DuckDuckGo: A Better Way to Search?

You probably are aware that Google gathers lots (and lots) of information about you. But in its efforts to both be a great search engine and service provider and make a profit, all that gathering (and sharing) may make you uncomfortable with respect to your privacy. And since Google “tailors” your search results, based on your search history and other factors, you may not be getting search results that range as far afield as you like.

While Google’s empire continues to dominate (and I’ll be the first to admit that many of their services are impressive), it’s good to have an alternative, in particular one that tries to find a way to profitability without learning and sharing everything about you that it can.

There is just such an alternative, at least in terms of a search engine. It’s called DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo does not attempt to re-invent search technology. Instead, it’s built upon existing technology that I’m really not qualified to explain to you. Suffice it to say that DuckDuckGo will not knock your socks off with a fancy interface or a million services like Google offers. This is a search engine, period.

Your online privacy, restored

But the key difference DuckDuckGo offers is its privacy policy, which is delightfully simple: it doesn’t collect your information. Why should you care? DuckDuckGo explains

When you search at DuckDuckGo, we don’t know who you are and there is no way to tie your searches together. When you access DuckDuckGo (or any Web site), your Web browser automatically sends information about your computer, e.g. your User agent and IP address. Because this information could be used to link you to your searches, we do not log (store) it at all. This is a very unusual practice, but we feel it is an important step to protect your privacy. It is unusual for a few reasons. First, most server software auto-stores this information, so you have to go out of your way not to store it. Second, most businesses want to keep as much information as possible because they don’t know when it will be useful. Third, many search engines actively use this information, for example to show you more targeted advertising.

Escape the “Filter bubble”

So you can search without the search engine collecting information about you. And aside from general privacy concerns, there’s another reason to use DuckDuckGo. When Google “tailors” your results based upon what you’ve searched in the past and websites you’ve visited, it can narrow your results. If you search hoping to be exposed to a wide variety of sources of information, and points of view, Google might not be the best search engine to use. Google’s “tailored” search results are often quite different than what DuckDuckGo gives you. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

Lawyers, because of both the work we do, and the way we think, can benefit from being able to search the web without leaving a trail. Unfiltered search results are also a good thing. DuckDuckGo provides both.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Dave S says:

    Aside from the reasons you listed, I like how duckduckgo lists search results in one long list as you scroll down, it continues. Also, there are “search suggestions” to the right – to refine your search. Looks like sponsored ad(s) but just one at the top, not as many as google- so best benefit may be that you get a less cluttered, more clearly organic search result.

Leave a Reply