’ to get information from Wikipedia. I can click ‘Images’ and ‘Videos’ to get access to a drop down that shows me pictures or videos without having to reload the page. For this particular search, I can also get recipe cards, a definition, and a grid of related products on Amazon. Clicking on any of these items also expands the information about that item inline on the page. Very cool stuff.

I realize that my explanation of this is probably not that clear, so here is an image demonstrating DDG’s inline data:

DuckDuckGo

As you can see, DDG makes it super simple to access many different types of information when you search. It also does instant answers. For instance, you could search for the weather and it would give you that information inline. Even better, DDG gets its weather data from Forecast.

Some other answers you can get include flight info, definitions, map and place data, mathematical calculations, and much more.

My second favorite feature of DDG is bang searches. Basically, you include a special syntax before your search term(s) and DDG will forward you to another site so that you can search there. For instance, “!g avocado” would search Google for “avocado”. My other favorite is using !a to search for Amazon products. DDG has many bang searches. You can see a list of all supported sites here.

DDG is packed with useful features that make it really versatile. It is truly a power-user’s search engine.

Here are a few tips that I have in order to take full advantage of DDG:

  1. Install their Safari extension in order to set Safari’s default search engine to DDG. Just visit duckduckgo.com in Safari and use the link at the bottom.
  2. Scratch that. Don’t use duckduckgo.com. Use ddg.gg. It’s shorter, faster, and gets you to the same place.
  3. If you use LaunchBar, use this search template to quickly search DDG from anywhere: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=*
  4. There is not way to set DDG as the default search engine on mobile Safari. However, if you use Launch Center Pro, you can install this action to quickly launch a search using DDG.

Hopefully some of those tips will help you get started with DuckDuckGo. It is a great search engine that can do some really cool stuff. Give it a shot and I think you’ll like it.