duckduckgo – why I am removing google(v) from my vocabulary

I recently encountered duckduckgo.com (dukgo.com for those of you with lazy fingers saying, "google.com is shorter"), and I am hooked. A little background: I am getting tired of seeing my login details on top of every google screen I happen to view. I am also getting tired of always having multiple browsers open (multiple browsers, not just multiple windows), in order to maintain some semblance of privacy. And advertisements - I thought I could ignore them, but they are everywhere, like a plague trying to inspire that single, cherished click from my mouse. I am tired of it all. I am also not interested in "Instant"; that's another topic. Cue duckduckgo.

A few quick notes about duckduckgo.com, mostly paraphrased from their about details.

1. Privacy - duckduckgo does not track your clicks or searches.
2. No ads - brilliant.
3. Keyboard shortcuts and page-less scrolling through result sets.
4. Zero-click - a well-implemented, 'this is probably what you want' search result.
5. !Bang searches - seamless integration with other search engines.
6. Customization - don't like arial? Just use Times (or Helvetica, or...).
7. Wikia and WolframAlpha integration - if you aren't familiar with these, duck them.

Some things to get you started:
http://duckduckgo.com

DuckDuckGo

Go ahead, search anything. After the results come back, go ahead and hit enter. duckduckgo will take you to your top result. Not interested in the top result? Just scroll down through them - with your keyboard (you know, that thing you used to type in your search terms?). Oh, and go as far as you want - duckduckgo isn't sure why you would only want 10 results on the first page (unless you wanted to force the searcher to see an equal number of ads and results - like some other search engines...).

Some nice features:
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=Cheers+characters
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=population+london
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=pw+16
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=%230000ff
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=lorem+ipsum
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=1g8gg35m1g7123101 (that's right, a VIN)
or maybe try an ISBN, shipment tracking numbers, ip addresses (or 'ip'), phone numbers, zip codes...

Notorious for searching ambiguous terms? Try:
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=caffeine
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=pelican

Caffeine

"What about wikipedia," you ask, "it's always near the top of [other search engine]?". Enter zero-click.
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=linus+torvalds
or, try !bang searches:
!w linus torvalds
!a xray goggles
!postgresql CREATE TABLE
More: http://duckduckgo.com/bang.html

For those arial haters out there - this can be configured in your settings, or you can pass it in the URL:
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=font+reviews&ka=v&kt=v
http://duckduckgo.com/?q=font+reviews&ka=i&kt=i

"But I want my searches to be secure..." says the user who probably lets [other search engine] track their every move. Try using the shorthand dukgo.com which redirects to the 443 version. Or just add the 's' yourself.

It is noteworthy that there is basically one guy building duckduckgo (http://duck.co/user/yegg13), and you can ask him to add a feature in the community forums, and watch it happen (or get an explanation about why it's not happening).

Further reading:
http://duckduckgo.com/params.html
http://duckduckgo.com/goodies.html

Even if you are not an immediate convert, this project deserves your attention. I say stop mixing your search results with advertisements, and stop letting [other search engine] track everything you search and view. Just start to 'duck it', instead.

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