back to article Tinfoil-hat search engine DuckDuckGo gifts more options, dark theme and other toys for the 0.43%

Alternative search engine DuckDuckGo has announced improvements to its search options and an enhanced dark theme, but its tiny market share shows that most people are content to stick with Google, despite privacy issues. DuckDuckGo says it offers search without any user profiling, in contrast to the trend towards …

  1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    Go

    I am genuinely surprised that their market share is so low. Given the fact that it is quite easy to set it as default search provider on a Web browser.

    I find it works for pretty much everything I need and it is very quick. It also doesn't show me ads for a No8 security torx bit 2 weeks after someone in the house bought one from amazon lol.

    If Duck Duck can make a search service based on non tracking / profiling advertising revenue and are still competitive with less than 1% of the market good on them!

    Spread the word people!

    1. Bite my finger

      Re: Go

      I've tried DDG. Might be okay in some areas, but I've got work to do in IT and I search all day long. With DDG I get frustrated trying to reach the info I need. With google it's usually done in moments. This keeps happening.

      I really dislike Google, but their tech results are far better. Sorry DDG.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Go

        I've found that the result for my tech-related searches are no worse in DDG than with Google.

        But that's damning with faint praise, because the quality of search results I get from Google tend to be on the poor side.

        1. Carlie J. Coats, Jr.

          Re: Go

          And Google's results have been getting progressively worse...

          1. NoneSuch Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Go

            Seconded. If I use the - symbol to exclude results, I still get them on Google. It used to work, however.

            I use DDG at home and no regrets. It is getting better and the privacy thing is more important every day.

          2. Dal90

            Re: Go

            What, you don't want a solution to your question for four OS versions and two application major releases old dominating the first two pages of results?

        2. aqk
          Windows

          Re: Go. So?

          So which search engine do YOU recommend?

          Be careful with your answer.

      2. rcxb Bronze badge

        Re: Go

        With DDG I get frustrated trying to reach the info I need. With google it's usually done in moments.

        I find the opposite about 95% of the time. DDG's instant answers are often helpful, DDG does a far better job of filtering out spam/linkfarm/gateway sites that litter Google search results, and I've often found myself quickly finding good answers with DDG while colleagues spend days on Google in frustration.

        And on those occasions where I'm not finding what I want on DDG, just adding "!g" to the search will send you on over to Google... Most of the time, I find it was I that was wrong and Google's results are no better.

      3. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Go

        "I really dislike Google, but their tech results are far better. Sorry DDG."

        I don't like google and have swapped totally to... sorry folks... Bing. I find that generally I get the best results and am far less bombarded with ads and sponsored results. Tried DDG too but wasn't happy.

        1. Zolko

          Re: Go

          "I don't like google and have swapped totally to... sorry folks... Bing"

          ha, Bing, luxury ! I'm using Qwant (hum, apparently they are partnering with Microsoft now).

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Go

            Hah, Qwant, luxury. I have an algorithm running that compiles URLs from random letters and sends me to that page. I then have to manually find if it contains what I need! If it doesn't it's on to the next one.

            1. Timmy B Silver badge

              Re: Go

              Makes you wonder... how much trouble would you get if you just tried to browse to random ip addresses?

      4. Steve 122

        Re: Go

        I always use duckduckgo first, and then simply add !g to my search query to run the same search on google if I didn't find what I wanted

      5. mihares

        Re: Go

        Because DDG is mostly used by nerds, it tends to be a sharper tool for technical and scientific searches than Google is --since a while it also proposes thoughtful snippets of StackExchange and derivatives, for the lazy who doesn't want to click on links.

      6. slartybartfast

        Re: Go

        Not my experience. I have, on occasion, tried searches in Google and find them to either be about the same or in some cases worse.

      7. The Dogs Meevonks

        Re: Go

        "I really dislike Google, but their tech results are far better. Sorry DDG."

        I don't really care if the results are not quite as good (I've not really noticed an issue myself) because the privacy concerns far outweigh the extra few seconds/minutes it may take to find what I want.

        It's been my default on firefox for several years now, and I added it to my phone last year too.

      8. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Go

        I really dislike Google, but their tech results are far better. Sorry DDG.

        A year back I would've grudginly but completely agreed - DDG's results weren't great (perhaps explained by partnering iwth Bing - I mean they used to show a school near me which had been demolished for a long time and the area had been filled with houses for at least 5 years - entire suburbs missing from their maps and search results grossly out of date).

        But these days, while DDG hasn't improved much google's results have been getting steadily worse especially with their more recent changes. Couple that with removing simple boolean operators (eg +"This text must be there" -notthis" would mean only those pages that had "This text must be there" would be shown and any page with "notthis" would not be shown) and several other cahnges to their ranking etc, and I find now DDG is OK but not nearly as good as oldgoogle but newgoogle is quite shit, perhaps even worse than oldDDG.

      9. MarieAntOnNet

        Re: Go

        If you really dislike Google but like their search results better, then you might like Startpage.com. Startpage uses Google's results but doesn't snoop (i.e. doesn't store your IP address, nor share any personal info with Google.) I'm a DDG user, it's fine for me. But my wife, who preferred Google, uses Startpage almost exclusively. Hope this helps.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Go

      Also should use their browser, what i use primarily now on my phone.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      I'm not surprised

      I tried explaining to a few non-techie friends why Google was evil and they should want to use DDG for their searches. After watching their eyes glaze over I gave up.

      Plus for anyone using an Android phone getting off Google search is pointless, so considering it has an 85% market share there's really only 15% of the market that could even benefit from such a switch. The only thing that could really impact these numbers would be if Apple switched the Safari default off Google. Considering Google pays them as much as $9 billion a year (no one knows exactly how much, all we have are estimates) to be the default that would be an expensive change. Still, if you really want to go all-in on customer privacy...

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: I'm not surprised

        "for anyone using an Android phone getting off Google search is pointless"

        Why?

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: I'm not surprised

          Because Andriod is completely controlled by Google. If they want it to key log you, it key logs you.

          1. Alchemi

            Re: I'm not surprised

            You say that, but it doesn't even have to be Google - remember some the (potential) issues with custom keyboards. But yeah, I still believe they're the nicest overlord we'll ever have. But the keyboard issue, malicious or 'simple' telemetry of reporting back all keystrokes, really isn't fair to say only happens on Androids.

            I use DDG as my primary browser but I do use the !g quite often. I apparently run into obscure issues often enough that only google (or Bing) has crawled it.

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: I'm not surprised

            It doesn't have to be. My Android device does not talk to Google at all.

            Even if it did, I still see value in avoiding using Google search -- why volunteer even more data to them?

            1. slartybartfast

              Re: I'm not surprised

              JohnFen, your Android device IS Google.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: I'm not surprised

                Perhaps, but that's a semantic argument considering that it doesn't actually talk to Google.

                1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

                  Re: I'm not surprised

                  How on earth can you know that?

        2. DougS Silver badge

          Re: I'm not surprised

          Doesn't have to go so far as key logging you, but even without that you are basically carrying a Google data collection device with you everywhere 24x7. How could anyone possibly think "letting Google have my search data is a bad idea" but be totally OK with carrying a phone running a Google OS (including tons of closed source code) with them everywhere?

          Yeah, yeah, there's LineageOS, but other than the tiny number who goes to those lengths to have an Android phone that's not Google pwned the idea of an Android user avoiding Google search is just ridiculous. Its like insisting on having a hardware disabling switch for the camera/mic on your laptop when you have an Alexa in your home.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: I'm not surprised

            "Yeah, yeah, there's LineageOS, but other than the tiny number who goes to those lengths"

            The existence of de-Googled ROMs is rather my point.

            Telling people "if you use Android, there's no point in protecting yourself" is incorrect and counterproductive -- people are just going to say "well, I guess there's no point in protecting myself, then" and carry on being exposed to more security risks than are necessary.

            A better approach is to actually inform those who are concerned how they can use their devices in a way that offers greater protection from Google and other bad actors.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: I'm not surprised

              The number of people who replace the OS on their phone is tiny. And I'll bet the first thing a lot of LineageOS users do is install the Google app store - because they are doing it to get OS updates or "pure Android", not to escape Google's clutches.

              That's what I did to the cheap LG tablet I picked up for $50 to screw around with. It was long ago orphaned for OS updates, so I installed LineageOS but I installed the play store. I only use it for experiments or when I want to check something out on Android, so I don't care if Google is tracking me with it. I'd never consider Android for my phone.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: I'm not surprised

                True, but none of that addresses the point I was making, which is that the statement "for anyone using an Android phone getting off Google search is pointless" is incorrect.

                First, there are people (however few they may be) using Android without it talking to Google. For those people, avoiding Google search is the exact opposite of "pointless".

                Second, even for those who are using Googly ROMs, there is still benefit to minimizing the amount of data they're giving to Google. Protecting privacy isn't (and can't realistically be) an "all or nothing" proposition.

          2. zuckzuckgo

            Re: I'm not surprised

            Do you believe Apple does not track you just because they say so? Or that a third party (Tencent?) hasn't figured out how to track your phone. I see no reason to trust Apple more or less than Google, Samsung or any other software / hardware / app suppliers. Even open source systems could be contaminated with flaws or intentional back doors. So just saying that Android is inherently more unsafe because "Google," is nonsense.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: I'm not surprised

              Apple has no financial incentive to track me. They make money when they sell me the phone, and if I subscribe to extra services like Apple Music. They don't act as an ad broker like Google does as its main business (not sure if it is still true, but last time I checked over 100% of their profit came from advertising - everything else collectively operated at a loss)

              So yeah I believe Apple doesn't track me because why spend a ton of money collecting and filing away information they can't use? Google spends billions collecting all the personal information they do - heck they probably pay billions a year just for the storage of the huge volumes of information they collect on people. But they make far more brokering ads so that cost is worth it for them. It wouldn't be for Apple, who has no real use for that data. Now I suppose if you believe Apple is simply evil they might track me just to be bastards, but no company is actually "evil", they just do evil things in the pursuit of profit. So if you want to know if a company does something, or at least has a possibility of doing something, you have to look at whether they can profit from it.

              Tencent can't track my phone because I have no interaction with them. The 'bad site detection' stuff only connects to Tencent if you have an Apple ID registered in China, otherwise it connects to Google. I have that function disabled on my phone because I don't want to give Google any information about me, at least where I can avoid it (so many sites have Google trackers embedded it is probably a pointless gesture even with Safari's anti-tracking stuff)

              1. zuckzuckgo

                Re: I'm not surprised

                Apple has a huge financial incentive to track you. To maintain their stock valuation, they need strong year over year profit growth. Phone sales are approaching saturation so the profits will have to come from somewhere else. They are expanding into services and finance. You can't provide credit card, navigation and other personalized services without tracking the user.

                Apple also has a history of keeping long standing security flaws under wraps, relying on their walled garden for security. Problem with that it means the black hats may be exploiting the flaws long before the white hats can develop remedies.

                Google has a strong incentive to keep your information private. They make their money through ad services. The value of those services depends on them knowing things about you that the advertisers don't. Your information are their crown jewels. This is where Google differs from companies like Facebook, which allows outside organizations direct access to your data.

                But Google and Apple are just companies, they can change management, lie, make mistakes, have dishonest employees. So I don't trust Google any more than Apple.

                1. Il'Geller

                  Re: I'm not surprised

                  ...a strong incentive to keep your information private...

                  You meant to say "to keep it secret before it's sold".

    4. Blackjack

      Re: Go

      That is because Google is still the default search engine on Google Chrome and other web browserbrowsers.

      Never blame stupidity when plain old laziness makes more sense.

      1. Luke McCarthy

        Re: Go

        Same reason DOS/Windows dominated PC operating systems - because it's installed by default. If you have to lift your little finger to change, forget it. It's too much effort for the average person.

        1. Often Confused

          Re: Go

          "Same reason DOS/Windows dominated PC operating systems"

          No that was DirectX - games games and more games.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Go

            "Same reason DOS/Windows dominated PC operating systems"

            No that was DirectX - games games and more games.

            DX didn't come out till late '95 in answer to issues around W95 and gaming, whereas DOS still had the better performance for games.

            Yet at that stage the dominance was already pretty well set for the home/small office market as DOS and later Win311/DOS was already on the machine.

            DX has helped cement that, but it wasn't the cause.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I am genuinely surprised that their market share is so low.

      exactly the same reason why Google make billions off ads, i.e. around 99 % people don't give a fuck about ads / and / or privacy.

      1. Zolko

        Re: I am genuinely surprised that their market share is so low.

        around 99 % people don't give a fuck about ads

        but then, how does Google make billions ? It's a real question, I don't understand the business model.

    6. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Go

      I am genuinely surprised that their market share is so low.

      I'm not. People just don't care. Or perhaps more likely, they don't think. Two examples of people who should know better, both teachers at my children's secondary school.

      Youngest was in an ICT class and asked to search for information on a specific subject. Tried to dial up DDG because that is what we use at home and she knows I'm not a Google fan, found that DDG was blocked by the schools systems!

      Mentioned this to the teacher who said he'd never heard of DDG and why didn't she use Google like (nearly) everyone else? Those who were not using Google* were using Bing, default in Explorer.

      Older child taking Computer Science GCSE and has been praised by the (different) teacher for producing some of the best Python he's seen for a while. Said child gets very worried at parents' evenings and reminds me not to start moaning about Google because his teacher is a total Google fanboi and won't hear a bad word said about them.

      If even supposedly "knowledgeable" types haven't considered / don't understand the implications of using Google for everything, what chance does Joe Public have?

      M.

      *Bing's the default in Explorer at school (I believe) and at work. I don't know about school, but guess what happens at work when someone wants to do a search? They type "google" into the address / search bar and Bing sends them to Google!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Go

        ... guess what happens at work when someone wants to do a search? They type "google" into the address / search bar and Bing sends them to Google!

        I've seen the Head of ICT & Computing type "google" into the search bar in Chrome, follow the first link to Google then type the actual search into the box there... Some of the class must have seen me grimacing as I watched it on the Smartboard.

    7. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Go

      "I am genuinely surprised that their market share is so low"

      Not me. I'd be amazed if 1% of all Internet users even knew they could change the default search, let alone knew about ddg. Remember that with the advent and spread of smartphones, search-in-browser functionality and changing demographics, I'd hazard that over half of today's Internet users have never had to navigate to a specific Web page to get to a search engine

    8. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Go

      The thing is that there are other search engines that also do the same thing - IxQuick (which you can use directly or through startpage) and I think there are others that either use Google or Bing as a back end, or a meta search (like dogpile used to be).

      Seems that competition is alive and well in the privacy enhanced search space to me, it's just the big players that are addicted to their data fix.

  2. Bendacious

    Thing that impressed me was about three weeks ago I discovered Dark Mode in Windows 10. After I switched it on, the home page of DuckDuckGo put itself into Dark Mode. The only website I have seen that did that. Nice touch I thought, although I use Startpage.com as my primary search and DuckDuckGo as secondary (it's better for Image searches).

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      DDG picks up dark mode on MacOS Mojave as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So websites can tell if you're running dark mode or not? Wonderful, that's another bit added to everyones browsing fingerprint signature.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        I would guess that sites can ask browsers what certain system colours are. This is totally fine if you want to write sites that look more like they are running as native apps and something that is vital if you're using a high contrast theme or similar in the OS and your site wants to respect that choice.

      2. Luke McCarthy

        Yes, using the CSS selector "@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark)"

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Don't delay, switch to DDG today!

    Even though the main provider is Bing it gives better results than Bing unlike others that use it (e.g. Ecosia, I tried it, I really did) without the SEO clutter.

    News which is the same as Bing News, i.e. could be improved but no problems using it as my main search engine.

    1. IceC0ld Silver badge

      Re: Don't delay, switch to DDG today!

      I switched a few years back, never looked back, it works as well as anything else on market, they don't get there panties in a bunch if you run an ad blocker, and it just works, so there's that :o)

      1. EBG

        ditto

        What's an ad ?

    2. BugabooSue

      Re: Don't delay, switch to DDG today!

      A fellow fan of Mr. Rossmann, or just coincidence? :)

  4. Thoguht Silver badge

    There are ads on Duck Duck Go? I don't see any when I use it (good old ad blockers).

    1. cbars

      I'd prefer to support a business model which prioritises sensible and reasonable advertising, instead of hampering those businesses in a futile fight against the big - actually give no fucks money grubbing - businesses. As such, El Reg is whitelisted, as is DDG. Ads are fine if they stay in their place and are adverts rather than 'interactive media' forced down your throat

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        As such, El Reg is whitelisted, as is DDG. Ads are fine if they stay in their place and are adverts rather than 'interactive media' forced down your throat

        I'd love to unblock El Reg but.. I've tried it before and quickly been over-run by annoying video ads/animated gifs etc. Fix that lot, I'll un block (don't you know it? I'm not a poet!)

        [Edit : After a quick look seems no more annoying moving ads on El Reg! Will leave the blockers turned off for now...]

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    customizing colours, darkmode, etc ... how long until some security researcher claims that ethnicity/sexuality/politics/gender/etc/etc can be inferred from website colour cusiomization!

    1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

      I suppose that would come under browser fingerprinting. There are ways to block or reduce it but most normal people wouldn't have a clue.

      This is where browser makers could do a lot of work. The only thing that a website may need to know is your browser version but they leak way too much information at present. TBH if sites were coded properly they shouldn't even need to know that now that MS have given up trying to compete /edge.

      I can't see Google leading the pack, maybe Firefox?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "The only thing that a website may need to know is your browser version"

        They don't even need to know that. No website should be making decisions based on what browser/version is being reported. If the site is doing tricky things, it should test for functionality rather than try to assume it based on make and model.

        Otherwise, I'm with you. I really think that browsers should tell webservers pretty much nothing at all. Or, at the very least, allow users to disable such reporting.

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          The only thing that a website may need to know is your browser version

          To be honest, not even that. In my dim & distant past building web applications, we generally put the browser specific options into the code, and let the client sort it out once it received the html/javascript.

          We never knew nor cared what browser our visitors used, we just made sure we covered as many options in the code as we could. Even server side code (asp) could be wrapped in dhtml so, again, the question of which bits to display and how to display that was sorted out in the client render.

          Don't tell me browsers have become less sophisticated in the intervening years?

  6. steelpillow Silver badge

    I use DDG a lot for everyday things that I don't want to trigger tracking, slurping and - mainly - slinging. It also tends to be more literal-minded than "we-know-what-you-really-want" Gargle, which 99% of the time is an absolute godend.

    But for more arcane (and non-IT) stuff I have to say it is pretty useless. It might give me a couple of unhelpful hits where Google will give a couple of pagefuls, with a high chance of finding at least something useful.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Agreed

      Agreed - I do find myself appending G! To the search string quite often

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Agreed, I find DDG very US centric on arcane searches and often completely irrelevant but for general use I would recommend it.

      1. Adrian Harvey

        The country selector really really needs an ‘only from this country’ option, rather than just biasing answers slightly towards your selected country. Sometimes I only want to see results that can actually be delivered without a 4 week delay....

  7. Il'Geller

    Study philosophy!

    ...DuckDuckGo's market share is just 0.43 per cent globally...

    "The identity of indiscernibles is an ontological principle that states that there cannot be separate objects or entities that have all their properties in common... A form of the principle is attributed to the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz."

    In order to find the same pattern in different texts it is necessary to make it unique, know its context and subtexts (each its word's dictionary definition, for instance; or other texts to which it refers).

    For example, Google and FB achieve this uniqueness annotating with other patterns, obtained through espionage on the Internet. And then they sell the uniqueness to advertisers.

    DuckDuckGo achieves the uniqueness using the results obtained from other search engines. But since this uniqueness has already been sold, the second time DuckDuckGo can sell, alas.

    AI technology achieves uniqueness by annotating patterns with other patterns, obtained from the same (or another text), without spying on the Internet. For example, AI annotates each word of each pattern with a unique dictionary definition (or encyclopedia definition, or another textual definition).

    1. Il'Geller

      Re: Study philosophy!

      A word in a dictionary can have 200 or more meanings. Detection of one makes the word's pattern unique. The unique meanings for all the pattern's words make it even more unique. And then:

      1. AI literally understands,

      2. Uses synonyms,

      3. And finds patterns instantly.

      1. TheGhostDeejay

        Re: Study philosophy!

        @ll'Geller

        unique means whatever is unique is a one off. So how can you have "even more unique'?

        And back on topic, sort of, I still use Dogpile. Fuck the adverts, I just ignore them. Am way too cynical to use "free" blockers. Remember, if it is free, you are the product that is being sold.

        Cheers… Ishy

        1. Mike 137 Bronze badge

          Re: Study philosophy!

          I absolutely agree on "unique". There's a growing tendency to fallaciously qualify superlatives, e.g. "as best as possible". "Best" of course is the upper limit of the range of goodness, so it's an absolute.

          But BTW you don't have to be the product if you block JavaScript, as the ads then don't appear.

          1. Il'Geller

            Re: Study philosophy!

            "The Best" is a subjective category chosen from the unique. AI creates this uniqueness and provides an opportunity to choose in a dialog mode.

        2. Il'Geller

          Re: Study philosophy!

          Comprehensively describing something I make it unique. This is the problem of NIST TREC QA: how among millions of identical words to find the only one.

          DuckDuckGo uses description results (of the same) made by others.

    2. cynic56

      Re: Study philosophy!

      I can't decide whether to upvote or downvote this. Mainly because I haven't got a clue what you're talking about. Sorry I'm so thick.

      1. Il'Geller

        Re: Study philosophy!

        About how to automatically make text understandable for computer. That is to automatically structure it.

        A computer that understands text becomes Artificial Intelligence.

        1. Mike 137 Bronze badge

          Re: Study philosophy!

          "A computer that understands text becomes Artificial Intelligence"

          A computer that could understand anything at all would possess intelligence. As we don't really know what understanding is, it's proving (and always going to be) hard to replicate, but there's evidence that it's intimately tied to emotion and motivation, which is an interface between the body and the universe around us. For this reason if no other, just as the disembodied 'brain in a vat' of the horror movies is unrealistic, expecting a transistor circuit (however complicated) to exhibit emotion and motivation (other than as a limited simulation of the human traits based on our extremely partial understanding of them) is not foreseeably feasible.

          BTW as a qualified translator, I've watched "machine translation" since the mid-70s, and to date it's never been as good as a competent bilingual person who knows the subject of the text.

          In any case, why are we so keen to replace people with machinery? I note (anecdotally) that it's always someone else in line to be replaced, not the AI worker.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Study philosophy!

            as a translator I will give you a somewhat bleak (and biased, what else) view on the future of our industry: in 3 - 5 years majority of human-generated translations, at least across major European languages will be gone (it sounds flippant and uninformed, but it's neither).

            As to "why are we so keen to replace, etc.", the reason is always the same, and it's not "because progress".

            1. Il'Geller

              Re: Study philosophy!

              Translating they all do not use dictionary definitions, that is, do not detect the true meanings of the translated words. Instead, they look for similar contexts and mechanically take phrases and sentences from there, with the same patterns, putting them in translations. The result is not good...

            2. Il'Geller

              Re: Study philosophy!

              For example, Google BERT is a pre-trained, contextual language model that represents words based on previous and following context. But not on subtexts, the previous and following dictionary definitions! The same with Yandex and Microsoft: they don't get the uniquness as dictionary definitions.

              DuckDuckGo is very, very far from obtaining the definition as well, for its searching.

          2. Il'Geller

            Re: Study philosophy!

            For me computer "understanding" is using the same dictionary definitions for the same words.

          3. Il'Geller

            Re: Study philosophy!

            The terrible mistakes that Google makes when translating are the result of its inability (or unwillingness, since the AI patents belong to me, and AI kills all Google's business) to remove lexical noise. Now you see what lexical noise is? It is reliably removed by annotation of texts by dictionary definitions, which allow to understand the meanings of patterns' words.

      2. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Study philosophy!

        Of course you should have upvoted it even if you don't understand it! Study Philosophy is great advice. Relax with Comedy is also great advice.

        Agathon: I’m afraid the world is bad. You have been condemned to death.

        Allen: Ah, it saddens me that I should cause debate in the senate.

        Agathon: No debate. Unanimous.

        Allen: Really?

        Agathon: First ballot.

        Allen: Hmmm. I had counted on a little more support.

        Simmias: The senate is furious over your ideas for a Utopian state.

        Allen: I guess I should never have suggested having a philosopher-king.

        Simmias: Especially when you kept pointing to yourself and clearing your throat.

        1. Il'Geller

          Re: Study philosophy!

          "In rage"? "Never have suggested"? Well, thank God! So I'm right.

      3. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Study philosophy!

        Sorry I'm so thick.

        I don't think it's you. If it is you, then it's not a unique problem.

        But I think this is a poor man's bargain basement version of the same bot that does AMFM. One where they're running it through several instances of google translate before we see the result.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

          Re: Study philosophy!

          > ...poor man's bargain basement version of the same bot...

          Depressingly, this really is a person. It is the fourth account, the prior ones are

          https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/76698/

          https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/93706/

          https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/93934/

          (intentionally not clickable).

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: Study philosophy!

            > ...poor man's bargain basement version of the same bot...

            Depressingly, this really is a person. It is the fourth account,

            Yes I've seen at least some if not all of them.

            Brain or bot, there's something seriously screwy with the software!

          2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: Study philosophy!

            At least five accounts now:

            https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/76698/

            https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/93706/

            https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/93934/

            https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/94029/

            https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/94039/

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: Study philosophy!

              At least five accounts now:

              2 of which contain very similar-looking posts. All seem to contain the text "This post has been deleted by a moderator" (or similar). [Much thanks Mods!]

              See there's 2 more created in the last fortnight, and the original which hasn't done anything for a bit...

              1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Study philosophy!

                The first account apparently got blocked (after I reported the latest of Geller's boneheaded messages). All posts by the second and third account got removed. Now account four and five are(?) used.

                The fail is strong with this guy.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Coat

                  Re: Study philosophy!

                  The fail is strong with this guy.

                  He'd be a bit more believable if there were some patents with his name (or similar) on, or any that covered the stuff he claims. But I find the majority of his posts patently absurd...

                  (Yeah yeah, I'm on my way...)

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Study philosophy!

      From article (regarding Google)

      "while it remains the default in Chrome, Safari and Firefox."

      Not in MY LINUX DISTRO it doesn't... !!!

      Last I checked, it was either Mint or Devuan that defaults to Duck Duck Go as the search engine for Firefox. But that was a while ago, so maybe it has changed?

      By the way it was BECAUSE of this [Linux distro defaulting to DDG] that I even HEARD of Duck Duck Go, and I've used it for nearly all of my searches ever since.

    4. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Study philosophy!

      I have studied philosophy. Just as there are IT specialists who give IT a bad name and scientists who give science a bad name, so too there are philosophers who give philosophy a bad name (though Leibnitz was not one of those). Just sayin'....

  8. The Nazz Silver badge

    Ought to be a larger market share

    How 'canard is it to use?

    1. Il'Geller

      Re: Ought to be a larger market share

      It's Science, the Identity of Indiscernibles, you can't argue with Philosophy! DuckDuckGo cannot get a large market share because it cannot get the satisfactory uniqueness for patterns and, therefore, provide good search results. See my post earlier.

      1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Ought to be a larger market share

        you can't argue with Philosophy!

        Yes you can !

        1. Il'Geller

          Re: Ought to be a larger market share

          it was a bit of sarcasm, sorry

  9. Richard 41

    I've been Duckin' for donkeys years.

    Not exclusively, of course, but buy far and away the majority of searches go that way.

    First choice, default search tool, as any part of my search history I can keep away from Google etc., must be a good thing.

    1. ivan5

      must be a good thing.

      Especially when what you are searching foe is being censored by Google.

  10. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    generally good

    I use it by default but still use google a fair bit.

    I like that it gives me a proper link, not an obscured one.

    If I want to provide someone with a url, I can generally click on a google link, traverse their tracking code and paste the resulting url into my document.

    But if the url I want to give them is a pdf, it won't appear in my browser it will just pop up the document in the pdf viewer with no url shown.

    With Duckduckgo, I can just scrape the needed url from the search page and paste it - no need to go through the tracking link. Which is far more usable.

    On the +side for google, it's more likely to give me UK results for my searches, which is handy for shopping (though not much else).

    1. richardcox13

      Re: generally good

      > it's more likely to give me UK results for my searches

      DDG defaults to global results, go to Other Settings and set a more specific region for more UK results.

    2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge
  11. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Go, little duck

    A few years ago I started using DDG (and sometimes Startpage) as part of what I call my Great Disengooglement. This process also included replacing Gmail with my web host's mail server and ditching all of our Android devices.

    I still use Google search periodically for obscure things, but DDG lets me avoid it ~95% of the time. I actually prefer DDG's presentation because the most prominent items on a results page are my actual search results, not ads or other paid placements.

    1. A. N. Other 1
      Happy

      Re: Go, little duck

      Thank you for naming that which I have been doing for the last few years: "Great Disengooglement".

  12. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    How do you get dark mode

    There's nothing obvious on DDG's front page, other than an invitation to add it to firefox - and to be honest, I don't really see any reason why I would ever have to add an extension to a browser that I'm already using to look at the page in question.

    1. richardcox13

      Re: How do you get dark mode

      Under settings, chose Other Settings for lots more control.

    2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Re: How do you get dark mode

      If you dismiss the add-on pop-up, the settings button is right behind it, top item on the settings menu is the theme selector.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: How do you get dark mode

        Thank you both.

  13. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I use DDG a lot

    It's pretty good. I still use Google for stuff that doesn't have a ton of commercial or privacy implications.

    1. IGotOut

      Re: I use DDG a lot

      Use Startpage. Google results, without Google tracking

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I use DDG a lot

        part of the problem might be the use of cached info in Chromium.

        How to destroy chrome's cache (in Linux and FreeBSD, Winders yer on yer own)

        1. exit from all instances of the chrome browser;

        2. rm -rf ~/.cache/chromium/Default/*

        you may have to re-enter previously remembered passwords and stuff, but so what. This *CLEANS* *IT* *ALL*

        Now... do this RELIGIOUSLY after every web surfing session with chrome and you should be able to avoid quite a BIT of a tracking nonsense, especially that which relies upon cookies and cache

        (I believe there are cache-related side-channel tracking methods already in use... purging the cache makes these go away)

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: I use DDG a lot

          (I believe there are cache-related side-channel tracking methods already in use... purging the cache makes these go away)

          If I was to use Chrome I'd either be linking ~/.cache/chromium/Default/ to a spot in /tmp, or changing the menu entry so that instead of calling Chrome direct it calls a script to take care of that little detail.

          But I don't use Chrome so... (still wondering if I should play the same with FF, but I do block a lot of sites - then again DOH is going to mean I should be looking at Ben Tasker's stuff on building that into PiHole as well... (Thanks again Mr T :) )

  14. intrigid

    Mobile app could use a major improvement

    The mobile search widget is still inseparably linked to the proprietary DuckDuckGo browser, which unfortunately is very bad at basic features like ad-blocking and preventing HD videos from autoplaying, thereby eating up half a month's worth of mobile data if you aren't quick enough to back out.

  15. Cragganmore

    Startpage

    Another vote for StartPage. It uses Google search but effectively acts as an intermediary isolating you from Google's omnipotent tentacles.

  16. rcxb Bronze badge

    Is it any surprise that DuckDuckGo remains a tiny upstart when Google, Bing and Yahoo are paying millions of dollars to any company that will set their search engine as the default in their products? Bing and Google even have TV ads for their products (Chrome, Android, Windows, etc) which have their search engines set as defaults. How can an upstart really hope to compete with that?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "You are being taken to the non-JavaScript site"

    DDG doesn't complain a bit when javascript, cookies, remote fonts, fingerprinting etc are disbled.

    And if I decide to copy and paste a link from my search it isn't modified on-the-fly to contain a long string that could be used to track me and the people that I share it with like other search engines do

  18. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Dodging cookies, dunking donuts

    Well I must admit I'm flattered by your consecration

    It's a mind-numbing spine-chilling

    But never-the-less heart-warming gesture

    But as you make your advances so clumsily

    I'll save us both the both the hassle and leave

    And hang out all night

    In the familiar fluorescent light of dunkin' donuts

    'cause I ain't got time for the niceties

    Or rather I was never never fond of the niceties

    I will see you around

    See you around

    See you around

    See you around

    Well how are you with issues

    Lately you've been a half-assed activist

    You've been seen sashaying around the picket line

    Wearing scarcely any sign

    Oh but always vocal in love and strife

    And the politics of your all important life

    Well I'm sorry but your routine is coming off a bit ragged

    And I ain't got time for the niceties

    Or rather I was never never fond of the niceties

    I will see you around

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzYNpIZqtTo

  19. Temmokan

    Well, to me DDG is quite adequate an engine.

    There's one small problem, though: they provide no tech. support. Whatsoever. I tried using their Reddit outlet for that, with no success.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If you type in 'dishwasher', you will get a dishwasher ad,"

    and if I type "..." then you hear a knock on the d

  21. Tony W

    0.43%

    You will never do well with an idiotic sounding name for your product unless you have really good marketing, or else of course a lot of users who get roped in automatically. Otherwise it looks like something that's not for the general public.

    Renaming now would be a very good idea. They wouldn't lose any existing custom, and the renaming itself would generate a bit of free publicity.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: 0.43%

      Google, Bing, Alta Vista, Yahoo etc. also sound stupid...

      1. firefly

        Re: 0.43%

        They do, but their names all roll of the tongue quite easily. Bing and Google can be used as verbs. Duck Duck Go does neither.

        1. Il'Geller

          Re: 0.43%

          Duck Duck Go does nor make its search results unique and, therefore, cannot sell them - Duck Duck Go uses what is already sold once. Sold by Google, Bing, etc.

  22. MJI Silver badge

    Multiple search engines

    I use multiples.

    Newcomer Google annoys me, they keep trying to change the way it works, removing + annoyed me.

    Then the way it decides that looking for XXXYXX word I really mean XXXXX word just because XXXXX is a zeleb.

    Sometimes I just give up!

    And it keeps demanding to spy on me!

    I am sure the pre Google search engines were more useful, but Yahoo is now not as good as it was.

  23. Rathernicelydone

    I really enjoyed using DDG but the only issue I have with it is when searching for Shopping results. It only brings back resuts from Amazon and I actively try not to use Amazon if I can. Is there a way to make the Shopping results more varied in DDG?

    1. richardcox13

      Use other settings to change your search region.

  24. sum_of_squares

    Search engines are totally overrated

    I still remember the pre-Google era. The grass was greener, meta search engines like AltaVista were hip and everybody was dancing the Lindy Hop.

    Back then my best buddies and me used to type in random IPs. And whenever someone found a cool site we were mailing each other about it. The ultimate challenge was to find sites with WareZ. "WareZ" were files (usually hard links) with stuff like MIDIs of famous songs. And when the first mp3 songs came out it was oh so taboo. And we were happier back then. Oh well.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding me to set my default search engine to DuckDuckGo. Even though it's (figuratively and literally) impossible to stay anonymous these days when we have stuff like browser fingerprinting, every little layer of anonymity helps.

    1. Zolko

      Re: Search engines are totally overrated

      "meta search engines like AltaVista"

      you must be confused: AltaVista was the first modern search engine, they (well, DEC) invented the concept of web crawler. They "lost" to Google because the classifying algorithm of Google was better, it returned sites that were more relevant. That was before Google had their IPO. It's after that that they went evil.

      1. sum_of_squares
        Happy

        Re: Search engines are totally overrated

        Whoops, you're right.

        Please accept my apologies, it's 25 years ago..

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Honestly what stops me using it is annoyance at such a stupid name, call it something that says "credibility" and I might.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And google is a sensible word is it?

      1. Dominic_

        Compared to the stupidity that is Duck Duck Go (why? trying too hard to be clever), Yes

    2. xanadu42

      And "Google" is not a stupid name?

      A misspelling of Googol:

      https://graphics.stanford.edu/~dk/google_name_origin.html

      How is Google Credible in this context?

  26. RobertLongshaft

    Tin foil hat?

    Really? You utter clowns.

  27. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Terminator

    I really like DDG

    .. and I would love to use them more, but their search results just aren't even close to being on par with Google. At least not yet. Hopefully they're improving. And Bing IMHO is still pretty much worthless. If I want to find something on Microsoft's own Technet sites I need to use Google to find it--if I try searching from within Technet (which I'm assuming is Bing), I generally get around 11,000 marginally-relevant results, while Google manages to zero right in. (at least after you've skipped the first few 'sponsored' results)

  28. E_Nigma

    Close but no Cigar

    I'm one of the people who have tried it and still found that it too often produces inferior results to Google, despite the fact that I also agree on the criticism that others expressed of Google results, that sometimes the entire front page is stuffed with results that stopped being relevant ages ago and that additional options and switches that were very useful no longer work correctly, or at all. Bing used to be a bit better at some things, but it too has started to show a penchant for antiquated results. One "engine" that I find somewhat interesting, strictly from the tinfoil hat perspective is Start Page, which provides anonymized Google search results, for better and worse (for example, the fact that Google uses the country you're from as one of the parameters can be both desirable and undesirable at different times).

  29. adam payne Silver badge

    DDG is my go to search engine. I'm liking the new themes.

  30. karlkarl Bronze badge

    What funds DDG? What is to prevent them becoming criminals like Google in the future?

  31. DrBed
    Devil

    Dark theme and Bing ads

    How appropriate.

    Come to the dark side, it's so much darker here: Yahoo & Bing approved. We don't need your profile (and frankly we don't care), we already know what you really want. Candy Crush and Sling TV everywhere!

  32. MachDiamond Silver badge

    No Silver Bullet

    DDG is my default search engine, but also use Dogpile and Mojeek. I haven't found a single search engine that's gives me consistent quality results. Many of my searches are technical and not me trying to find a shopping outlet or pron. I'm also not interested in a cruise vacation or a package party trip to Ibiza. When I break down and want a luxury watch/handbag, trip to Monaco or a new body, I'll use Google. They seem to be so slanted these days towards companies that are advertising things and services for sale rather than information.

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