Is the DuckDuckGo Search Engine Better Than Google?

business management 9 January 2013 4 Comments

DuckDuckGo has created some waves for a while now. Part of that is because of a little notoriety – they claim to be a search engine better than Google. Most of their own write-ups are akin to a presidential candidate’s speeches trying to dethrone the current head of state.

My previous post about DuckDuckGo ended up more like a personal rant than what it was supposed to be. So here is a post trying to explain the differences between the two to the best of my abilities.

So the question is this: Is the DuckDuckGo search engine better than Google? There’s a lot of stuff to consider, really. And no matter how much I try to figure out which of the two is better than the other, I still come back to the fact that it’s all down to preference and perspective.

So let’s take a look at a few criteria.

Search Results

I’ve covered this in last week’s article. Bold statement, but Google performs better than any other search engine. This is because of their complex algorithms that lead you to the pages that you need – and sometimes, ultimately away from pages that you WANT.

Google’s search results, however, are influenced by a few factors. One of the more powerful ones is how much SEO work was done on a webpage that gets it on the upper echelons of the search results.

DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, seems to put less emphasis on SEO and gives you the pages that you want. Or at least that’s how it seems, for now.

Simply put, Google gives you the pages it thinks you want (which doesn’t necessarily end in disaster), while DuckDuckGo gives you results containing pages that you actually want. Up to you to decide what floats your boat.

Presentation

This factor can be as obsolete as a minute after posting this article since changes happen quickly on the internet.

At any rate, both have their own sponsored links. However, I find the presentation of DuckDuckGo a lot cleaner. By being cleaner, it’s easier to spot the links in the search results that take you to where you want to go.

Depending on what you search, DuckDuckGo can also give you the information you seek without having to click on a page in the search results.

Privacy Issues

Ah yes. Privacy issues. The meat of the matter. Google doesn’t hide the fact that it tracks a lot of information about its users. You use Google, it takes what you searched for, when you searched for it, where you’re from, and, depending on how visible you are on the internet, who your friends are and which café you checked in to last weekend.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t do any of that.

However, do note that Google does all of that tracking to figure what your interests are, so it can give you some sort of personalized search result page the next time you use it.

Just compare your Google search to someone who never used Google before, and the latter will probably get more generic results compared to yours. Still, Google has some cards up its sleeve, even winning a Bing Google test tried by CNET.

That being said, Google does what it does to give better service, so to speak.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t seem to need to do it to give good service.

So does that make DuckDuckGo better than Google?

If you’re sensitive about your personal information, then yes. If you couldn’t give two shrugs, then it doesn’t even matter.

As I mentioned, it’s about preference and perspective. Preference, because you may prefer having the search results freshly presented as opposed to being a cookie cutter template. Perspective, because, like me, you may acknowledge DuckDuckGo as a better search engine than Google, yet can’t bring yourself to switch.

Time will tell if DuckDuckGo becomes the search engine better than Google. For now, it’s anyone’s guess. What do you think?

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4 comments on “Is the DuckDuckGo Search Engine Better Than Google?

  1. The problem with google isn’t that it doesn’t really give a simple option regarding privacy. There should be a big button … do not track. But it deliberately obfuscates these things, making people not trust it even more. It has many features in gmail which run counter to useability (like lack of ability to sort email by sender etc) just for the purpose of storing more information about you and again not caring about privacy. I think plenty of its users don’t care about privacy issues, but many do, and they are really pissing on teh later and making them very upset.

  2. Google gets many subpoenas from government also tied with gag orders. There are no laws from “anyone” snooping your emails…not just government actually. This leads a big loophole open for massive abuse, and I’m sure we won’t hear anything about it until someone important gets burned…it is going to make the Newgroup mess look like childsplay.

    • Hi Tommy,

      Very well said on all points. As far as I see it, this tracking of your information is used by Google for your own benefit in terms of searching. By “knowing” your tastes, Google gives you results that they think you’ll like.

      I do agree that there IS a need for a “don’t track” option. There’s also an article I read that presented a scenario of “What if a disgruntled Google employee gets his hands on these private information?” or something similar.

      Considering the fact that there’s already DuckDuckGo, it’s unlikely for Google to change anything. Then again, we rarely see what Google is up to until their plans are already in full bloom.

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