Two weeks without Google Search

Out of curiosity, I changed the default search engines of my trusty Macbook (Firefox. Yes, deal with it.) and iPhone to an alternative: DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo, the search engine that supposedly doesn't track you.

Why DuckDuckGo

One of my worries is that Google has way too much (understatement of the century) information. Next to my emails, it knows all of my searches, what images I browse for, what videos I watch, and tons more.

DuckDuckGo (I'll explain why this is a bad name later) has as unique selling proposition that they do not track you. They claim to not collect or share personal information, and actively counter search leakage (sharing your search terms through http headers to the target site).

What you search for is your own business and we’d like to keep it that way. That’s why we don’t collect any personal information and therefore, have none to share.

Here's their fairly clearly written privacy policy.

Visual filtering

My brain is so used to seeing Google results, that it scans for relevant information very quickly. This other engine displays it a bit differently, it slowed down my visual scanning for the first x searches, but I was also welcoming the changes (I like new things).

Now, after about two weeks, I've gotten used a bit to the new structure, color scheme and UI, and I usually find what I am looking for very quickly. What it all comes down to, right.

Search results

Here's a demo search for Pendleton Ward, who, as you all obviously know, is the creator of Adventure Time. Super bonus: I spelled it wrong, to see how both engines would deal with it.

Search results on Google
The same query on DuckDuckGo

The results are fairly similar, displaying a nice WikiPedia card, Google gives a wider variety of media (pictures, video, books and related results), while Duck is a bit more calm. However you prefer. I do, for now.

I, for one, prefer video over long(er) reads any day of the week, so I would have loved more video hits in the main results on Duck.

Google also has more result formats, like shopping, but as I usually ignore them completely, so shall I for this little review.

On my phone

On my iOS device, I took it one step further and installed Firefox for iOS + configured the Duck as default engine. You can just as easily do this on the built-in Safari, and I presume any other browser.

Firefox for iOS and DuckDuckGo on iPhone 6S

As expected, the results were similar, but more importantly to me, the page looks really nice. Bad UI is inexcusable these days.

Images that I use frequently to reply using some witty meme or gif, could be switched to nicely, but it's an asynchronous call, so hitting 'back' to go back to the search results takes you your previously visited page, a confusing UX mistake. Back means back, the users, and I, don't care about the technicalities.

Unfortunately, it found no videos, which is really strange when Google has about 270.000, and the subject basically makes video in the form of animated series. Or the Ducksters dropped the ball, or there's some censorship at play from YouTube.

What's with that weird name

As nobody in the world, except for maybe the US, knows, there's a kids game called Duck Duck Goose. I know it from Family Guy, WikiPedia confirmed that's where the name comes from.

In my always humble opinion, I think it's a fairly bad name, 
for these reasons:

  • Next to the US and maybe Canada, nobody in the world knows of Duck Duck Goose, so there is no mental reference and it sounds really odd to not very professional/mature (as in service maturity)
  • The name is too long to have no mental reference
  • Rememberability (it's a word) is low
  • I'm no fan of US-centric approaches on products (or content) that clearly aren't limited or scoped to the US specifically

So!

I'm liking it, and I'll keep using it until I might get slowed down by having better or faster results elsewhere. The video thing might be a deal breaker.

TL;DR

Tried a different search engine than Google, named DuckDuckGo, on my laptop and phone, that promises higher privacy, no tracking or sharing of information.

Liking the results and brand so far, staying with it, hoping to see improvements before I feel I need to switch back to get better results faster.

Think the name choice is wrong.

More information:
Comparison of search engines on WikiPedia
DuckDuckGo on WikiPedia

Do you have other experiences with other search engines, or want to start something? Drop it in the comments, I'll roshambo you for it.