Larry Price

And The Endless Cup Of Coffee

Let Me Be a Billboard for DuckDuckGo for a Few Minutes

| Comments

I would describe my job as 10% cleverness, 10% tenacity, 30% historical knowledge, and 50% searching the internet.

As you can see, a good search engine is extremely important to me. My job depends on it. Opening Chromium’s history, I can see that I have recently searched for microwaves, activesupport compatibility in ruby 2.1.0, deleting branches in git, and glibc backwards compatibility.

I don’t use Lord Google as my default search engine. Instead I use DuckDuckGo. From Wikipedia:

DuckDuckGo is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the “filter bubble” of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a given search term. DuckDuckGo also emphasizes getting information from the best sources rather than the most sources….

The gist is that DuckDuckGo does not personalize your search results based on demographics or search history. It doesn’t store your IP address and it doesn’t log your information. You cannot “log in” to the DuckDuckGo website.

Getting down to brass tacks: How does it do search?

Searching on DuckDuckGo for queries such as “Will Ferrell” or “Markdown” will give you a blurb at the top of your search results from Wikipedia about that matching query. Searching programming topics (like “ruby random array” or “ create table”) will give you a near-matching StackOverflow answer. Searching for a single word will usually give you the definition.

A query that seems mistyped will ask you if you want to correct it. Search speed is comparable to Google, I’ve noticed no difference.

Looking at the result of your query, you get your search results middle-aligned. Middle. Aligned I know you probably don’t think that’s a big deal, but go do a Google search right now. It’s left-aligned. Same with Bing. Do you see what’s on the right half of your monitor? Nothing. When running a Google search with my 22” monitor (~19” of horizontal space), there are 13” of wasted space. About 9” on Bing.

So, you’ve just done a search on DuckDuckGo. Now you can use the Up/Down arrows on your keyboard to navigate the search results. Pressing Enter takes you to the website. I vaguely remember that Google used to allow this, but it seems to have disappeared from the default search results.

Don’t like being able to see the combined search results of 50+ search engines? !Bang syntax is the answer.

What is !bang syntax? Let’s say you’re me and you’re looking for over-the range microwaves. I type into my DuckDuckGo search microwaves !a and DuckDuckGo takes me straight to Amazon, showing me search results for all those sweet, sweet microwaves. !g takes you to Google, !w takes you to Wikipedia, !gi takes you to Google Images, !yt takes you to Youtube, !lowes takes you to the Lowe’s search results, !gog takes you to Good Ol’ Games, and on and on and on and on and on.

There are 100s of other goodies as well. Do math using an “=” sign, like “=128*256”. Find “Hello, World” examples by searching for “hello world perl” or “hello world clojure”. Do a Twitter hashtag search to find out what “#yolo” means. Currency conversions. Unit conversions. Convert between timezones.

Okay, enough shameless plugging for my favorite search engine. Give it a chance. Let those Google servers cool down for a few microseconds, they won’t mind.