But now a real alternative to Google's search engine has arrived: DuckDuckGo. This search engine has been around for several years now, and more and more people are beginning to recommend it.
Last night Marco Arment revealed that he has switched to DDG. He thinks it's great:
In my experience so far, DuckDuckGo’s search is good enough the vast majority of the time. Sometimes, its results are even better than Google’s, and they’re rarely much worse.
Arment goes on to note that one of DuckDuckGo's better features is the way it lets you use wildcards (bang operators, in DDG parlance) to search specific sites. You can run an Amazon search simply by including the !a bang operator, or you can add !g and use DDG to search Google.
While Google has a similar site delimiter tag, it's longer and it doesn't let you search other search engines. DDG's bang operator, however, is short, simple, and lets you quickly check to see whether Google, Bing, or another search engine can give a better result. As Arment phrased it, this is "an antidote to grass-is-always-greener syndrome: you immediately see the mediocrity you’re missing and stop doubting your choice".
And he's not the only one to like it. Arment also mentions that developer/blogger Casey Liss had switched last month. Liss strongly recommended DDG:
Yes, sometimes that has problems.
No, the search results aren’t always as good.
Yes, I sometimes fall back to Google.
Yes, I still think it’s worth it.
DuckDuckGo has improved tremendously over the last couple years. I had previously tried it when it was mentioned on Daring Fireball in early 2012. At that time, I felt like the search results left quite a lot to be desired. I gave up on it quickly.
When Apple added it as a “blessed” search provider last year, I tried it again. I haven’t looked back since.
I've never used DDG, but I did just make it my default search engine for Chrome. I've been wanting to switch from Google for a while, and now is as good of a time as any.
Between the adverts drenching the results page, colluding with Adblock Plus to let ads slip through the filter, putting press releases at the top of the news search results, and developing Pontius Pilate's search algorithm, Google has given me 4 solid reasons to flee to another service.
So tell me, have you DuckDuckWent yet?
I know that I've heard from a few readers who have switched (I'm regretting not having heeded their opinions). What do you think of DuckDuckGo?