“It looks like a search engine and acts like a search engine….”
A new search engine that has been getting increased attention is DuckDuckGo. It probably won’t compare to the market share that Google has realized, but the site has experienced significant growth during the past year. The reason why may be simple – it is purely a search engine and does not attempt to multitask (no email, blogs, image searches, news, calendar, etc.) All it does is return results for searches that feel useful while stripping away the extras. Since it works with a much smaller index of sites than Google, its results seem to return more useful sites minus the spam. To refine searches, the creators delete results from specific sites they consider low-quality content farms (sites that pay writers to write articles that purposely rank high in Google’s algorithms). That leaves you with potentially fewer but better sites that will save you time.
Here are some key differences:
Zero Click Responses: For most searches, DuckDuckGo will offer you an instant, no-click answer displayed in a shaded text box at the top of the page. Typically, the source is from Wikipedia and other similar sites.
Privacy: DuckDuckGo keeps no search history and does not track users. Nothing searched on the site will be sold to advertisers. This has legal as well as personal advantages for users.
NoFilter Bubbles: “Filter Bubble” is a term coined to describe a filtering technique employed by many search engines, especially Google. This is the process of using algorithms to sites the search engine “assumes” the user may prefer to view. This assumption is based on factors such as the individual’s browser and search history, click history, location, social networks, and other modifiers. Certain websites get pushed up or down in your search as a result. For example: Searching “benefits of higher education” in Google, the IRS publication on Higher Education Benefits comes up on the fourth page, as #40. In DuckDuckGo, the same item comes up on the first page as #5.
Some folks think that Filter Bubbles may skew the results and limit the amount of information a user can access. For example, in Google, two users can conduct the same search and get vastly different results. DuckDuckGo does not use these filters, and two different users will view identical results.
There are times when both Google and DuckDuckGo will agree on the results. Try typing the term “industry norms” in both search engines. As you can see in the examples below, the Baker subject guide on finding industry norms comes up as the first result after the D&B paid advertisement. It comes up in the third spot after the paid ad in DuckDuckGo. That’s pretty close and we laud both search engines for recognizing a quality site!