Google is widely criticized now-a-days for gathering too much information about individuals. The idea is to, better target ads to people. But, it has made people look out for plausible alternatives, one of which is DuckDuckGo.
Therefore, in this write up we shall discuss the features of both Google and DuckDuckGo, and make a comparative study to enable users make an informed choice.
Duck-Duck-Go (https://duckduckgo.com/) is one of the most emerging search engine, preferred by privacy enthusiasts. It generates results from more than 400 sources, which includes Wikipedia, and other search engines like Yahoo, Bing etc.
Benefits of DuckDuckGo:
Similar Quality of Search Results:
There is no major difference in the search result of DuckDuckGo when compared w.r.t Google. In fact, some ardent advocators of DuckDuckGo claim that it provides slightly better search result when searching for machine specifications, hardware architecture, phone, technical issues, programming related searches etc.
Search Engines Unified – Bangs Feature:
DuckDuckGo has a built-in feature called bangs that enables you to search other sites directly, completely skipping DuckDuckGo. For example, to search in Google - add !g, for Wikipedia - add !w, in front of the query. You can use also the full name, though it provides shortcuts as explained above.
DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app is multi-operational. They are available for all the major browsers and devices.
Far Lesser and Non Tracking Ads:
DuckDuckGo keeps the ads to bare minimum. They are non tracking ads, based on the keywords searched and not linked to personal profile or search history.
On the other hand, Google ads are not only annoying, but also manipulative. Through constant targeted ads, it can make you buy things or perform certain actions which might not be in your best interests.
Privacy Benefits of Duck-Duck-Go?
Say No to Tracking:
The biggest benefit that DuckDuckGo offers – it doesn’t track its users. It’s very important, keeping in view that individuals share the most intimate secrets with search engines. By just looking at search requests, a lot of information can be gathered about any individual.
On the contrary, Google’s incognito mode is a myth. It deletes the browsing history from the local device, but continuously stores the searches made, in your Google profile.
Blocks Google’s and Other Trackers:
You might be surprised to know, that Google tracks individuals, even when not using its products like Google Maps, Google Photos etc. How Google then tracks users?
Google trackers are present on about 75% of the top million websites. So, for any random website, you can plausibly assume that, it has Google tracker installed.
DuckDuckGo blocks not only these Google’s trackers, but also countless other trackers of Facebook, Twitter, Adobe etc.
Search Without Fear:
A recent study of MIT has shown that, people are reluctant to search health issues on Google, fearing profiling and possible data leakage in future. This is an example of “chilling effect” – when citizens know they are being monitored, they change their innate search pattern.
Gives Unbiased Results:
When we search, we expect an unbiased result, to see what others are seeing. However, on Google we are more likely to see results we wish to see, and less likely to see the opposing view-points. This leads to “echo chamber effect”. The results are based on the profile already created about individuals. On the other hand, DuckDuckGo shows unbiased result, irrespective of the browser.
DuckDuckGo is just a search engine. On the other hand, Google owns hundreds of products - browser, Operating System, email system, analytics service, maps, business listing and much more. Thus, large and complex Google’s ecosystem offers much higher possibility of tracking an individual, than single solitary DuckDuckGo search engine.
It’s obvious that information collected by different Google products, can be aggregated to build a highly accurate profile of citizens. For example, with help of IP address tracking and browser fingerprinting, Google can know who you are, what web pages you open and how long you spend on each of them.
On the contrary, DuckDuckGo at most can track individuals search terms, nothing more. And good news - it doesn’t track even search terms at all!