Why Does DuckDuckGo Offer a Google !Bang?

Christian Stewart ✔️
Published in
2 min readApr 26, 2018


What are !bangs?

Bangs let people search other websites directly from DuckDuckGo. For example, “!amazon shoes” would take people to Amazon’s results page for “shoes”. There is a misconception that DuckDuckGo offers some kind of privacy protection, but it doesn’t when you use !bangs.

DuckDuckGo is a self-proclaimed private search engine. It advocates for internet privacy. So why then does its first “!bang” feature suggest going to Google, the company with the most tracking on the internet.

Google Searches are Tracked

It’s easy to assume that because you are still searching through a private search engine your searches would be private. Your searches are just sent through Google as if you would have gone to www.google.com and searched there.

Searching on Google is not private, even if you use DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo is failing its users if it is conveying that searches are private using !Bangs.

DuckDuckGo’s Image !Bang Goes to Google

Another place that DuckDuckGo tries to send people to Google is with its images !bang. DuckDuckGo has an image search, so why not send people to their own results by default?

Why is this “private” search engine so adamant about sending people to Google?

This Reddit user says that the reason these !bangs take people to Google is because they were established and people were using them. It seems that if DuckDuckGo wants to make the internet more private, they would just switch the !bangs over to their own image results.

DuckDuckGo’s messaging is very anti-Google, but their actions and implementations don’t follow this premise. The search engine that “does not track you” should not offer features that completely eliminate any privacy protection it offers.

DuckDuckGo is a private search engine, but it has its flaws. I’m going to start using Search Encrypt and StartPage more often.

Perhaps you should try another alternative to Google, that doesn’t take you right back to Google…



Christian Stewart ✔️

Privacy, technology and internet culture. Trying my hand at YouTube here: youtube.com/c/privacy-guy