Many search engines have come and gone over the years, but only one has managed to not only grow, but also hold a virtual monopoly on the general search engine world. That search engine is Google, and though I can’t help but love almost every product they release, I still find something creepy about the amount of data they collect on each and every one of us. I’ve drunk the Google Kool-Aid and accepted long ago that tracking and harvesting of my information is fact of life on the internet, but is that really true? Perhaps there’s another way.
By chance I happened to be browsing around on Reddit, a website that I occasionally view and almost immediately regret having done so afterwards. This time was different, though, and someone – possibly the creator of the site I’m about to tell you about – talked about an anonymous search engine called DuckDuckGo. Anonymous you say? And not only anonymous, but free as well? Advert free, even? The list went on and on, and I was intrigued.
DuckDuckGo is a fully anonymous search engine that doesn’t store any of your personal information, doesn’t track you or your search queries like Google does, and they also happen to be pretty damn good at indexing websites as well. Instead of solely relying on the big guys – such as Bing and Google – to scrape content from, they also came up with their own crawlers to scour the web for websites worthy of being indexed.
I’ve been playing around with DuckDuckGo for a few days now, and overall my experience has been rather positive. I haven’t noticed a slew of cookies being dropped to my computer, and the minimal amount of advertising is especially refreshing. My biggest complaint is that the actual search results look a bit, well… dated. I don’t mean in terms of content displayed – as they do a great job with that – but simply the visual aspects. This is actually something that you can customize, but I think we all know that the majority of users simply want a search engine to work and be easy on the eyes right out of the box. If privacy is important to you, and you can deal with the arguably less than appealing search results, then I highly recommend you give DuckDuckGo a try.